Title: The Coincidence of Callie and Kayden
Author: Jessica Sorensen
Genre: Young Adult (17+ Mature content)
Publisher: Hachette Digital
Publication Date: 13th December 2012
Goodreads Summary: There are those who don’t get luck handed to them on a shiny platter, who end up in the wrong place at the wrong time, who don’t get saved.
Luck was not on Callie’s side the day of her twelfth birthday when everything was stolen from her. After it’s all over, she locks up her feelings and vows never to tell anyone what happened. Six years later her painful past consumes her life and most days it’s a struggle just to breathe.
For as long as Kayden can remember, suffering in silence was the only way to survive life. As long as he did what he was told, everything was okay. One night, after making a terrible mistake, it seems like his life might be over. Luck was on his side, though, when Callie coincidentally is in the right place at the right time and saves him.
Now he can’t stop thinking about the girl he saw at school, but never really knew. When he ends up at the same college as Callie, he does everything he can to try to get to know her. But Callie is reserved and closed off. The more he tries to be part of her life, the more he realizes Callie might need to be saved.
I bought The Coincidence of Callie and Kayden immediately, without any hesitation, after reading a review of it. It then sat on my shelf for a few months but I could kick myself because I’ve just finished it and I loved it.
The Coincidence of Callie and Kayden is about two college freshmen, Callie and Kayden, who both come from the same town and used to attend high school together, though they were never friends. Both of them have hidden traumas that they can’t and won’t talk about but Callie is a social recluse and Kayden is the boy with the football scholarship.
Four months before they start university, Callie goes to pick up her older brother from a party at Kayden’s house, where she sees Kayden and his father having an argument that results in Kayden’s Dad violently beating him. Callie doesn’t like talking to anybody, she doesn’t have friends and she hates social interaction but not wanting to see Kayden being beaten to a pulp, she steps in and stops his father.
After making sure that Kayden will be alright, Callie leaves with her brother and she goes off to university two days later. The story then jumps back to the present, when university is just starting and Kayden runs (literally) into Callie.
At first he doesn’t recognise her but when he realises who she is, he’s determined to thank her properly for saving his life four months ago. Callie, on the other hand, is less than keen to make new friends as still is still dealing with issues from her past but coincidence seems to throw them together. I can’t really say any more than that right now without revealing spoilers, because you find out more and more details about each characters’ past as the story unfolds.
The Coincidence of Callie and Kayden is written from two narrative perspectives which alternate. Sometimes these sorts of stories bother me because one side of the story makes it pretty darn obvious what’s going on in the other side, but that wasn’t the case with this book. As both Callie and Kayden are hiding something, the double narrative is essential to the plot, otherwise we would have absolutely no idea what was going on.
I feel that a lot of young adult books give teenagers completely unrealistic expectations of romance and boys and I’m not saying that this book is particularly realistic either, but the characterisation of Callie and Kayden felt pretty damn close to how I would act if I were in either of their situations, so at the very least this book is one step ahead of all the other young adult romances.
Both of the teenagers in this book are dealing with some pretty serious stuff and I felt that they were both addressed really well. Jessica Sorensen doesn’t dwell too much on the past, but more how these past events are affecting Callie and Kayden in the present which was much more interesting.
If you’re not a fan of books that are a bit ‘deep’, so to speak, then this probably isn’t for you. There is also some mature content in this book which I thought was really well written. It’s quite hard to get steamy scenes right without being too crude or unrealistic or just downright unnecessary but Jessica Sorensen integrated these scenes perfectly into the general flow of the book and they do actually serve a purpose to the plot.
All the reviews that I’d read of The Coincidence of Callie and Kayden commented on the cliffhanger ending and how it ruined everything for them, but I didn’t feel this way. Yes, it was shocking, but I don’t think it ruined the book more than any other shocking cliffhanger would. I suppose the effect of it was slightly lessened given that I knew something was coming but I still didn’t find it all that shocking. It is quite annoying that we’re not going to find out what happens next for a while but I’m pretty sure that the next book will be even better so there’s nothing to worry about.
It’s been a very long time since I’ve read a book that’s given me that tingling sensation all over, but this book definitely did. I read the entire book in one sitting and I absolutely could not put it down. There are so many ups and downs and it really was an emotional roller-coaster. This is probably one of the best young adult books I’ve ever read and I’ll definitely be recommending it to everyone, even adults.