This is another of the books I borrowed from the gracious @shabbygeek. This review may contain spoilers, so consider yourself warned.
Caleb + Kate, by Cindy Martinusen-Coloma, is a Christian young adult novel. The blurbs on this book call it a modern-day Romeo & Juliet, and, for the most part, that’s true … complete with family feud and all … just without the tragedy at the end.
Kate is an heiress to her Dad’s hotel chain in California and a junior at a local private, elitest prep academy. Caleb has just moved to the mainland from Hawaii to live with his father, who is the head of maintenance at one of said hotels, and enrolls at the academy, presumably on scholarship. What starts out at as contrast of class – the rich hotel heiress and the maintenance man’s son – is really more of a cultural contrast between Hawaiian culture and mainland America. Turns out that the both Caleb and Kate’s grandfathers were once the best of friends and had a falling out over the land on which the main hotel resides and something about a woman as well.
Wouldn’t you know it that the two fall in love and the families aren’t happy about it … well at least at first Kate’s dad isn’t happy but he comes around and Caleb’s grandfather … well, at first he threatens to take away Caleb’s family inheritance if he doesn’t break it off but then sort of fades into the background at the end. The two spend time together at school and out, attend church together and talk about their faith. The only real tragedy in the book is when Caleb and Kate have to be separated for an indefinite amount of time (Caleb has to go back to Hawaii to take care of ailing grandfather) while vowing to make the long distance thing work.
It’s a super easy and quick read. I think I read the whole book in a little over 3 hours. It’s not extremely riveting; I just had a headache and couldn’t go to sleep, so I might as well read, right? There’s all this talk about whether true love exists and whether there’s really one person out there for everyone. Of course, the cynic in me thinks that’s all a bit sappy, not to mention the fact that these are kids we’re talking about. But it’s a sweet story that subtly encourages purity outside of marriage, which is a good thing to encourage for young adults especially. And perhaps it was all the God talk that convinced me, ’cause at the end I believed they really loved and were committed to each other. I suppose that’s what you hope for when you write a love story, which means the book was a success. I don’t really think I’ll make a point of recommending the book to others … except maybe my daughter in another few years 😉 … but I enjoyed the read nonetheless.