Review: The Redemption of Callie & Kayden

redemptionReviewed by Carrie

IF YOU HAVE NOT READ The Coincidence of Callie & Kayden – STOP HERE – SPOILERS FROM BOOK #1

The first book, The Coincidence of Callie & Kayden, left readers with a hell of a cliffhanger.  After discovering that Caleb was the one who raped Callie when she was a little girl, Kayden hunted down Caleb and beat the crap out of him.  Afterwards, Kayden returned home to suffer his own beating at the hands of his abusive father who took it a step further by stabbing him and leaving him for dead.

As the book opens, Kayden is alive but in the hospital.  In order to protect the family name, Kayden’s mother is busy doing damage control telling everyone that Kayden wasn’t stabbed, he cut himself.  Callie, having recently discovered that Kayden is a cutter, isn’t sure what to believe and can’t hash it out with Kayden because he gets sent to psychiatric hospital.

The book is told from both points of view which allows the reader deep insights into the minds of the characters.  Although much improved from the last book, Callie is still in the process of coming out of the dark hole that she had been in since she was twelve.  She’s still coming to terms with the rape, dealing with her compulsion to purge and gaining overall confidence in actually living her life.  She wants to help Kayden but she knows that she’s in no place to help anyone.  Luckily, her trusty sidekick Seth is still there helping her to take baby steps into the future.  Also, quite to my surprise, Kayden’s friend Luke bonds with the two of them.  It was so gratifying to see Luke and Seth become a real support system to Callie.

Meanwhile, back at the hospital, Kayden is drowning in his darkness and it is looking bleak for him.  His horrid mother heaps the blame on a ton at a time – he’s to blame for his father’s “business trip”, being subjected to town gossip and an all-around black mark on the family.  With parents like these, it’s very easy to empathize with poor Kayden’s desire to just drift away.  Slowly, with the help of a therapist he beings to trust, Kayden begins the hard slog back to the top.

Sorensen does an excellent job by not rushing either of their journeys out of the darkness.  Both Callie and Kayden were hurt so fundamentally that there is no easy fix.  Even though there are a lot of back and forth actions, natural to recovery, it doesn’t diminish the deep love they have for each other.  I liked that even though they wanted to fix each other, they knew they really needed to do it for themselves.

The ending did feel quite abrupt to me in that I wanted more of their HEA after wading through all the heavy, but I understand that the author will be writing a novella to finish out Callie and Kayden’s story.  Readers will continue to get snippets of the couple in later books as well.  Luke’s book is up next and readers just get tiny hints as to the mess of a life he had led.  I’m on board for more angsty goodness.

Grade: B

*ARC provided by Forever (Grand Central Publishing) via NetGalley

Click to purchase: Amazon

The Redemption of Callie & Kayden
by Jessica Sorensen
Release Date: July 30, 2013
Publisher: Forever

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