“It’s like I’m not me anymore, like he’s changed me into a girl who thinks about the possibilities for life and love.”
I don’t know if you have every had the opportunity to do so, but last week (when I finished Callie & Kayden) I decided, once and for all, to finally look up the word cliffhanger.
Here is what Mr. Webster had to say: an adventure serial or melodrama; especially : one presented in installments each ending in suspense.
Well, no shit. (I pretty much had that duh moment coming.) Then I thought about it a little more and decided that dear ol Webby was slightly less “melodramatic” than he should be, so I decided to rewrite the definition of cliffhanger in literary terms.
“WTF! Are you kidding me? Why…why would someone freaking do this? It’s cruel. CRUEL! Where is a puppy? I need to punch a puppy. Or a bunny. Or…wait, I can probably go to jail for that. Scratch that. Whyyyyyyyy?”
Much more appropriate. Don’t you think?
*Sigh* Here’s a look at the book you will hate me for later.
“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.”
In case you are completely dense (or skip the beginnings of my reviews – you know who you are) and didn’t figure out from my opening meltdown… “The Coincidence of Callie and Kayden” had one mondo sized, you are totally going to chunk your book/kindle/dignity against the wall ending.
Now, I’m no stranger to cliffhanger endings. As a matter of fact, it seems authors these days are leaving their readers hanging much more often than giving them the “happily ever after” that we all so dearly want. But this ending was especially brutal. Almost a non-ending if I’m being perfectly honest. Which for some people (including myself, on any day other than today) would be perfectly acceptable. The truth is, these endings are starting to wear me out. I appreciate them for all of their messed-up intentions, but being a person who reads (roughly) 80 books in-between sequence novels (like these) cliffhanger endings are very quickly making me want to punch authors in the face (in the most loving way possible.) Which is why I’m going to leave the cliffhanger topic alone and start at the beginning (instead of the end) where I should have.
Callie and Kayden is just one of the latest (in a long line of books) to make boat toppling waves in literature’s newest pet genre “New Adult Contemporary.” And (I’m happy to announce) it’s worthy of it’s hype.
Being one of the most pessimistic people on the planet (and yes, I say that with an obscene level of confidence) it’s extremely rare that I find myself captivated by an opening paragraph. Second or third page? Sure…why not. But first, almost never. So when I turned on my kindle and read this, I was floored.
“Life is full of luck, like getting dealt a good hand, or simply by being in the right place at the right time. Some people get luck handed to them, a second chance, a save. It can happen heroically, or by a simple coincidence, but there are those who don’t get luck on a shiny platter, who end up in the wrong place and the wrong time, who don’t get saved.”
Not only is this opening paragraph very elegantly written, but it instantly puts you on edge.
“What could she possible be referring to?” “Oh…this doesn’t sound good.” “I have a feeling I’m going to need a Xanax.”
(For the record, the Xanax…probably a good idea. Kleenex too.)
This story isn’t really a new one. Girl (totally screwed up due to past trauma) + Boy (equally screwed up) = a very wild ride to Mount St. Happy. But its lack of originality (in the plot department) doesn’t mean it’s not good, it just means that the author had to find a different way to connect to their reader. In Sorenson’s case, she went with emotion. (In high-definition multiple point of view.)
If an author can manipulate emotion in his/her characters properly ..the impossible can happen. A predictable book can feel new. A cast of characters can feel like close friends. Anxiety and heartbreak can overthrow common sense and make a home inside your sub-conscience. A book…can touch you.
This is what Callie and Kayden did for me. It made me (for even a few minutes) forget the real world (the laundry, daily errands, and what’s for dinner) and instead pray for a few desperate, broken, fictional characters. Characters that feel like emotional splatter paint. That constantly make bad choices or have a hard time allowing themselves to be happy. Characters that Sorenson made feel like “real” people. Our sisters, brothers, cousins, best-friends.
No, this is not a particularly happy book. The ending is awful (in a completely wonderful way…if that makes sense) And anyone who finds themselves struggling with book detachment syndrome is going to hate this novel (cause it’s hard to forget about for a while.) But I find that flawed characters and breathtaking dialogue can overshadow all the doom. (Ok, maybe not the last 3 pages…but you get my point.)
I say…take a chance.
If you enjoy books like Beautiful Disaster or Slammed. I can almost guarantee you will fall in love with this novel. If you had issues with the novels I just listed (like for instance…alpha male complexes, abuse, and codependency) I would steer clear of this one, some of the same principles apply.
Happy Reading my fellow Kindle-ites and remember: Everyone deserves a chance. Are you going to be the one that gives it to them or slams the door in their face?
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