Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Book Review: "Caleb + Kate" by Cindy Martinusen-Coloma

Rich and pampered, Kate has everything. But when her family moves to the Pacific Northwest, her life changes completely. She meets rough Caleb, and even though they have nothing in common, she's attracted to him. When Caleb decides Kate has something he needs, can she prove that's not who she really is?

I will now declare that Cindy Martinusen-Coloma is one of my new favorite YA writers. Seriously, this lady knows how to write good YA. And it's not just Christian YA we're talking about. Her stuff is just as good as the general market YA offerings that are out there. This book sets itself apart from most Christian YA books. For starters, the cover is just wonderful. It doesn't look like stock photography and neither does it look like clip art put together hastily. The image portrays a wonderful clue to what the story is about.

Kate is one of the popular girls in the school while Caleb is the new kid who works for Kate's dad at their hotel. Their story revolves around Kate potentially losing her popularity and falling for the kid from the other end of the class spectrum. Martinusen-Coloma's writing is topical and relevant to teens who will be able to relate to the feelings both Kate and Caleb have in this book. The use of technology is frequent as characters text each other quite a bit but never annoying as teen speak is kept to a minimum. I would have loved to read a story about Kate's friends especially Oliver as I felt that his character has so much more to say.

I'm always on the lookout for multiculturalism in Christian books (sadly because of the lack of it in Christian fiction) and once again I find it in a YA book. Caleb is Hawaiian and is proud of his heritage. I was glad that while class issues are a focal part of the story, race issues are never a factor other than to point out obvious differences. While this book does mention God and the fact that both Caleb and Kate are Christians, it is never preachy and adds to the story instead of being a distraction.

The only minor quibble I had was that I felt that the disagreement that caused the feud between the two families wasn't expounded on enough. Basic details are told as well as hints given towards the true feelings of the two men, but I never felt as if the whole story was really told. I guess I felt that there had been a lot of build up throughout the whole story and nothing really came of it. Other than this, I really enjoyed this book. Finding your true love as a teenager is a popular subject but it's always downplayed in Christian fiction. I'm glad that instead of ignoring it and giving out the message that "you're too young" or "dating is wrong", Martinusen-Coloma embraces the fact that teens DO fall in love. It all comes down to whether or not they can handle the emotions and growth that come from it. Looking forward to her next releases as from her track record, I can predict it will be another winner. HIGHLY recommended.

Caleb + Kate by Cindy Martinusen-Coloma is published by Thomas Nelson (2010)

This review copy was provided by the publisher

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