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.
Release Date: December 13, 2012
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance
Wow. Just...wow. I am a huge fan of Jessica Sorensen's Ella & Micha series, so it amazes me that I've waited so long to read this book. I didn't think she could capture the innocence, the magic and the desperation of the characters of Ella and Micha in another book. Although I gave her Ella & Micha books 5 star ratings, this one blows them both out of the water. Callie and Kayden are timeless characters that I found myself falling in love with. On the positive side, by holding off on this book, I don't have to wait too much longer for the sequel, 'cause let me tell you - this book ends at a very critical juncture that will have you screaming, "Whhhaaaattttt????"
Callie is a beyond damaged young woman. She is the victim of a heinous crime that is easy to figure out, although we don't learn the perpetrator until the end. This crime that was committed left Callie as a shell of a person. She went through all the motions. She finished high school, kept her head down and left home for college. After she became a victim, she purposely made herself seem undesireable as a person and made no effort to create any relationships. She had no friends, no boyfriends and was viewed as the class weirdo. Her psychological issues are vast and cause her to damage herself.
Kayden is the all-star football player from her high school, who happens to attend college with Callie. He's hot, sexy and charming. He was Mr. Popularity in high school, and his girlfriend, Daisy, is the Queen of the High School Bitches. However, Kayden also has a deep and dark secret. Before leaving for college, he was saved one night by Callie. Although it was a coincidence that Callie happened to be in the right spot and the right time, Kayden feels very much in debt to her. When he runs into her on his college campus, the sparks begin to fly. I am a HUGE Kayden fan. He's become one of my most beloved leading guys. Take my word for it - this is a character that you will love to love for various reasons.
Callie and Kayden don't jump into a whirwind relationship. Sorensen does an excellent job building trust between them. They both have very grave issues that they are dealing with, and they both harm themselves in different ways. There is a tremendous amount of emotional pain between these two, but their pairing only makes them stronger. Kayden confesses what problems he endured with his family before he came to school, which helps Callie to trust him. He never pushes Callie to give him more than she can, and he helps her to come to terms with her past. Kayden makes Callie feel worthy and brings hope and happiness into a previously desolate life.
Seth is Callie's best friend at school. He is the first person that Callie ever told about her past, and Seth is extremely protective of Callie. I loved Seth from the beginning. He truly is the best friend that Callie could have ever hoped for. Luke is another side character that I enjoyed very much. As one of Kayden's best friends, he appears a lot in this story. It's obvious that he's very loyal to Kayden, but at the same time grounds Kayden by telling him truths that aren't necessarily easy to hear. I think there's a story hiding somewhere in Sorensen's mind about Luke and I would love to read more about him.
Sorensen has a talent for creating multi-layered, deep characters that stick with you long after you finish her books. Her ability to write damaged characters is uncanny. I can't think of two characters that have suffered more than Callie and Kayden. These characters have some deep-seated issues that aren't always easy to read about. My heart goes out to them - they feel so very realistic. Any one of them could have been a kid in your school.
The ending of this book is rough. Truths are revealed and choices are made that will follow these characters into the next book. We learn all about Callie and Kayden, and we see the extent of the damage that their pasts have caused. This books ends immediately after the pinnacle of action in this book. We are left wondering what happens to the characters and trying to process all the events that lead to the ending. It's going to be a long road that Callie and Kayden have to travel in the Redemption of Callie and Kayden.