Author: Jessica Sorensen
The Redemption of Callie and Kayden is the sequel to The Coincidence of Callie and Kayden, which I have not read. Let me start by saying that you don’t have to have read The Coincidence for this book to make sense, it does read fine as a stand alone but for me personally, I would have preferred to have read the first one in this instance.
Callie and Kayden are two very damaged young people that have found one another and together start thinking they might make it through. It’s very much the story of their romance but even more than that it’s the story of their recovery from their own personal demons and how they move forward. I think the first book would have given me a much greater insight into their pasts and what brought them to where Redemption started, but as the story unfolds you do learn all of that information.
I have only read one other Jessica Sorensen novel and that also featured a damaged character running from an event in her past. Kayden and Callie though are very damaged and have suffered terribly, are still suffering terribly, and don’t cope very well – but they do survive and that is always a step in the right direction.
Sorensen tackles the very sensitive subject of self-mutilation and delves into the mentality behind it. Both Callie and Kayden have secret coping mechanisms that they have hidden from the world and it isn’t until that secret is shared that they find a new level of understanding. Self-mutilation and cutting is often portrayed as a girls disorder but that’s not the case and it’s certainly not the case in this book. Kayden cuts and Callie has a different form of self-mutilation. Sorensen takes us behind the action and allows us to understand the purpose it served for them, it wasn’t about the mutilation it was about the effect.
I have read more and more New Adult recently and the leads are always damaged in some way but I am definitely leaning towards these two being the most damaged, having suffered the most. The Redemption of Callie and Kayden sees them on the brink of the abyss and follows as they slowly make their way back from there. The measures they take, the support they receive and their growth. It wasn’t easy, and it wasn’t always smooth but they were always trying to move in the right direction.
Written from alternating perspectives we follow Callie and Kayden through a very dark time. It’s written in the first person so at times I got a little lost and had to flick back to work out whose head I was in but I think that was more about me than the writing, and it’s quite a common style so one that I am slowly becoming accustomed to.
Seth and Luke are also quite major players, being the best friends of Callie and Kayden they are often involved in the story. These two are also trying to come back from trauma, though we don’t find out much about it and they seem to have other methods of coping.
Callie and Kayden have suffered the way no child, no person, ever should so at times it was hard to read about but I think there would have been more about it in the Coincidence of Callie and Kayden. It is almost too perfect that these two seem to have lived in the same town for a very long time but it’s only now that they register on each others radar, just in time to save each other, then again I did miss the first book so it could all be explained there. The dynamic between them and the road they have to travel to be together is an interesting one, they see such beauty in each other but suffer huge esteem issues so feel undeserving and try to sabotage what they have. They both feel so broken and being together is the only way to start putting the pieces back together – and holding it together.
Kayden has had it rough and I couldn’t help but feel for him, and the times he acted like a total jerk you could see why.
Sorensen has written these characters beautifully, their trauma, their healing and their thought patterns. Callie is slowly moving forward with the help of Seth and Kayden, she’s making progress and moving forward but crowds and strange people still make her extremely uneasy. Seth is slowly coaxing progress out of her and the amount of time she spends around Luke is helping, enough to surprise her.
I enjoyed this book, I think I would have benefitted from having read The Coincidence of Callie and Kayden first but it does hold up as a stand alone. I would be interested to see what happens next for them and I think there will be a bit of that in The Destiny of Violet & Luke. The issues I had with the book were relatively minor and I think stem from not having read the first book. Once again Sorensen has brought us the story of damaged souls healed by love that is well written and addresses real life issues that none of us should ever have to face but way too many people do. I look forward to following this series which is set to tell Luke and Seth’s stories as well.