The Redemption of Callie and Kayden (The Coincidence, # 2)
By: Jessica Sorense
Expected Publication: July 30th 2013 by Sphere
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary
Source: Publisher via NetGalley (Thank you!!!)
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Goodreads description--The dark secret Kayden has kept hidden for years is out. Worse, he's facing charges for battery. The only way he stands a chance against the charges is if Callie speaks up, something he'll never ask her to do.
Callie knows Kayden is going back to his dark place and desperately wants to save him. But saving him means admitting her secrets aloud. Callie and Kayden are stronger than they think, especially when they're together. Together they move forward, face their demons, and finally start to heal from their traumatic pasts.
Even though both The Coincidence of Callie and Kayden and The Redemption of Callie and Kayden are told from dual POVs and cover the struggles of both characters, The Coincidence of Callie and Kayden focuses more on Callie's struggles and The Redemption of Callie and Kayden focuses more on Kayden's. While I've gotten sucked into these characters' lives and struggles, their paths are dark and heavy with the hauntings of their pasts.
One of the biggest struggles that I had with The Coincidence of Callie and Kayden (my review here) was their unhealthy coping mechanisms. Callie's self-induced vomiting, purging, and Kayden's cutting, self-mutilation. On the one hand, these subjects aren't things that I read about every day and they added depth to the story that made these characters and their struggles real. At the same time, I was yelling at them both to find better ways of coping, to talk to someone--anyone. As the title suggests, The Redemption of Callie and Kayden is a story about healing and moving forward--which they both very much need to do.
As with The Forever of Ella and Micha, both Callie and Kayden eventually end up talking to counselors/therapists, and I love that Jessica Sorensen included not only this fact, but also that they're both improving due to this. So many characters in literature see counselors, but they don't allow the process to work. I like seeing positive results being portrayed from these experiences--especially after how dark The Coincidence of Callie and Kayden was. At the end of The Coincidence of Callie and Kayden, I felt like the opportunity should have been taken to address that Callie and Kayden's coping mechanisms are not healthy and that if any reader finds themselves struggling with these issues to please ask for help, and while that particular message wasn't spelled out at the end of either books, I did feel like that was the overall message of The Redemption of Callie and Kayden.
Callie herself really shows a lot of strength and growth in The Redemption of Callie and Kayden from where she was in the previous book. The potential loss of Kayden really kicked her into gear. She realized how important moving forward and healing really is for the both of them, and she's bound and determined to see to it that they both get the help they need. I was proud of her for stepping up.
Kayden does dance around the "I'm not good enough for you/you deserve better" attitude of relationship-sacrificing that bugs me so much lately. BUT, luckily, we didn't have to suffer through chapters upon chapters of this attitude or of Kayden running away. Kayden's bravery kicks in and I found myself being proud of him as well.
While one theme of this story was about how others can help us to be stronger, I liked that Jessica Sorensen chose to have the characters conquer some of their fears alone. I don't think having each other there for support in these situations would have made the characters or the story "less", but it does show how far the characters have come and how much they've grown. Some things just have to be done alone.
I finished The Redemption of Callie and Kayden in about 24 hours. It was a fast read and was heavy while not being overly emotional for me. That's not to say that I wasn't attached--I was. I just didn't cry or anything like that considering the heavy topics. The Redemption of Callie and Kayden gets 4 stars from me. Have you read The Redemption of Callie and Kayden? What did you think? Let me know!