Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Review: Caleb + Kate

Caleb + Kate
By Cindy Martinusen-Coloma
Publication date: May 4, 2010

My review:

Kate Monrovi and Caleb Kalani are from two very different worlds. Kate is a hotel heiress and Caleb's dad is in charge of maintenance at the Monrovi Inn. Caleb grew up surfing in Hawaii but now he is living in Portland with his dad and attending school with Kate at the Gaitlin Academy. From the first time she sees him at her prom, Kate feels a strong connection with Caleb but their family's unpleasant history and their own differences could keep them apart. This modern love story is inspired by Romeo and Juliet.

Caleb + Kate is a sweet love story, told in alternating chapters from the viewpoint of Kate and Caleb. Kate may be very wealthy but she is not spoiled. When she does something wrong, she willingly takes the punishment and she cares about the welfare of others. Still, Kate has some lessons to learn about life and her friendship with Caleb helps her to grow and see things in a different way. After the death of his mom, Caleb's father and younger sister moved to Oregon but Caleb stayed behind in Hawaii with his bitter and demanding grandfather. Instead of following his grandfather's lead and hating Kate and her family, Caleb chooses to be more like his dad and he forms a reluctant friendship with Kate. Their relationship develops into love as they overcome their initial prejudices and get to know each other. They have great chemistry. I thought both characters were well drawn but that the supporting characters are not as well developed.

While it is a Christian fiction novel, the faith elements are not preachy. There is a positive message about love and forgiveness woven into the storyline. The plot revolves around a falling out between Caleb's grandfather and Kate's grandfather but it is never discussed in detail nor is there any resolution. That is the part of the novel that disappointed me. There seemed to be a buildup that led the reader to expect more of a confrontation but it never occurred. Still, I really enjoyed the romance and cared about the characters. It reminded me of a Christian version of Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles. I would have loved this book as a teen. Back then Christian novels for teens read like incredibly preachy after school special books. Thankfully YA Christian fiction has improved since those early years. I look forward to reading Cindy Martinusen-Coloma's other YA fiction.

Readalikes: Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles, Crazy Beautiful by Lauren Baratz-Logsted, A Walk to Remember by Nicholas Sparks, Leaving Paradise by Simone Elkeles


  1. this sounds like a wonderful love story. i enjoy ya christian novels in general, and add that to the romantic aspect of the book and the shakespearean influence, and i think we have a book i'll really enjoy. thanks for the review!

  2. Great review! I'll add it on my list!

  3. Great review! I had no idea this was Christian Fiction. Very cool- will have to check it out.

  4. Sounds like a sweet and modern re-telling of Romeo and Juliet... I think I'll have to check this one out!

  5. Great review, I really wanna read this!

  6. Sounds cute! I don't know if I'd like the Christian elements, but at least it isn't preachy. Fantastic review!

  7. Love a great Christian love story. Thanks for sharing this one. My teen will want to read this I am sure. Right now my middle schooler is finishing a new one out called, "Ben's Big Bang Botheration," by David Millette. If you know of any kids that age who would like to know more about God's creation of the universe then this is great book for that. My daughter has not been able to put it down and can't wait for the next one coming out in the series.


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