"Caleb + Kate" is a young adult romance novel. Though Caleb had a point-of-view role and was portrayed well, this novel will appeal most to female teens. The story switched between Kate and Caleb's point-of-view with both sections clearly marked and written in first person present tense ("I stand" instead of "she stood"). Though I noticed it, the present tense read smoothly and didn't bother me.
On the actual printed cover, Caleb's skin is darker than it looks in the above cover picture. This is good since Caleb is full-blooded Hawaiian and is described as having deeply tanned or brown skin.
The pacing and world-building were very good. The characters were realistic and usually very likable. Caleb's a great character. I was irritated by Kate's selfishness in deliberately doing things that tempted Caleb physically when she knew that they tempted him and that HE wanted to wait until marriage, but it did fit her "if you want it, you can have it" upbringing.
Kate, after seeing affairs and divorces in other families, doubted that there was such a thing as lasting love. I liked that the author brought up this issue. But I was a bit disappointed that Kate's "this is what true love is like" answer started with lust at first sight (on her part) and an "electric" feeling at every touch. The lasting loves I've seen (like my parents and grandparents) started with no excessive attraction or 'spark' at first sight but grew due to similar interests and time spent together. However, it was a nice love story about building trust and overcoming prejudice, and it finished with the idea that staying 'in love' was a decision rather than based solely on feelings.
The teen characters did muse some about their faith--about God and how what's in the Bible and in sermons (like forgiveness) worked out in real life. There was no sex (though a lot of temptation). There was a minor amount of "he cussed" style bad language. Overall, I'd recommend this novel as well-written, clean reading.
I received this book as a review copy from the publisher.
Review by Debbie from Genre Reviews