Caleb is new to Kate's exclusive prep school, and it's clear he doesn't fit in. In fact, he and his dad work in maintenance for Kate's father. And while Caleb knows better than to spend time with the boss's daughter, it seems that every time he tries to back away, something pulls him right back in.
When their parents demand that they are to stay away from each other, they learn of a fight between their families that occurred more than fifty years ago. It's a mystery Kate doesn't understand...but a legacy Caleb has endured his entire life. - taken from the author's website.
I began reading this book with the notion that the story was to follow that of Romeo & Juliet. So I was not surprised by how it unfolded. I expected there to be tension between the 2 families & their love to be forbidden. I was hoping there wasn't going to be a death at the end of this YA book, though. I thought that may have been a bit too much. My hopes were proven to be correct, and the author portrayed their "death scene" to be very climatic with out actually killing off both main characters.
The setting for this book is in Oregon, the pacific northwest. I felt that the author did a fantastic job of describing it's elements. The main focus in the story, Kate's family's Inn, is portrayed as this magnificent, beautiful palace. The description alone made me want to visit! This is the back drop for Kate's first encounter with Caleb. Their first meeting is everything a young, teenage girl hopeful for love could ask for. The story takes off & we are whisked away by this forbidden love affair between the 2 teenagers.
As Shakespeare tells the story of Rome & Juliet, the 2 star-crossed lovers are divided due to their families differences. The author of Caleb + Kate mimics this same theme by separating these 2 teens based on a family fued dealing with the Inn and the land that it sits on. One family says it's theirs, while the other claims rights to it as well. This fued is never settled, and unfortunately it puts Caleb and Kate right in the middle of it. Their true love is tested by forcing them to be a part. During the climax of the story, you can feel Kate's anguish & dispare as she is forced to be away from Caleb. Is this the real thing? Will it stand the test of time? Their faith in themselves is put to the test & in true young romance literature fashion, they pass this test with flying colors. The ending is wrapped up very nicely with ALL parties satisfied.
I think this book did a good job of incorporating Shakespeare's lessons about true love, trust, and loyalty in to today's world. Yes, it would have been silly for both characters to commit suicide over their love for one another. However, isn't that how every teenager in love for the first time feels when they are told they can not be with that certain boy or girl? Nothing else matters unless he/she is by my side. It's a feeling we can relate to because I'm sure we've all experienced it. It's a never ending theme that will last for generations to come.