Last week AudioGals featured the trending New Adult market by talking with Jessica Bromberg, Publicity Manager for Hachette’s imprint Forever. What is New Adult? Although the genre is still evolving, the characters range in age from 18-25 and are in the process of exploring their newfound freedom. Angst seems to be key as one or both of the leads are either in dark situations or have some highly disturbing event in their past they are attempting to move beyond as they mature.
Although the opening of The Coincidence of Callie and Kayden features the leads in their hometown before leaving for college, the story takes place as they each settle into college life. Callie and Kayden have grown up around each other although Callie is the nerd who dresses oddly while Kayden is the popular football player. Their worlds rarely cross with Kayden barely noticing Callie and, you got it, Callie totally aware of just who Kayden is.
Fortunately, once at college, those high school Pretty in Pink vibes are gone. Callie bears scars from an event years earlier in her life. Kayden is a victim of abuse – still – although he is a tough guy in just about every other way. Secondary characters (friends of the leads) carry some sort of baggage with their own past damaging event(s) in their lives. It is angst multiplied and on all fronts but, by far, Kayden carries the greatest burden. And I absorbed it all, barely taking a break.
New Adult audiobook narrators need to sound young – no doubt about it. But with the subject matter – not too young. Finding a female narrator who sounds appropriately young (say early 20s) who can also effectively portray male characters with a pleasing degree of differentiation must be a tricky business. I listen to sound samples each month as we go through the process of choosing review books, trying to find those who fit this bill for New Adult listening but seldom finding a sound sample that convinces me the narrator (who usually has few if any titles to their name) can pull it off. Oh, there have been a few successes such as Jamie McGuire’s Beautiful Disaster (female narration) and Walking Disaster (male narration) and we’re always looking for more. And I’m happy to report that Leslie Bellair is definitely a narrator who gets New Adult and delivers it well.
I understood these characters’ ages simply by the listening. I heard the emotions and had an understanding of their personalities all through Bellair’s delivery. She differentiates her characters effectively, for the most part, although there were times when the voices blended together and I found myself relying on dialogue tags or running my mind back over recent comments to distinguish just what character had delivered a line.
I found myself engrossed in The Coincidence of Callie and Kayden. Despite the angst, I enjoyed the drama. I cared for the characters. I wanted to see them through their challenges. Which brings me to the end…
The dreaded cliffhanger ending. Yeah, it has one. And it’s a biggie. But, romance die-hards (such as me), need not fear. The sequel, The Redemption of Callie and Kayden, ties up their tale in a manner that I’m betting will please you. It’s only available in eBook format at this time but Hachette Audio plans to release it in audio format February, 2014.
Book Content: B
Steam Factor: Glad I had my earbuds in
Violence: Fighting, Domestic fighting
Genre: New Adult – Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Hachette Audio
The Coincidence of Callie and Kayden was provided to AudioGals for review by Hachette Audio.