Calling California by J.P. Grider
Publisher: J.P. Grider
Publication Date: May 2014
Cali Parker is poor. She has a lot on her plate – her father is dying, she’s working to help pay the rent, and she’s two-years behind in college.
Griffin Brooks is rich. He has not a care in the world – he’s acing his engineering courses, his hobby is restoring his fifty-thousand dollar classic car, and he has a different girl on his arm every week.
When Cali sees Griffin on her first day of class, she’s immediately smitten and thinks she’s found the perfect guy. When Griffin sees Cali at the bank, he immediately forgets the blonde he was with that morning. Then they meet, and their worlds collide.
Cali doesn’t belong in Griffin’s world, and he doesn’t understand hers. But just when Griffin convinces Cali that their two different worlds can blend, a secret is revealed that tears them apart.
Is their love strong enough to bring them back together, or will their worlds drift further apart?
*I was provided with an ARC in exchange for my honest review.
Calista is VERY poor. In case the synopsis of the book hasn’t made the extent of Cali’s poverty known to you, let me clarify. She’s so poor that she had to take two years off after high school in order to save enough money for her first year of college. When Cali meets Griffin, she is enchanted by him; but the problem is that he’s rich (and “poor people can’t trust rich people”).
When Griffin and Cali start seeing each other, it’s only natural that they go on dates. But Cali, who is proud to a large extent, proves difficult when it comes to letting Griffin pay for the coffee; or the burgers; or anything at all. She believes asking for help means one is “lowering himself”, and so refuses to ever accept a helping hand from anybody- even if it means going to live in a homeless shelter.
Before I started reading Calling California, I knew that the theme of money issues would be at large here. I did not know, however, that virtually every issue in the story would have to do with money. This story provoked lots of emotions from me, frustration being the most prominent. Frustration at the characters, frustration at the story, frustration at myself, you name it.
It’s not everyday that a protagonist manages to put me off a whole story, but that’s the case with this book. Cali pushes people away because she’s poor. She pushes Griffin away because he’s rich. She generalises people into “the poor people” and “rich people” categories. She’s bitter about her poverty, but won’t accept even a Dollar from anyone. In short, she’s so hung up on her financial state that I honestly wanted to punch her in the nose and yell, “Snap out of it!”
Griffin, on the other hand, is a bit of a sweet heart. He’s a reformed player, and a very tolerant person (you have to be, when dealing with Cali). I like how he always tries to do the right thing for Cali, even thought he knows he is going to have to face her anger. He tries to understand her insecurities about money, and goes all out to make her feel equal to him in every way.
In the first few chapters of this book, I felt no connection when reading: everything was just corny and awkward. The pacing was also alternating between extremely slow and fast. Moving on, things started to get better, and I began to flow with the story more easily. The redeeming factor of this story is the presence of a plot twist that appears out of nowhere. The author was able to successfully incorporate the twist into the story, making it more enjoyable and less cliché.
Overall, Calling California is one book I would certainly have like better if the heroine wasn’t so annoying. I can’t say I would recommend it to anyone who has little patience for extremely bitter characters, or hates rich-boy-poor-girl clichés.