Book Review: Leaving Paradise (Leaving Paradise #1) by Simone Elkeles

Nothing has been the same since Caleb Becker left a party drunk, got behind the wheel, and hit Maggie Armstrong. Even after months of painful physical therapy, Maggie walks with a limp. Her social life is nil and a scholarship to study abroad—her chance to escape everyone and their pitying stares—has been canceled.

After a year in juvenile jail, Caleb’s free . . . if freedom means endless nagging from a transition coach and the prying eyes of the entire town. Coming home should feel good, but his family and ex-girlfriend seem like strangers. 

Caleb and Maggie are outsiders, pigeon-holed as "criminal" and "freak." Then the truth emerges about what really happened the night of the accident and, once again, everything changes. It’s a bleak and tortuous journey for Caleb and Maggie, yet they end up finding comfort and strength from a surprising source: each other.

Release Date: April 1, 2007
Age Group: Young Adult
Publisher: Flux
Source: Library

Oooh, this was such a good book!  I loved it right from the first line.  I have heard so many good things about Simone Elkeles but have never read her before.  I'm so glad I started with Leaving Paradise because I thought it was excellent.

Leaving Paradise was so intense: Maggie's's Caleb's fault!  Now he's out of jail and their paths cross.  Neither one of them have any one to confide in.  Maggie lost her best friend, Caleb's sister, after the accident.  Caleb is labeled as a criminal and no longer fits in with his old friends.  Bit by bit, they become friends, all the while fighting their attraction to each other.

The one thing I didn't like about this book was the cliffhanger ending, but luckily, I had the sequel already so I didn't have to wait to find out what happened to Caleb and Maggie.

Simone Elkeles writes with an alternating narrative.  I love that---I love getting the story from both main characters' points of view.  It makes for a more meaningful story, in my opinion.  Leaving Paradise was such an intense read, I could not put it down.  I read it in just about one sitting and was left dying for more.  The message regarding drinking and driving was handled well, it could have been "preachy" but it wasn't.  I liked that a lot.

Leaving Paradise was an excellent read that I would recommend to anyone.

1 comment:

  1. I liked this book in the beginning but then my interest tapered off. Maybe I'm a bit too callous, but I couldn't get over the accident and what Caleb did. I just couldn't forgive him and didn't understand why their relationship started in the first place.


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