Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Review - Leaving Paradise by Simone Elkeles

Leaving Paradise (Leaving Paradise, #1)
From Goodreads.com
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.

I received about six books in the mail yesterday- all I had bought from a fellow book blogger. As I was looking through them- reading the backs, checking out the covers-- I opened Leaving Paradise and read small excerpts here and there. Before I knew it, I was reading the book, then I was staying up to finish it, and then it was done and I was craving the sequel.

I had never heard of this Simone Elkeles before. And why the heck not? This book was amazingly written! It switches between the POV of Caleb and Maggie- so you really get to know each of the main characters. And I mean get to know them. I found myself even psychoanalyzing their actions because I felt I knew them well enough. The character development on those 2 is awesome. Meanwhile, that leaves all the secondary characters as quite shallow. I wish we could have gotten to know Mrs. Reynolds more. I feel like there was more to her story- but you had to infer a lot from the dialogue.

Maggie and Caleb are both dealing with the aftermath of the accident that put Maggie in the hospital and physical therapy for the last year, and Caleb in juvey. Going back to their lives, they think everyone around them has changed, but really they have changed - and for the better, I think.

The struggles they go through are so raw, and I felt every emotion in this book. They come to realize they are the only ones who can really understand each other and rediscover their friendship, and begin a romance that is so sweet, so heartwarming. The way Elkeles wrote their scenes was beyond words.

I laughed in this book, I was scared, I had tears running down my face. My heart soared, and it ached. This book made me feel. It's not my usual fare, but I loved it, and I need to go out and get the sequel, Return to Paradise because the ending of this one leaves you heartbroken and hanging.

There is strong language, underage drinking, some talk about sex, some making out, and fight scenes.          

Follow Simone Elkeles: Website

1 comment:

  1. I liked this one a lot, a journey with the characters!
    Thanks for review.
    Brandi from Blkosiner’s Book Blog