Saturday, January 26, 2013

Review: Leaving Paradise 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.

Title: Leaving Paradise
Series: Leaving Paradise #1
Published: April 8th 2007 by Flux
ISBN: 0738710180 (ISBN13: 9780738710181)

Just a disclaimer: Caleb does swear and there are some sexual-ish scenes.
One of my favorite parts of the book is how it is set up. Instead of hearing from just Maggie, or just Caleb, you get chapters from each of them and with this I find you usually get both sides of the story instead of just one.

Maggie starts out as a little weak, but grows stronger as the book goes on. She learns to see that you can’t focus on your flaws; you have to focus on your assets. Many other people could do well learning this lesson. Caleb changes too. He shows his caring and protective side, and his love for his twin sister. They help each other, and find the better within themselves.

Mrs. Reynolds was helped them both out too. This describes her ways best.
"I don't need any help"
"You have a heart condition," Mr. Reynolds says.
She waves her hand in the air, dismissing his concern. "Who says?"
"Your doctor."
"What do doctors know, anyway? They call it practicing medicine because that's all they ever do. Practice. If you'd visit me once in a while, you'd know I'm doing fine.”

I think Maggie’s mother and Mr. Reynolds (Mrs. Reynolds son) are cute secondary characters.

Caleb’s best friend, Brian, must be one of the worst friends in the world. I hate him so much, but, I’m not sure if I hate him or Caleb’s ex-girlfriend, Kendra, more. She’s an awful person.

I've read this book before, and others of Simone Elkele’s stories, I find her books wonderful. While some people think it’s just a love stories, I find her books deeper than that.

I did not expect the ending, and I was so glad that there’s a second book, which I do own (and haven't read yet) and that will be my next review! 

More soon!
Book Nerd and Proud,

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