Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Leaving Paradise by Simone Elkeles

Leaving Paradise by Simone Elkeles

Format: Paperback
Pages: 303
Publisher: Flux

Summary From Goodreads:
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.

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Why I Read This: This is the second book of Simone's that I've read. They never turn out the way I expect and I wanted to read something that surprised me.

Plot: Maggie Armstrong and Caleb Becker are tied together by bad circumstances. One night, Caleb hit Maggie while driving drunk and ruined Maggie's life. Caleb's back, though, after being released from juvie and Maggie's planning a trip to Spain despite her limp. When Caleb and Maggie meet again, Maggie hates him more than ever. The plans for Maggie's trip fall through, and she must work with Caleb in order to earn money to go. Working together and gaining a mutual friend, they both become the only people they can trust and the only person the other shall love.

My Opinion: I was left breathless after reading Leaving Paradise and after reading Perfect Chemistry I didn't expect anything less. I rarely read books with dual points of views, but when I do, I relish the experience. I love being able to feel and read their love developing from both minds.
Simone has a talent for writing soft-hearted bad boys and with Caleb, she hit the nail on the head. Caleb has been to jail and roomed with gang members, but falls apart like a little boy with Maggie. Maggie is another truly admirable and inspirational character. She, being hit by a car, is left with irreversible scars and a limp. She hates Caleb in the beginning and in the end loves Caleb more than life itself, a true model that love can overcome the most revolting feeling.
The thing that I love about Simone's books is that she never does as I expect and the ending of Leaving Paradise left tears stinging my eyes until I saw the sequel notice. I laughed hysterically, earning looks from everyone on my school bus. Closing the shiny back cover of the book, all I could thing was, "Man, I can't wait to read the next one."

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