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young adult book reviews & more

Leaving Paradise by Simone Elkeles

Leaving ParadiseOne horrible accident on one fateful night changed it all for two teens, Maggie Armstrong and Caleb Becker. Maggie spent the last year in and out of hospitals and physical therapy, trying to assimilate into the fragments left of her life after her leg was run over in a hit and run accident. She’s self-conscious about her limp and wants to escape her small town home in Paradise. Caleb spent the past year in a juvenile detention center, charged with maiming Maggie, but he’s getting out early for good behavior. After a year apart, they now have to face each other again. But they’re not as different as they think they are; they’ve both been scarred by the accident physically or mentally and they each hold the key of forgiveness that could heal the other.

Leaving Paradise is a delicate and beautiful, if tragic, love story. Elkeles weaves this story so well, picking realistic characters with commendable hidden strengths and yet debilitating weaknesses and creating from that a bond from which Maggie and Caleb’s story flows. I can’t help but meditate on the tragedy of it all, that being at the wrong place at the wrong time could ruin so many lives. Maggie and Caleb have to constantly struggle in the present with dirty little secrets or poor self image while simultaneously trying to accept eh scarring events of the past. It’s just so sad to me that they’re losing their uphill battle ultimately even through private gains such as finding self esteem and discovering true love. So even if the ending is horribly upsetting to me, I recognize that some of the best stories have to be tragedies because that’s just the way of the world; accidents happen and love, no matter how sweet and pure, may be lost, but life goes on.

Elkeles’ storytelling skills will make readers think with the authenticity of her tales. Leaving Paradise will be enjoyed by fans of Everything Beautiful by Simmone Howell, Two-Way Street by Lauren Barnholdt, Stealing Heaven by Elizabeth Scott, and Elkeles’ latest and slightly more satisfying novel, Perfect Chemistry.

Rating: 4.75

Review copy from personal collection

20 munch(es) :

Janssen said...

I too found the ending completely heartbreaking. Like you said, Perfect Chemistry was a little more fulfilling :)

Anonymous said...

The sequel to Leaving Paradise is coming out in the spring of 2010 - hopefully you'll find the ending to Maggie and Caleb's story more satisfying in the sequel!
~Simone Elkeles, author

Mitzy said...

I read Perfect Chemistry a couple weeks a go and loved it, I hope to read this soon as well!

~THE OPTIMISTIC PESSIMIST ~ said...

Ohh sound so good!

Anonymous said...

I read Perfect Chemistry the best book in the world i wish authors wrote more books like that i finsh the book in one day because when i wanted to stop something else happens love the book

VickyV said...

She's doing a sequel now... :) Yey!

Anonymous said...

I read this book and it is the best book i have ever read in my life i loved it! It was a sad book and im soooooo excited for the sequal!!

Crystal said...

I just recently read Perfect Chemistry yesterday and finished it within a couple of hours. I honestly could not put it down! Even while i was driving, i was so tempted to open it up at every red light...dangerous! yes i know! I can't wait till i go pick up this book today!

Anonymous said...

I just got done reading Leaving Paradise today and I am absolutely in love with the book!
The only flaw that i did not very much like was the ending. It left me so confused and now I just cant wait till the sequel comes out! I for sure will be checking that book out.

Anonymous said...

i can't wait to read perfect chemistry and leaving paradise. i read how to ruin a summer vacation and loved it so im sure i'll love this one to

Anonymous said...

What month does the sequal for leaving paradise come out i must read it lol im just dying to get my hands on it and i do hope the ending is more fullfilling =]

Anonymous said...

Oh my gosh, I just read Perfect Chemistry and I absolutely loved it! It's the best book I have ever read... seriously! I just heard that there's gonna be a sequel to it in May 2010-- I'm so excited but I don't know if I can wait that long!

Anonymous said...

i read "perfect chemistry" before i read "leaving paradise" but both are amazing reads. i absolutely can't wait until the sequel to "leaving paradise" comes out during the summer of 2010 (which honestly is going to be hard to wait for) but whoever hasn't read either of those two books by the amazing author, Simone Elkeles is definately missing out.

Anonymous said...

i just read leaving paradise yesterday and i loved it! but the ending was kind of a downer..lol So i'm really excited to hear there's gonna be a sequel..i'm also kinda sad tho tht i have to wait to read it!!!!

Anonymous said...

i love leaving paradise! i was kind of disappointed at the end. but now i hear their will be a sequel so im excited!

Anonymous said...

i read this book in two days.
i fell in love with it, the connection between maggie and caleb id heartwarming. i hate kendra, leah needs to lighten up and calebs parents should have been there for him. instead one was a pushover and one was addicted to drugs. the ending was heartbreaking.

Anonymous said...

Iv read Perfect Chemistry a hundred times over. I love it a rediculous amount for a book. When i saw this on the shelf i nearly jumped because I needed to read it asap. Im thrilled to hrar this heartwrenching story isnt quite over yet. Spring of 2010 cant come soon enough. Thanks for all your books simone!

Anonymous said...

I love the book and i cant wait to the sequel i've been telling my friend about it

tori said...

I agree with a lot of people. I really enjoyed this book but it somehow just didn't satisfy me, so it's a relief to hear there's a sequel.

I'm also very excited about Perfect Chemistry's(PC) sequel, April can't come fast enough! If you haven't read PC you really should, it's like no other. It deserves a lot more hype than it's getting!

Anonymous said...

OMG!! ive just finished reading perfect chemistry and i love it!! its definatly not what i was expecting. I literally read it all in one day
I cant wait to read her other books :D!x

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