You can't go home again
A year ago, a senseless accident maimed Maggie and sent Caleb to juvenile detention. The last thing in the world they were expecting was that the other would turn out to be the one person who understood what they'd gone through. Maggie and Caleb have both changed, but together, they just might manage to get their lives back on track--unless the shocking truth finally comes out and tears them apart again.
Leaving Paradise alternates chapters narrated by Maggie with chapters narrated by Caleb, with a slightly uneven result; the two narrations sometimes overlap, one picking up where the other left off, telling the same event from both perspectives, but sometimes there's a lapse of a few days between chapters, with nothing to signal the difference. It's possible that the entire story could have been told equally effectively from just one of their points of view, or by an omniscient third-person narrator including the characters' interior monologue--but in the end, regardless of its narrative structure, this book is an absolute page-turner.
At first, the idea that these two characters would be drawn to each other so strongly seems farfetched, but as their history is gradually explained, the premise becomes more believable. The characters of Maggie and Caleb as they are now are fairly complete--and it's a good thing there were so many scenes where each one interacted independently with others, preventing them from becoming one-note characters. But readers might have trouble imagining how they were before the accident, especially Caleb, whose (self-admitted) characterization as a selfish jerk doesn't quite jive with the specific examples of his actions, which on the contrary, paint him as very sympathetic. It's obvious that each of the supporting characters plays a particular role in Maggie and Caleb's journey, but despite the fact that they're functional to the plot, they're also delightful and touching.
With two important pieces of information revealed at exactly the right time (at approximately the 1/3 and 2/3 marks of the book), readers will constantly be on their toes, reevaluating everything they thought they knew about the characters and the fatal night of the accident. With its original premise, engaging characters and stunning twist, Leaving Paradise is another winner from How to Ruin a Summer Vacation author Simone Elkeles.
Awsome read! Glad I read it.
Reader reviewed by Arianna
This was an excellent book!! The pace was a bit fast, but the plot and unexpected twists were great. The book is written in with that raw sense of feeling that keeps you intrested and on edge, as well as showing realism to the whole situation (the two main characters falling into an unexpected relationship with each other), making a book that can be realistically connected with or put into real life. Although the ending had me sad that their relationship ended that way, I'm sure I won't be dissapointed when I read the sequel "Return to Paradise". This book is an easy read (with some mild language) that I enjoyed reading very much, and highly recommend it to any teen or young adult reader who needs to fill some empty time, or just wants to pick up a good book. I read this book in a few hours; it was so good I just couldn't put it down! It was well worth the time to read.
A New Story in Fiction
Reader reviewed by Jessica
As two characters, drawn together on the faithful night of the party, tell a story through different view points, romance blooms from hatred in a way that was never expected. As acceptance increases, two unlikely characters learn that love can be found just about anywhere, with just about anyone, as long as you're able to forgive and forget.
With family secrets creating the base of this story, readers will find themselves caught from the first page as one of the main characters is released from a juvenile detention center for hitting the second of the main characters and completely messing up her knee, stopping her from being able to play tennis as she has been for years. Both characters lost something on the night of the accident, but slowly regain it back as they learn to trust one another, and learn that the only person who you can truly love needs to understand your pain and suffering.
Wonderfully written through two view points that allow the reader to get inside of the character's heads, "Leaving Paradise" tells the warming story of two characters who find themselves falling in love despite everything that should keep them apart. The moral of forgiveness is forever tied to the story, with an underlay of something darker that will keep the readers begging for more long after it ends.
Oen of the best books i've ever read!
Reader reviewed by Lydia
I loved readind this book and read it in two days since i was so hooked. I recomend this book to everyone that likes a good book with awsome charactors, funnny moments and a great overall plot.
The only part i didn't like about this book is how it ends, but that's up to you to decide. :)
Dramatic Soap Opera
Reader reviewed by Suzie
I thought in my opinion this book was awesome! The book I read was by Simone Elkeles it was called Leaving Paradise. This book had so much drama and dramatic actions I thought in it. Also if the book was tuned in to a movie it would be like a soap opera to me. I think the tender love and chemistry between these adolescents named Maggie Armsrong and Caleb Becker were so interesting and exciting especially since their acident last year before Caleb in Jail and Maggie in rehab in the hospital and physical therapy. Well I think i am giving to much information in this little summary of the book so i will let you find out and read the book for your selves. Oh and if Simone Elkeles is creating another great teen book i think she should make a sequel to the wonderful book Leaving Paradise! I cant wait to read another book by Simone Elkeles! You are a great author! Also I cant write this enough please make another book to Leaving Paradise! Please and Thank you!
Suzie your number 1 reader go Simone and Leaving Paradise and other books by Simone you rock!!