Thursday, October 7, 2010

READING : Leaving Paradise by Simone Elkeles

Leaving Paradise by Simone Elkeles

Publication date: April 1st, 2007
Published by: Flux
Source: Gift
Rating: 4/5

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 have only read one other book by Simone Elkeles, Perfect Chemistry, but I am already a huuuuge fan of hers!!!So, after a very good friend of mine got me Leaving Paradise for my birthday, I dived right in!

For starters, I loved the story behind Leaving Paradise. Teenage hunky boy, ex con, went to jail because of a hit and run and falls in love with the girl he hit?Come on!It practically screams beautiful, heart-breaking romance!!That, along with Elkeles's brilliant writing, was a match made in heaven!

Just like in Perfect Chemistry, the narrative was split between Caleb and Maggie.I love multiple POVs because not only the readers get to experience first hand each of the pivotal character's thoughts and feelings, they also have a more objective view of everything that is going on.
I have expressed my undying love for male leads in the past and Caleb is not an exception!I liked everything about him, from his very realistic relationship with his family to the helpless romantic he hides deep inside.
I have a few objections about Maggie, though.Don't get me wrong,she was a likeable character.Her feelings though were not that believable, in my opinion.She was very quick to fall back in love with Caleb, even though, at the beginning, she admitted that she pretty much hated him for what he did to her, and who can't blame her,right? Despite all the physical therapy she went through, she still walked with a limp, she couldn't play tennis which she loved and she was an outcast at school.But then suddenly, boom!All is forgotten.Well, OK, not exactly like that, but you get my point.That made her character a bit inconsistent and a little bit fake for my taste.I guess,knowing that there is gonna be a sequel,I didn't expect her to forgive and forget that easily.Or maybe that's just me.

Besides that minor flaw though, Simone Elkeles delivers once again with a beautifully written, genuine romance story!
I will surely be picking up Return To Paradise, the sequel to Leaving Paradise.I can't wait to see how things turn out for Caleb and Maggie!

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