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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.


Leaving paradise is the story of Caleb a teenage boy who has just been let out of prison for a hit and run accident and the girl who he hit with the car called Maggie.

Caleb returns to his old life and finds it a struggle. He can't relate to his friends and family in a similar way to before as his outlook on life has changed so much. His has to catch up on the year of school he's missed and his friends have moved on without him. Maggie equally finds life a struggle. Since the accident she has had to give up tennis and therefore lost the connection with the social circle she had through that. She's having to go through painful physiotherapy regularly. She's also lost her best friend (the twin of Caleb) and is finding life to be a lonely existence.

Caleb and Maggie are obviously quite keen to avoid one another but get put together when the pair end up working for the same old lady. It was brilliant to see how their relationship changed and developed as the book went on especially when you consider how similar the two of them are in their lives since the accident.

The end of the book throws out loads of revelations and leaves lots of things up in the air for the sequel which I cannot wait to read. A fabulous read and exactly what I expected from a Simone Elkeles. 


I really need to get my hands on this. I love all the rest of Simone Elkeles' books I've read.
Carina said…
I really loved Simone's PERFECT CHEMISTRY series and am very curious about this one, too. I'm glad you liked it - thanks for sharing! :)

Fictional Distraction
Jesse Owen said…
I'm yet to read a book by Simone Elkeles and this seems like a fabulous one to start with :)