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Sunday, June 27, 2010

Leaving Paradise

Simone Elkeles

Published 2007

303 Pages

Rating: B+

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.

(from BN.com)

Let me first say that this book was pretty close to amazing. It had everything a book should have: desire, love, broken hearts, honest perspectives, amusement, and a good ending. I fell in love with book within the first few pages. I was hooked from the get-go.

The book is told from two points of views: Caleb Becker's and Maggie Armstrong's. They are two very different individuals but have something in common they both cannot stand to live with.Leaving Paradise is a book about their struggles. They both try to find peace after what happened that night. In short, Caleb was drunk driving and hit Maggie and from that point on everything was different. Caleb was put into a juvenile detention center and Maggie was in the hospital and undergoing major therapy, but now it’s a year later and much has changed but not necessarily for the better. Caleb is free, and Maggie is still living with her disability while trying to accept the fact that her life has completely done a 180.

I really enjoyed reading this book, and I was surprised at a few of the twists it had. There were some things I didn’t expect but they made the book so much better. Not only was this book different from the average teen novel, but it was one that left me thinking about the little (or big) things in life that affect others. I definitely recommend this book to teens (and even adults) everywhere. The ending was unexpected, but it pulled the book together perfectly.


  1. I really liked this book too. Such a heart-breaking premise. And I agree that it had a few twists in it that I didnt see coming.

    A good review :)

  2. i really need to get this book, great review btw

  3. i loved this book! the twist near the end i was really not expecting glad you enjoyed it

  4. I've heard so much about Simone and I own two of her books but I still haven't read anything by her! This looks excellent. Awesome review.


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