Monday, April 6, 2009

Leaving Paradise by Simone Elkeles

Leaving Paradise by Simone Elkeles (Book 1)

Released: April 2007
Publisher: Flux
Genre: Young Adult - Contemporary - Series
Pages: 303
Source: Library

Rating: ♥♥♥

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 loved the idea of Caleb and Maggie with their families friends - everything suited them well. Especially Mrs. Reynolds with her "I'm old, this is what I think, deal with it" attitude. Maggie has the imperfection about her leg since the night of the accident and the self doubt she has about doing anything. She can't play tennis and thinks going to Spain will be the only way to start a new life. Caleb with his brooding attitude and having to come back to a place where everyone is already quick to judge him.

The plot had really great potential. That's one of the main reasons that kept me reading because I was curious of how it would play out. Plus I have this guilty pleasure of bad boys and Simone can write them. As I kept reading, the characters never seemed to get past their surface. I didn't get that reader connection with them. There were some moments that went a little in depth, and parts that I thought would go into more detail, but it fell short. Even the ending, which suited the whole storyline well, seemed way rushed.

Maybe I went into this book with higher expectations because of how much I loved Perfect Chemistry, but in the end I was disappointed in this read.



Anonymous said...

I love this book a ton! Simone Elkeles is really great.

Ann Diana Dinh, said...

I read this! I liked it so much I even bought my own copy. I really liked how the point of view changed every chapter. I really want to read the second one...but I haven't gotten my hands on it yet :(