Emilie's Reviews > Leaving Paradise

Leaving Paradise by Simone Elkeles
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Sep 14, 10

bookshelves: series, reviewed, own, contemporary

A few weeks ago I discovered Simone Elkeles by reading Perfect Chemistry and I immediately wanted to read more. I ordered Leaving Paradise and started reading it right away. I wasn’t disappointed and I felt the same way I did while I was reading Perfect Chemistry. Simone Elkeles just has a way of writing that really draws you into the story and you don’t really emerge until you’ve read the entire book.

A year ago, Caleb went to a juvenile detention facility for having been driving drunk and running into his neighbor Maggie. Today Caleb is released and Maggie is suffering through physical therapy and and has to walk with a limp, most likely for the rest of her life. Maggie and Caleb are told to stay away from each other but there is something that pulls them together, they are the only two people who have even the smallest insight into what the other is going through.

I just love the characters that Elkeles creates, they always feel so real and they jump off the page. Sometimes it feels like I could be having a conversation with them, that’s how real they feel. Maggie and Caleb were great. I really enjoyed reading from both their perspectives but I have to admit that I think I like Caleb’s perspective the best. I don’t really know why. I think as a character I also liked him more than I did Maggie. That’s not to say Maggie wasn’t awesome because she really was, I just liked Caleb better...maybe I’m starting to develop a thing for bad boys...

Like in Perfect Chemistry, the chapters had alternating points of view. I don’t know if the story would be the same if it were just from Caleb or Maggie’s point of view. I find that having that constant change in point of view really draws me into the story. Because of the way it’s written you never know how things are going to turn out until the very end, and even then you’re not sure if that’s really how things are going to stay.

The story itself was really great. There is just something about a love that’s not meant to happen than gets me every time. No matter how many times I read about people who aren’t supposed to be together falling in love, I just start rooting for them, every single time. But there is so much more to Leaving Paradise than Maggie and Caleb’s relationship. It’s about growing up, being self-confident and owning up to what you did or didn’t do. I don’t know how to describe the story without giving too much of it away but I’ll say this: the story is about making mistakes, learning from those mistakes, and taking responsibility.

As good as Leaving Paradise was, Perfect Chemistry is still my favorite. Though had I read them in reverse order, Leaving Paradise may be just be my favorite. The ending sort of left me hanging so I’m really looking forward to Return to Paradise, the sequel that’s coming out on September 1st.
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