Ruth's Reviews > Return to Paradise

Return to Paradise by Simone Elkeles
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's review
Jun 03, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: teen, romance
Read in June, 2010

Seven months after Caleb left his hometown of Paradise, thinking he was doing the best thing for everyone, he gets arrested again, this time for living in a drug house. (He's not doing, or selling, although his friend is. He just lives there... Of course, I think he should have realized getting arrested while living there was a major possibility; it seems to have caught him all unawares.) As part of his punishment, he's given community service in the RE-start program, going around with a group and giving talks to kids about how driving recklessly destroys lives. And bumps straight into Maggie, who's also in the program, as part of the scholarship she's working on. Forced to spend a month in a group together, they have another chance to work on all the issues they'd left unresolved when Caleb skipped town...

Caleb and Maggie are such real characters. Caleb is such a teen-age male idiot, making all the wrong decisions with all the best intentions. He honestly doesn't seem to realize that "protecting" his mother and Leah the way he tries to do is actually making it worse for both of them, ultimately, and hurting Maggie all over again, into the bargain. Meanwhile, Maggie is trying to deal with her (legitimate!!) abandonment issues, what with Caleb and her father...
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