Leaving Paradise (Leaving Paradise, book 1) by Simone Elkeles
Genre: Contemporary YA
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.
This is my second Simone Elkeles book, and she has proven she is an author well worth leaving your comfort genre for. My first taste of Elkeles’ work was Perfect Chemistry, an emotional rush full of characters a reader can truly love. With Leaving Paradise emotions are rawer and the intensity at which this story can move a reader is amazing.
Maggie is a victim of a hit and run by the boy she has secretly loved for years, she’s left crippled and her dreams broken along with her legs. Caleb is put away for his crimes and is finally coming out of prison, but nothing is waiting for him when he comes home. Both are outcasts now and the startling truth is that only they can heal each other. The tale behind Leaving Paradise is simple but soon evolves into so much more.
Side characters manage to steal your heart away, and the truth behind the accident and events leading to it are just stunning. In the end Maggie—the self-pitying victim—truly rises above and learns to accept herself. Caleb’s journey is just beginning as he finds himself the true victim of circumstances.
In the end this tale is a classic story of the victim and the lies that surround a "simple" accident. Leaving Paradise is a book that expertly weaves the reader into the tale creating an emotional rush that avid readers hunger for more. Even if you're an avid Fantasy fan like me, this is a tale worth leaving your comfort zone behind for.
References to sex, a few low key descriptions of sex scenes, and sexual humor.
Rating: 5/5- Fabulous, a beautiful obsession!
amazon: Leaving Paradise
goodreads: Leaving Paradise