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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Review: Leaving Paradise by Simone Elkeles

Released: April 8, 2007
Publisher: Flux
Rated: YA
Series: Leaving Paradise, Book 1
Buy: Amazon
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.

What I thought

I don't know why I put this one off as long as I did. But I'm glad I finally read it. It was a really emotional read seeing the two different sides of how drunk driving can destroy lives. There were hardships on both sides and while at first I wasn't sure I would like Caleb, I actually started to feel for him pretty fast after really getting into his story.

I was able to figure this one out pretty quick. While I was a little disappointed (only a little) about figuring that out, I did discover I didn't figure out the whole thing. Watching as both Maggie and Caleb struggled pulled on the heart strings a bit. In the end, I was rooting for them both. I thought they both deserved someone who truly understood them, and it happened to be each other.

Both had a lot to deal with. I was really glad it wasn't one sided. We got to hear from both Caleb and Maggie and I think if the story had been written in only one characters point of view, it would have fallen apart. Definitely not your average ya romance, but definitely worth the read.

My Rating

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