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Sunday, May 2, 2010

Leaving Paradise by Simone Elkeles

Release Date: April 01, 2007

Publisher: Flux

Age Group: Young Adult

Pages: 303


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.

My Review:

Nearly one year ago Maggie was hit by a car and sustained a major injury to her leg that halted her promising tennis career and leaving her in hospital being home schooled. Caleb, Maggie's neighbour and her best friends brother, was convicted of hitting Maggie while driving drunk and driving off. Maggie had a plan to avoid seeing Caleb before he got released from juvenile detention, go to Spain on exchange, her plan was working fine until Caleb was released early and now with the new school term starting Maggie will have to see Caleb every day at school reminding her of what he did to her. What follows is a beautifully written story about two people who have both been changed by the accident and now must deal with the consequences.

I absolutely loved this book! The book switched between the point of view of the two main characters Maggie and Caleb, which I thought really added to the book as we were able to see Maggie's POV of a situation and then we got Caleb POV of the same situation. It was really interesting to see how differently they saw the same situation, particularly where Maggie felt that Caleb was fitting straight back into his old life both at school and with his friends, but from Caleb POV we saw that he felt he didn't fit in there anymore and no one understood him and what he was going through.

I really felt for Maggie, before the accident she had good friends and loved playing tennis, after she seems to have lost all of her friends, cannot play tennis anymore and is now an outcast at school because of the accident and her limp. My opinion of Caleb changed throughout the book, at the start I wasn't very enamored with him but as the book progressed and he had to deal with his family, friends and the consequences of his actions I did a complete 180 turn and I was cheering for Maggie and Caleb to make it together. Caleb understood that the accident changed him, and I think for the better.

I don't want to give too much away but it is evident early in the book that all is not what it seems, there was more to the accident, but that's all I'll say.

The ending of the book was different, it wasn't all tied up with a nice little bow on top there wasn't real closure for Maggie and Caleb as a couple, so depending on if you like closure or not you may not like the ending. That said Maggie was finally able to accept what happened to her especially with what she discovered she felt she could get on with the rest of her life now without having all this anger. Personally, I liked the ending, especially now that there is a sequel coming out this year, I can't wait to find out what happens to Maggie and Caleb next.

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Romy @
Greetings fellow blog readers, welcome to my blog and thank you for stopping by. Now you may be wondering who is Well is also known as Romy, a 23 year old graduate student from Australia who loves to read. I read (maybe devour would be a more appropriate word) largely young adult novels, with a particular love of fantasy and paranormal novels, however I am also a sucker for a good romance.
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