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.
I had such high expectations for this one after reading the amazing that is Perfect Chemistry. I was disappointed when it didn’t hook me as much as I had thought. While it was a great story, issues such as relationship development and missing moments kept screaming at me. It made it hard to enjoy.
I love the fact that Simone Elkeles switches point of views. She does such a great job at it. We get glimpses into both main character’s heads. However, I didn’t really see the character development in Leaving Paradise that I did in Perfect Chemistry. Maggie started off afraid of Caleb. Caleb started off wanting nothing to do with Maggie. They do have some progressing scenes, but in the long run, it just kind of felt as if they woke up one morning and decided to like each other.
It also seemed like the book had a lot of missing moments. Something big would happen; something that could’ve been hit or miss for the story. And when it’s left as a cliffhanger, it’s actually better because it makes me want to turn the page to see what’s going on. A lot of times throughout the book, there would be no after. The scene would be done and you’d only hear tidbits of what actually happened through vague character thoughts.
But aside from that, in my opinion, Simone Elkeles told another great story. Maggie and Caleb seem an unlikely pair, but it only makes their relationship much more beautiful. With strong emotions, gasp-worthy turns and an ending that will leave you stunned, speechless and desperate for the sequel- which is being released sometime this year- Leaving Paradise is a great book for a rainy day!