Title: Leaving Paradise (Leaving Paradise #1)
Author: Simone Elkeles
Genre: Young Adult: Contemporary Romance
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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.
Two lives that blended so well. Two lives that were connected by friendship and love. Two lives that were torn apart by an accident so tragic that one life was nearly ended and the other was locked up.
I finished this book three days ago and I'm still buzzing around thinking about it. I can't get over how good this book is. It's not only because of the romance but because it's about re-lifting your spirits after a terrible accident that ruined both Caleb and Maggie's life.
Elkeles books always seem to be about damaged characters that find their way back into life searching for happiness and a companion to go through life with. In this teen-book, she has done it again. She has created Maggie, the victim, who was left paralyzed and broken after the accident that the suspect, Caleb caused while drunk. Maggie spent an entire year recovering in and out of physical therapy and the hospitals while Caleb spent that year in a juvenile detention center with juveniles who have murdered and dealt drugs.
When that year ended, Caleb goes back home and reunites with his victim. He knows he has to stay away from her but for some reason he just can't. Throughout the book, the readers witness how Maggie and Caleb adjusts to a life with bullies in school and parents who seem dead and mentally unstable. The readers get to witness how Maggie and Caleb's lives get tangled up with each other once again and they confide in each other when things go bad in school and at home.
Simone Elkeles writes in such away that you can't help but connect with each protagonist in the book. That connection is the one thing that keeps the reader reading. And it is all it takes for a reader like me, to give this unputdownable book 5 stars!
I am thrilled that there is a sequel, otherwise I would have been really throwing a tantrum around twitter. Time to get the second book.