Leaving Paradise (Leaving Paradise #1)


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.

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book review50

Ouch tough situation. Dude runs over chick. Dude ends up in jail. Chick f*cks up her leg. Lots of scars on both sides of the story.

I started this book because I miss high school. Yes, call me crazy but I miss those days. Dark baggy clothes, sitting during class with my desk-mate, scribbling all sorts of hate messages in our secret, but not so secret, agenda. Doing homework, yuk, but sometimes I do miss it... Listening to early 2000s rock music on my shitty mp3 player while riding the bus to school... Aaah I’m going too far with this but I do miss those days…

I wasn’t sure I’d like this book though. I chose it because I really liked Perfect Chemistry  and I was hoping to get something as good as this. It’s a really nice and emotional story but not what I was looking for.

I’ll be mean, or maybe just harsh, but I didn’t find it as good as Perfect Chemistry. Yes, the story is interesting but… meh... I really felt bad for Maggie living the rest of her life with such an injury. It’s not something easy, and it takes a lot of strength to make it through. She’s definitely my favorite character in the book.

The keyword for the Leaving Paradise is the accident. So everything is about how things were before the accident (BTA) and after the accident (ATA). You would think that Maggie is the only one who’s suffering ATA but you’re wrong. People usually focus on the victim but fail to see the huge things that happen on the other side also. Caleb’s life is a mess ATA. His family is f*cked up, he’s forced to go back a year in school, all his friends act awkward in front of him and his “girlfriend” acts like nothing intimate has ever happened between them. Ok this is bad also but you can’t compare what happened to Caleb to what happened to Maggie. Caleb will suck it up eventually and figure a way to get out of it. Poor Maggie will have to live with a limp for the rest of her life or fight very hard for a miracle recovery. It’s not fair for Caleb to act all "my drama is bigger than yours". He actually had it coming when he got drunk behind the wheel.

I was bothered by the whole jock and cheerleader gig. Kendra is the typical evil b*tch you meet in high school. Her story is the same. She wants the hot football/wrestling/whatever dude. She gets him no matter the cost. Blah blah blah. I was lucky enough to go to one where kids were actually normal. Sure you had the typical b*tch around but not the American-style one. Just plain old I’m-sexy-and-I-can-get-any-guy-I-want type.

Leah disappointed me. When the author was describing her I thought she’d end up to be one of those goth chicks who are damn cool and don’t give a sh*t about anything. I always fall for goth characters *sighs*. But nah! She is such an ungrateful child. She caused so much trouble and in the end numbs herself out and stops giving a sh*t about anything that goes on around her. Seeing her brother and parents suffer while she knows it’s because of her and yet telling Caleb that he’s ruining the family was one of the worst moments in the book for me. I got so angry my face went red. This girl needs to be punched in the face so that her brain can reboot.

Aaaand that’s about it with my personal opinion about the book and characters. What shocked me is that it didn’t end. As you know I almost never read the summary before reading the book. I do it before adding it to my to-read list and by the time I end up reading it I forget what it’s about. Soooooo I was expecting it to end and have different characters in the next one buuut…. It didn’t… so uhmmm… guess book two will continue Maggie and Caleb’s story. I’m really curious now to see how things will end.

Yes, this means I’m gonna read book two next. Good strategy Mrs. Elkeles, good strategy…

 

Top 5 quotes

#5 Every week in the DOC we had rage-intervention classes. They stressed avoiding confrontation, teaching us instead to release anger in other, non-violent ways. Since punching Drew in his mouth that runs like diarrhea isn't an option, I head to the school workout room.

#4 "Mrs. Reynolds?"
"Yes, Margaret."
"I'm afraid of spiders."
"Why?"
"Because they have eight creepy legs, they bite, and they have sticky string that comes out of their butts to capture bugs before they suck their blood."

#3 "Are you following me?" she asks, but doesn't meet my gaze.
"Yeah," I say.
"Why?"
"Honestly?"
She looks at me, her eyebrows raised. I give her the only honest and true answer I have. "You're where I want to be."

#2 I look up at the old oak. In a few months those talking leaves will fall to the ground and die, only to be replaced by new leaves and new gossip.
Right now I feel like an old leaf. I went away, and deep inside a part of me has died.

#1 I study her face. She has high cheekbones and a straight nose. It's not small; it has a little bump in the middle, almost as if God wanted to put it there so her nose wouldn't be perfect. She wouldn't be Maggie without that imperfection. She's not in-your-face pretty like Kendra, but there's something about her ... that mix of insecurity and regal features that don't fit. Every one of her features reflects who she is. Except her scars.
Those I wish I could take away with a touch of my fingers and transfer them to my own body.

 
Final Score: ***

 

Leaving Paradise by Simone Elkeles
Young Adult, Romance 
April 1st 2007
Series list

Leaving Paradise (#1)

Return to Paradise (#2)

 

 

Leaving Paradise

Return to Paradise (Leaving Paradise, #2)

     

Author’s Website

Buy it at Amazon


Currently Reading Next Stop
Return to Paradise (Leaving Paradise, #2) The Return of the King (The Lord of the Rings, #3)Nightshade (Nightshade, #1)Slave to Sensation (Psy-Changeling, #1)Dead Reckoning (Sookie Stackhouse, #11)

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