Nov 9, 2009

Leaving Paradise by Simone Elkeles

Leaving Paradise CoverAccidents happen all the time. The consequences of those accidents vary based on the severity of the accident. In this case, many relationships were destroyed and someone almost died when Caleb got behind the wheel drunk and hit his twin sister's best friend Maggie.

After a year of painful physical therapy and home schooling, Maggie is heading back to high school. Unable to play varsity tennis, or anything anymore, she isn't sure where she fits in with the other students. The one thing she is sure about is that Caleb is in jail for what he did to her.

Unfortunately even school isn't safe because after serving a year in juvenile detention and being on his best behavior, Caleb has been released and is also returning to school. All he has to do is complete 150 hours of community service and he will be home free.

Apparently though, fate has decided that these two need a second chance. Both of them end of working for a no nonsense older lady named Mrs. Reynolds. Maggie is to be her companion, helping her around the house; while Caleb is building a gazebo. The story is told from both points of view so that we gain a fuller understanding of just how easily appearances can deceive us. The biggest deception though has yet to be revealed.

Simone Elkeles has done a fantastic job conveying the reality of this kind of situation. The emotions are raw, powerful, and revealing. It read quickly, like her other novel Perfect Chemistry, and it had the same feel to it. There is an energy that you get form reading it and knowing that the ending isn't really the end. The characters are extremely likable and diverse. I really enjoyed the fact that the author made sure that the accident, that the whole story revolves around, didn't just affect the key players. Everyone was affected differently and there are varying degrees of that affect present in them. A terrific read if you like straight up fiction and a different take on high school drama.


elnice said...

Great review. I have not heard of this one before. I am adding it to my list.
Elie (Ellz Readz)

The Book Owl said...

Nice review. This sounds like a cool book.