Apr 1, 2013

Return to Paradise (Leaving Paradise #2) by Simone Elkeles review

Caleb Becker left Paradise eight months ago, taking with him the secret he promised to take to his grave. If the truth got out, it would ruin everything.

Maggie Armstrong tried to be strong after Caleb broke her heart and disappeared. Somehow, she managed to move on. She's determined to make a new life for herself.

But then Caleb and Maggie are forced together on a summer trip. They try ignoring their passion for each other, but buried feelings resurface. Caleb must face the truth about the night of Maggie's accident, or the secret that destroyed their relationship will forever stand between them.

From Goodreads 

Leaving was the hardest thing Caleb could ever imagine doing, but it was also the best thing he could do for those he left behind...or so he thought. Caught in another legal misunderstanding, Caleb finds himself on reStart, a summer tour of teens whose lives were adversely affected by drinking and driving. What he didn't expect was the girl he was convicted of hitting was also on the tour.

At first Maggie can't believe he's actually there and okay. When Caleb left Paradise months earlier, she was crushed. Despite already knowing the secret that Caleb believes he harbors alone, she couldn't help but fall in love with him. But she's moved on now. Things are different. Or, at least that's what she keeps telling herself.

Could just a few short weeks repair the damage Caleb caused by running and it is enough time to finally let the truth out before it destroys them all?

Simone Elkeles is masterful! She spins romantic stories that you can't help but love! Caleb and Maggie are two people who have absolutely no reason to love one another. Despite having grown up next door to one another and being very close as children, the drunk driving accident that nearly cost Maggie her life changed every minute detail of their once simple lives.

As the second book unfolds, we find ourselves enmeshed with other teen victims of drunk driving. Through their relationships with Caleb & Maggie, the two main characters further develop and repair their relationship. I believe that these teens serve as a substitute for Mrs. Reynolds, under who's watchful eye the teens first uncovered their mutual attraction.

The scenery and players may have changed, but Simone's ability to convey inner turmoil and important character flaws really makes all the difference. At times I found myself becoming emotionally overwhelmed by what the characters were experiencing. Throughout their personal discoveries, the story progresses until the climax where the "secret" is finally resolved. 

The ending is mostly tidy. She doesn't give you all the details, but just enough to give you a sound resolution to most of the plot lines. I honestly don't think I'd change a single thing about this book. If you're looking for a fairly quick read, be sure to pick up Leaving Paradise and then dive right into this one!

No comments: