Friday, June 15, 2012

Leaving Paradise by Simone Elkeles

Leaving Paradise (Leaving Paradise, #1)

Leaving Paradise by Simone Elkeles

First in the Leaving Paradise Series

5 stars

Leaving Paradise introduces us to Caleb Becker and Maggie Armstrong. Maggie hasn’t been the same since she was hit by Caleb Becker after he left a party drunk. She’s lost her ability to play tennis, a sport she once loved, and find the motivation to make friends because of the constant stares and whispers. Caleb is out of juvie and back in Paradise, he’s ready to go back to his old life and forget about the night that changed his life. When Maggie and Caleb are joined in an unexpected way. They realize a lot about themselves, each other, and a relationship blossoms. I picked up Leaving Paradise because it was written by Simone Elkeles. I had just finished Perfect Chemistry and was looking for Chain Reaction. Of course, they didn’t have it, but they had Leaving Paradise and Return to Paradise. I decided to give it a shot and the books were really thin. I was surprised that I liked this book, but not as much as Perfect Chemistry. I think Ms. Elkeles has a way of writing books that just suck me and keep me locked in till the end. The characters were real, raw, and touching (something I appreciate in YA fiction).

The main female character is Maggie. Maggie has to struggle with recovering from not being able to walk, but also constant stares and unwanted sympathy. She was real. She had real goals, real fears, and real problems. I connected with Maggie and was rooting for her to get a happy ending that she deserved.

Kick-Butt Heroine Scale: 8.5

The main male character is Caleb. Caleb comes off as a douche, but he’s a good guy and I liked him. I felt sorry for him, because he was much a victim as Maggie was. But I hated him at the ending, but that’s what I was supposed to feel. So job well done Ms. Elkeles for creating characters that make me emotional.

Swoon Worthy Scale: 6.5

The Villain- I’m not sure who the villain is, since there were multiple obstacles in the novel.
Villain Scale: Confused
Mrs. Reynolds was so cool.
Character Scale: 9

Overall, this book made me very emotional and proved to me that Simone Elkeles is an amazing writer.

Cover Thoughts: I like the cover. Since I read the book, it has a strong symbolic message in it and I think it’s pretty.  

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