Reading Level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 303 pages
Publisher: Flux, 4/1/07
Caleb Becker is being released from Juvenile Detention Center. Maggie Armstrong is trying to build her life back again after an horrendous car accident left her in the hospital for nearly a year and the person who hit her in jail for a year.
These two people should not want to be anywhere near each other, but feelings and what has happened a year ago, is bringing these two together. Plus with the help of a nosey older neighbor, how can these two not be destined together.
I inhaled this book. I loved Simone Elkeles' Perfect Chemistry, and was so excited that I got to meet her at BEA and she was amazing. Luckily, I was the last one in her line, so I was able to talk to her for more than a second. Simone does not hold back in her writing and I love that. Her language is gritty. Caleb is hardened due to his stay at Juvie and it's affected him and his family. People look at him differently and only see a criminal who was charged in a cruel hit and run accident. What is ironic about this book is that both of these characters live in a fictional town called Paradise, IL. It is anything but. Caleb's girlfriend has been cheating on him, his sister has become the town Goth girl to the extreme. His friends seem to make fun of Maggie because she now walks with a limp. A limp that was caused by Caleb's extreme drinking one night.
This story is fraught with lies, hope, love and vindication. As Maggie and Caleb work together, they form a relationship that could be considered Stockholm Syndrome. Caleb is the person who injured Maggie, yet, from even afar, she's always had a crush on him. Long before she was hit. She thinks she hates him, but she can't.
Until Maggie can remember what happened that fateful night, she may never allow Caleb to have much of her heart.
Return To Paradise, Simone Elkeles
Reading Level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 312 pages
Publisher: Flux, 9/1/10
At the end of Leaving Paradise, Caleb has given up on his relationship with Maggie and left Paradise forever. He couldn't stay in a town where everyone stared at him and knew him as the town thug. Maggie's heart has been broken and now she has turned her grief to trying to get to Spain.
Caleb starts out in handcuffs, in the back of a police car. When his Juvie officer is contacted, he gives him the option of joining him on a re-START program where they will talk about why they are where they because of auto accidents. In order for Caleb to stay out of jail, he NEEDS to do this. From here on in, we get coincidence after another. Maggie is enrolled in this program. Maggie wants nothing to do with Caleb. Caleb isn't sure what he wants with Maggie. I got tired of the back and forth with these two.
I really enjoyed the first book and was really looking forward to the sequel, but it came across as a bit rushed. Even though she had three years to write it. The plot didn't seem very well thought out and everything seemed to fall into place too easily. I still love Simone's books and I really do look forward to reading Rules of Attraction. This one didn't do it for me. But I'm still a big a fan.