Leaving Paradise - Simone Elkeles

Wednesday, February 25, 2009
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.

I thought this book was really raw and gripping. I felt horrible for both Maggie and Caleb, and I also felt angry at the other for being so stubborn. I adore Simone Elkeles and how she's always able to pull out such emotion in me and makes me both LOVE and LOATHE certain characters.

This love story is wonderful, I love pairing the most unconventional characters and seeing how they might fall in love or be friends. I don't think there could be a more unconventional couple than this. Would you really fall in love with a person who was ruining your life? This novel is very thought provoking and well done!