Elekeles, Simon. Leaving Paradise
Published April 8th 2007 by flux
written by: Simone Elkeles
Reviewed By: Maryye Bowen
Recommended Audience: Middle School – High School
This novel Leaving Paradise is about two teens struggling and trying to recover from one persons mistake. In this novel, Caleb Becker starts off in juvenile detention. Maggie Armstrong is suffering with physical and emotional damage in hospitals and physical therapy. “What happens when the person who damaged you for life becomes the person you trust the most?” is the main quote for this book and the more you know about the book, the more it will make sense. Plenty of people make mistakes in the world all the time. Big ones and little ones. You will see what happens when someone jumps out in front of a loved one to project them and cover up a mistake that not only emotionally ruined the families of the two teens, but emotionally and physically damaged teens.
Caleb Becker is in juvenile detention for the past year for driving home drunk from a high school party. Unknowingly hitting Maddie Armstrong with the car. He finishes his time, and they say he can go home, but must have probation. He struggles with almost getting held back a grade from missing so much school but gets offered taking all the subject finals, and if he passes them all, he can go into senior year. He comes back as the “guy who went to jail”. Everyone by now knows what happened. He hopes to apologize to maggie and ask for her forgiveness. His social life wasn’t damaged too bad. but Maggie’s on the other hand, has changed forever.
Maggie Armstrong is a young girl who is in physical therapy for her damaged legs from being hit by a car outside of a late party one night. Her social life has been changed forever. Her friends all stopped talking to her, her mom is a single parent trying to make her daughter happy and take care of her. She struggles with handling the return of Caleb Becker to the small town of Paradise. She struggles with her limp and constantly being judged. She can’t play tennis anymore or go out of country for collage because of her limp. Soon her and Caleb meet once again eye to eye.
Maggie Armstrong and Caleb Becker start to become closer throughout the novel. They have to work together for a little old lady. Maggie needs money for school, Caleb has to do community service to get off of probation. Them being forced to work together brings them together. They start to listen to each other and work together, and soon enough they start to like each other. they’re worried about how their families will react to them working together. They soon give up on caring about what others think and fall for each other. But Caleb has another plan, to leave the small town of Paradise and get away. Maggie stay because of the unfinished business she has with everyone and her old best friend, also Caleb’s twin sister Leah. After they part, Leah then tells Maggie she was the one who hit her with the car that night, swerving out of the way for a squirrel, not seeing Maggie. Caleb took the blame to cover for his twin sister. No one ever knew. At the end of the novel, Caleb has left Paradise and Maggie behind. And Maggie and Leah soon reunite their friendship.
Description of Book: http://chickloveslit.com/2010/09/review-leaving-paradise-by-simone-elkeles-2.html
About the Author: http://simoneelkeles.com/about/
Interview with the Author: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ph5K4sxw49M