Elkeles, Simone. Leaving Paradise. Woodbury, MN: Flux, 2007. Print.
Written by: Simone Elkeles
Reviwed by: Jessica Jimenez
Recomended Audience: High School Students
Leaving Paraise by Simone Elkeles is based on two high school teens. Caleb Beaker, who spent most of his junior year in juvenile detention. Maggie Armstrong, her junior year in hopitals and physical theraphy. The book starts with Caleb being relased early from his jail sentance. The reason why Caleb was sent to jail was because he had been in a hit and run car accident. He had been drunk and ran a girl over. That girl was Maggie Armstrong. Maggie was nearly killed and has suffered at lot of surgeries. She is filled with anger and is very tramatized and cannot seem to forgive Caleb. While both teens have been away from school alot has changed. Maggies friends are now fake and care alot about how they look. They are forced to invite Maggie to a back to school party. At the party is were Maggie hears about the news that Caleb is back. She cannot belive this and escapes from the party to a park. The last person she excepected to see there is Cabel Becker himself. He is at the park because his mom threw him a welcome back home party. But he could not support it any more so he escaped as well. He hates how every one treats him as a criminal. When they both met in the park Maggie was so shocked that she loses her balnace n Cable trys tobhelp her. She pushes him away and runs home. She relaizes that she is not going to be able to avoid Caleb like she wanted to. Her plan was to leave for Spain when Caleb was to come to come back from jail. But now her plan is runied because hes back and she will have to see him at school as well.
When they both return back to school they are both treated very diffrently. Maggie is an outcast that everyone is sorry for. Caleb ia an Ex-con that everyone wants to get a glimpse of. But Caleb hates all the attention. And on top of that his patrol officer is always on him. He has to complete community service hours with and old lady named Mrs.Reyloids. He also finds out that his ex girlfrirnd Kendra was cheating on him with his bestfriend. He wants anything but more issuses. While Caleb is dealing with his problems Maggie has her own. She recives a letter from the school in Spain that her scholarship has become void since she no longer played tennis, and thats the only way she could get the scholarship. Her moms bosses mother, Mrs. Reyloids offers Maggie a job that will pay all the expensis for the schoool in Spain. Maggie gladly accpeted the job not knowing that Caleb was working for her too.
Maggie confesses to the readers about the love she used to feel for Caleb. She met him when she was younger. Caleb is Maggies ex bestfriend twin brother. So Maggie used to go over to her friends house and play with her and Caleb. She develpoed a crush on him and then that developed into love, but Caleb never loved her back. When Cable ands Maggie are forced to work together at Mrs. Reyloids they slowly being to push the past behind them and start over again. When they face family issuses they find themseleves going to each other to find comfort. Caleb slowly starts to develp feelings for Maggie. Feelings hes never felt for anymore before. Maggie trusts him but not enough to show him her scars from the accident. He does everything he can to gain her heart. But Maggie still does not trust him and denys him his only wish:to see the scars on her legs from the accident. Caleb is heartbroken by this and desides to leave town forever. But just as Caleb is preparing to leave town Maggie discovers a secret from the accident that was kept hidden. If only she had known this earlier her life and Cabels would be totally diffrent and for the better. But now its too late, hes leaving. You’ll never guess the secret. Read the book to find out!
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