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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Leaving Paradise
Leaving Paradise is the first book in the Leaving Paradise series by Simone Elkeles.

Maggie has just started back at school after the accident. Not only does she have schoolwork to deal with but she has everyone staring at her because of her limp. She can't think her life could get any worse, but then Caleb is released from juvenile detention is back at school...
Published on 13 Sept. 2010 by Amazon Customer

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Leaving Paradise by Simone Elkeles
I have to say, after reading Perfect Chemistry and hearing that Leaving Paradise is a better book (from some people at least) I was excited to start reading. However, I was left disappointed.
Maybe I had set my standards too high, or maybe this book is just not for me.The overall plot was, like in Perfect Chemistry, rather cliché, but I can live with that...
Published on 24 Feb. 2011 by Amber


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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Leaving Paradise, 13 Sept. 2010
By 
Amazon Customer "Naomi" (Scotland, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Leaving Paradise (Paperback)
Leaving Paradise is the first book in the Leaving Paradise series by Simone Elkeles.

Maggie has just started back at school after the accident. Not only does she have schoolwork to deal with but she has everyone staring at her because of her limp. She can't think her life could get any worse, but then Caleb is released from juvenile detention is back at school. Maggie is furious that the boy that left her for dead is being allowed back to the same school. So she does everything to stay out of his way. But their paths cross when Maggie gets a job with Mrs. Reynolds. Caleb turns is working at Mrs. Reynolds house as part of his community service which Maggie is not happy about but unwillingly lets him stay. They slowly get past the accident and start to grow closer together and form a relationship.

I think this book was so lovely. There were moments when I wanted to cry alongside Maggie and wanted to scream at Caleb but at the same time I was sad because their life-long friendship had been ruined by one horrible night gone wrong. I felt a bit sorry for Caleb too as he wasn't exactly welcomed home with open arms once he was released but at the same time I thought he deserved not to be able to waltz back into everyone's life as if nothing was wrong.

There are hints throughout the story that the accident isn't exactly as it seems. Life is not as that straight forward and some people are keeping their secrets hidden.

My favourite part of this book was the fight at Mrs. Reynolds house as this was the turning point for the whole story. This is where we see Maggie and Caleb starting to put the past behind them and work towards a better future for both of them. At the end of the book I was so sad because when it all seemed to be working out for them both; one of them has to leave Paradise as they can no longer see a future there for themselves.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this book and can't wait to read the sequel, Return to Paradise. Hopefully everything is sorted out in the next book and we see a bit more of a happy ending.

Disclaimer: I own this book and I have not been paid to review this book. Everything I have said is of my own honest opinion.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Leaving Paradise by Simone Elkeles, 24 Feb. 2011
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This review is from: Leaving Paradise (Paperback)
I have to say, after reading Perfect Chemistry and hearing that Leaving Paradise is a better book (from some people at least) I was excited to start reading. However, I was left disappointed.
Maybe I had set my standards too high, or maybe this book is just not for me.The overall plot was, like in Perfect Chemistry, rather cliché, but I can live with that. There's nothing wrong with clichés! However, if you nitpick (as I do) then I think you'll find a few things that you dislike about this book. I won't go into too much detail in case of spoilers, but the ending was a major throwback for me. As was the fact that this book seemed to go in circles.
I did not like the ending. Perhaps that's because I know that there is a sequel, but I think this book could have benefited from being a standalone novel, and leaving the ending as it is. I just felt that the last couple of chapters seemed pretty pointless, and had too much lined up for the sequel, rather than focussing on the current story.
As with Perfect Chemistry, the story is told from the alternating points of view of Caleb - an `ex-con' - and Maggie, the girl that Caleb ran over in his car. As characters go, I felt that these two were fairly average in their personalities.
Although the two had amazing back-stories, and there was so much to tell about their lives, I felt that their personalities fell a little flat.
I found that Caleb was annoying and, at times, incredibly selfish. This trait didn't seem to be developed or go away during the novel, and that's one of the main things that put me off this character.
To be completely honest, the writing style is one of the few things that drew me into this book and kept me reading. If Simone Elkeles didn't have such an amazing skill of keeping me interested, I don't think I would have made it to the end of the book.
Overall, I rate Leaving Paradise a mediocre 3 out of 5 stars. It was horrific, but it wasn't brilliant. I'd recommend giving it a go, because I know lots of other people have loved it!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Leaving Pardise is awesome, 4 Dec. 2010
This review is from: Leaving Paradise (Paperback)
Leaving Paradise is an awesome book and I would recommend that it's for an audience 12 and over.
Simone Elkeles really portrays the feelings of the two main characters as well as the minor characters. She uses a vast vocabulary to describe this and also the other feelings of Caleb and Maggie. For instance, when Caleb comes out of jail and goes home to his family Simone Elkeles really describes the way Caleb thinks that his family isn't acting the way that they should be. Then with Maggie she has to blend in again at school with not much self confidence in what she wears and she thinks that's important.
The plot of the book is very appealing, especially to the teenage market. I wonder in her next book whether she will continue with the same story and characters or start afresh. I hope Simone Elkeles will be able to keep writing the same standard of writing!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars COMPELLING STORYTELLING, 26 Sept. 2012
By 
Reader (The south) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Leaving Paradise (Paperback)
A year ago Maggie Armstrong was run down by a drunken Caleb Becker. During the past year Maggie has had more than one operation on her leg. She was for a time in a wheelchair. She still receives twice weekly physio workouts at the hospital.

In all that time she has been away from school. But now she is due to return. Apart from the accident which has left her with a permanent limp and pain, her Father has left, divorcing her mother, who now works as a waitress. Her Father has remarried and has shown little interest in Maggie or her recovery. Her friends have drifted away as well.

Caleb has spent the last year locked up, but now he is returning home, and hopefully will pick up the threads of his life. Life in prison has changed him. Being told when to eat bathe, when to sleep and get up. Leaves its effect. He is hoping to return to school. And graduate. Also to reconnect with his family.

But for both Maggie and Caleb things are not going to go easy on them. Now Maggie is looked upon as a freak, while Caleb is just a convict. Their isolation from their former friends and to some extent family members draws them together.

This is a hard hitting gritty YA adult romance that is by no means hearts and flowers. The characters are brilliantly drawn and the reader feels their every emotion. There are many secrets surrounding the accident which caused Maggie's injuries. Which make this a riveting read. The other characters in the story are not there just to pad it out either, they have real purpose and are essential. In particular Calebs twin sister Leah. The author's writing is flowing and well balanced. I liked that alternate chapters were from Caleb or Maggie's POV, that really worked well.

This is part one of Calebs and Maggies story I am definitely going to read the next edition.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Review by Patricia's Particularity, 2 Aug. 2011
By 
Patricia Leppla (Tucosn, AZ) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Leaving Paradise (Paperback)
Let me just first say how wonderfully surprised I am about this book! To be honest I didn't think I would really like it and I ended up LOVING it! I have found another author to add to my favorites. Where to begin... where to begin...

Maggie Armstrong has been through surgery after surgery, physical therapy, physical pain, and emotional pain all in the last year - All because of Caleb Becker. Caleb Becker has been in Jail for the past year for putting Maggie in the hospital after hitting her with his car and then driving away. Maggie can no long play Tennis, she is no long part of the popular crowd and walks with a limp. Caleb is finally out of Jail and is back at home and school. Maggie's one wish is get away from Paradise, and leave behind everything. Caleb hopes he can make everything go back to normal he soon finds that he can not. However, both Maggie and Caleb find that making their wishes come true may be harder than they thought. Maggie and Caleb find themselves being forced to work together. Unbeknownst to Maggie, Caleb also has a secret that he refuses to share but that could change everything for both of them...

Raw, emotional and real, I read this book in a day. I was riveted so much I couldn't put the book down! I felt for both Maggie and Caleb. From the very beginning I kept hoping the two would find peace between themselves. I love how Simone Elkeses was not afraid to use a real life situation of teenagers being sent to jail as part of the plot. Such a social issue is very hard to portray in a such a believable way - instead of Elkeles describing what Caleb went through in Jail she describes what he happened afterwards - I think this is something most people do not think about: how that person and the people around them are all affected in many different ways. You are given such a grim picture of how Caleb's family has been affected by his time in Jail: his mother is a pill popper, his twin sister has turned Goth, and his father is absent; basically his whole family just wants to avoid the whole situation and forget by acting as if nothing happened.

I also really loved how the story was told by both point of views, both Maggie and Caleb. This way you can not be biased or favor either character. I can not wait for the sequel and I really hope Simone Elkeles continues this series for as long as possible! A+++++
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Meh, 6 Aug. 2013
This review is from: Leaving Paradise (Paperback)
I just feel completely MEH after reading this book.

After reading The Perfect Chemistry trilogy by Simone (which I loved) I had high expectations for Leaving Paradise, maybe it's my own fault that I am so disappointed.

This book felt rushed and didn't really effect me in any way. I liked the characters but I wasn't given enough to fall in love with them. Caleb Becker has spent a year in jail after hitting Maggie Armstrong with a car. She has been left with a limp and he is seriously jaded from his experience of Juvie. They meet again and become friends and even develop feelings for each other. This should be interesting but it just wasn't.

My favourite character in the book was Mrs Reynolds she was a feisty old woman with a love for good food. If not for her I'm not even sure I would've finished this book.

The ending was so disappointing to me, I felt annoyed at how abruptly the book ended. I just found out there is a sequel and I will definitely be picking it up, I just NEED to know if things get better and I want to give Simone another chance as I really did love Perfect Chemistry.

I don't have much else to say really expect it was a very quick read and left no impact on me whatsoever. I generously gave it 3 out of 5 stars!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a Love Story!, 12 Aug. 2011
This review is from: Leaving Paradise (Kindle Edition)
I'd read Simone's Perfect Chemistry series (can't wait for Chain Reaction in 2 weeks!), and was in the mood for something of hers. When I saw Leaving Paradise was on The Big Sale at the Kindle Store, I jumped! I knew I'd love it and I did! She does such a good job with teenage angst and love. She makes me want to go back to high school (and I DO NOT want to go back to high school). I felt like I could identify with the characters, even though we have nothing in common. I really felt like I was going through what they were. I love Simone's style of writing in two points of view. One chapter Maggie. One chapter Caleb. Works great! I felt like I could really know how both of them were feeling, instead of everything being one sided.

Great book! I read it during the baby's nap and picked up the sequel Return to Paradise during his 2nd nap! Quick, easy read. I love both the characters and I did not see the ending coming! I thought I might have some kind of clue, but no. Not this. Loved the love story!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed..., 23 Aug. 2012
This review is from: Leaving Paradise (Kindle Edition)
Firstly can i say that I am a huge Simone Elkeles i loved her other books and after reading that Leaving Paradise is actually better than Perfected Chemistry i was so excited...which was short-lived. I feel like I must be missing something as mostly everyone is loves this book, i couldn't get into it and I have no idea why. The characters were pretty average for me I found the whole thing pretty boring and felt like there wasn't much depth. Especially paying £6.08 for this ebook I don't think it was worth it. I know there's a sequel but I doubt I will read that after this one. Maybe my expectations were too high but im quite disappointed with the book on a whole.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Lovely story with a few flaws, 15 Jun. 2010
This review is from: Leaving Paradise (Paperback)
I wanted so much to like Leaving Paradise as much as I fell in love with Perfect Chemistry, but the story of Caleb Becker and Maggie Armstrong fell short. Nevertheless, it was another great example of an enjoyable storytelling and piece of writing for younger readers written by Simone Elkeles.

The novel is set in the small town of Paradise, which it's residents find anything but. Set a year after the life propelling events that changed the lives of Maggie and Caleb, the story begins with their struggle to pull their lives together and in the process find out about themselves, a perfect bildungsroman novel. You see, Caleb Becker has just been released from prison having run over and `maimed' a girl for drunk driving. That girl just so happens to be his neighbour and twin sister's best friend Maggie Armstrong. Caleb and Maggie having dealt with the disastrous accident in different ways: Caleb in prison and Maggie's constant ins and outs of hospital, leaves them both scarred for life.

Although the premise of the romance in the story is obvious and foretold by the blurb, one thing that perturbed me was how easily they fell for each other. Their history played a major role in them understanding one another, but after everything that they've been through it shouldn't have been so quick. There was no gradual falling in love, and that really disappointed me because I wanted so much to fall in love with Caleb the same time as Maggie only I couldn't, it happened too quickly.

Maggie and Caleb are thrown into the deep end, finding comfort and solace from the rest of the Paradise residents in each other. Escaping their own personal prisons by revealing them to the people they least expected would understand. It's a beautiful novel and even though at times I downright couldn't stand Caleb--it made me angry that he didn't show much remorse or guilt, and his anger was crazy--it all began to make sense by the end of Leaving Paradise. It had me laughing and tearing up as I anxiously made my way through the novel and it's definitely something I would recommend for those that loved Perfect Chemistry, although it is rightfully its own separate entity.

I'm really looking forward to the next novel, having left off the way it did makes me eager to know what happens with Caleb and Maggie.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Paradise left me breathless......., 23 May 2010
This review is from: Leaving Paradise (Paperback)
What do you do, when there's a hell within Paradise? At least, that's what it seems to Maggie. After a year of painful physical therapy, she still suffers from a limp. What do you do, when Paradise shatters your image of heaven? After nine months of Juvenile Jail, Caleb should feel free and start his life again, but how is that possible, when his family are strangers and the reason for his nightmare is his neighbour? Maggie.

After being hit by Caleb, Maggie loses the hope of love from her father, she becomes the new 'town freak' and loses the scholarship which should have taken her away from Paradise. Caleb is harassed by his friends and family, has a nagging transition coach and doesn't know what to do with the mess which is him. What he does know, is that being forgiven by Maggie means a lot, thus he joins her in Mrs. Reynold's house where she works and they have a rocky start.

But soon love blossoms as life in Paradise becomes unbearable and they become depended on each other. Secrets unveil themselves and Caleb can't take it any more...
What do you, when the reason for your nightmares, makes your life perfect? Do you stay and fight for paradise...or do you leave your new Paradise?

I read Perfect chemistry by Elkeles and am completely in love with that book...and it's the same for Leaving Paradise. The characters were realistic and love story grows on you slowly...it was wonderful and breath-taking (especially at the end)!

I would recommend Elkeles's to anyone who likes excellent writing and amazingly crafted stories. She creates creativity between clichés!!! Though I'm warning you...that Paradise doesn't have a happy ending...
Cannot wait for Return to Paradise (2nd book!!!!!!)
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Leaving Paradise
Leaving Paradise by Simone Elkeles (Paperback - 31 Jan. 2008)
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