Leaving Paradise by Simone ElkelesLeaving Paradise by Simone Elkeles

Leaving Paradise

bySimone Elkeles

Paperback | April 8, 2007

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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.
Simone Elkeles is the author of Leaving Paradise and four other Flux novels, including How to Ruin Your Summer Vacation and How to Ruin Your Boyfriend's Repuation. She is also the author of the New York Times bestselling Rules of Attraction (Walker). A popular speaker at libraries around the country, when the author is not writing she ...
Title:Leaving ParadiseFormat:PaperbackDimensions:312 pages, 8 × 5.19 × 0.68 inPublished:April 8, 2007Publisher:North Star EditionsLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0738710180

ISBN - 13:9780738710181

Appropriate for ages: 13 - 17

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Rated 4 out of 5 by from A Great Book! I like other books by this author so I - a little nervously - purchased this novel, unsure of what to expect. It's a surprisingly original plot with a few twists that you don't see coming. #plumreview
Date published: 2017-08-12
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Enjoyable I really enjoyed this book, great teen read.
Date published: 2017-04-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Leaving paradise WOW was not expecting that....really good read
Date published: 2014-10-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Awesome Wow that was amazing I did not think that is how the story line would go at all. I am looking forward to the next book in the series. I hope I do not cry in the next book.
Date published: 2014-08-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from seriously amazing Maggie's life was changed forever when she was hit by a drunk driver. Caleb is said drunk driver, and both of the teenagers have altered their loves after the impact. Now, a year later, Maggie is back in school and Caleb is out of Juvinale Detention and both of their lives are intertwined forever and when they find that things are a lot different compared to what they were before. And as both teenagers struggle to find themselves... they find comfort in each other. I'm in love with this book. It is so fantastically heartfelt and the emotions pour off of the page and into you. It's not overdone, either, or too intensly written or really really deep and thoughtful - it is deep, and it is thoughtful, but it isn't extreme in the way that Elkele's characters don't express every single emotion and thought. And i love that. The writing is definitely the best part of this book, hands down. It is so easy to read and easy to follow and so intriguing. The short chapters make it easy to stop and pick right back up where you ended. I had no trouble with reading this book. It's perfectlly paced and you get dragged into their world and you won't want to leave. It's heartbreaking and amazing and Elkele writes perfectlly - the emotions are there and strong and evident but their thoughts aren't always spoken and she leaves room for readers to interperate and use their own senses. Not everything is spoon-fed to us. Leaving Paradise isn't a super dark or deep novel, it's heartbreaking yet uplifting, not dark and really depressing but it is impacting. It's heartbreaking and heartwarming all at the same time. This is Elkele's best book, so far! I love how there is more than one full page - in Caleb's POV - about holding hands and the intimatcy of it. It is simple and elegent and powerful. The characters are great, too. Maggie is sweet but she knows what she wants and i do adore her. By the end, i really respected her. At first i didnt like Caleb but as the story progressed my love for him grew and by half of it, he had my heart. I love him. But, like all books, there are some things i'd like to change. For instance, Maggie and Caleb's relationship IS fantastic and it IS real and it IS super amazing BUT... but... i do want more. Not more emotion - it's more than covered - it is not empty AT ALL - just more... substance? For it to have more time to grow? I don't think i really know. But i do know that there could have been MORE. Just more. But although it lacks something, it is awesome and heartwrenching and amazing and you understand it, you get it, you see it and you feel it with Maggie and Caleb. It's thrilling. This is a YA book and it stays that way - sure there is some language and content and whatnot, but Elkeles doesnt turn it into an NA book, which is, to me, great. We need more YA books like this, desperately. The characters do grow and you see their journey right alongside them. Leaving Paradise is hardhitting and the ending is beautiful. Part of me wishes that there wasn't a sequel. Yeah, there are a ton of loose ends with Maggie and Caleb's home lives, but the ending, the ultimate fate of Maggie and Caleb is intensly awesome and moving and almost made me cry. Of course i will read the next book - this one, with the characters i love, a romance that is great but that i still feel like needs some growth, and with an ending like that with a second book? I have to. There's no other choice. It's written so i have to. That is the only reason i need. This book i find is extremely unique. The premise has been done before, yes, but some... secrets are shared that takes Leaving Paradise in a new direction. And i do want more. Another book, i mean. I really want to see them grow more. This book is a thrill ride. Emotions run all over the place and i was torn apart. I want to read this book again. I really want to buy it and experience it all over again. I have not stopped thinking about this book since i finished it. It will stay with you and effect you. It is beautiful and yeah, has some small flaws - i didn't meantion that Maggie, at first, could be a bit annoying and i was unsure about Caleb - AT FIRST - but overall, this book is extremely powerful and beautiful and the flaws just make all the good stuff even better. I love it.
Date published: 2014-01-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Goooooood Book! Looking forward to the next one
Date published: 2013-07-29
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Another awesome series from Simone Elkeles. As expected Simone Elkeles has pounded some emotion into another one of her novels. After reading Perfect Chemistry and being completey blown away I was prepared for the punch that this book was going to deliver, but it didn’t matter it still knocked the air right out of me. Taken into a completely messed up situation where one horrible night has forever changed the lived of two people and two families dramatically…and the catch is they live right beside each other. Their children have grown up together and are friends. So there is no real getting away from it. Oh the drama. With Maggie it’s all about loss and a complete change for the path that she had in her life. For Caleb it’s all about wanting things to go back to normal, but also for people to acknowledge what happened and move forward. Sadly the only person really wanting to deal with it is Caleb. I don’t really want to say more because there are probably some people who have not read it but this book is a keeper. I can’t wait to read the second one in the series. Good: Caleb: The only actual ‘man’ in this entire story. The only guy who has to guts to stand up for people and who can be a gentlemen. Bad: Alright here it goes. Romance blossom…well just looking at the cover we can kind of guess that, but I wasn’t realy sure how it came to be. I can somewhat understand it for Maggie because she liked him before everything happened, but to like his after? And Caleb…well his heart changes pretty quickly. Oh well it happened and the second one promises to be just as good as the first. Overall (Writing style, story line, and general): Overall Simone Elkeles’ writing is fantastic and gripping. It brings you into the heart of the novel and still manages to shock you no matter what you expect. With diverse characters and extreme situations she has you locked in from page one. View more of my review and others at my blog: www.mynotsovacantshelf.blogspot.com
Date published: 2012-06-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Crashing into love! Leaving Paradise was an amazing book, although I admit I was a bit surprised with the end. It's amazing though, how two people who should hate each other ending becoming as close as any two people can get (emotionally). This book is about 2 people whose accident connects them to each other in a way that no one else understands. It's a truly amazing book with a story that's blooming with love and filled with excitement! Haha. If I ever get hit by a car, I think I'd actually like it to end up like this. No matter the negative consequences. Just reading about the growing relationship between the two main characters in this book awes me in a way that I never thought possible. I fell in love with this book almost immediately and I after that, I couldn't put it down. It's a great book that I know any girl who loves a good romance will appreciate. But, since it's given from the boy's point of view also, it would be good for boys too. :)
Date published: 2012-02-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Heartbreaker Another amazing installment by Elkeles! The story about how people are affected by certain events in their live. Some change for the better, some for the worst, and no matter how traumatizing those events are, it's always better to move on and live your life as best as you can. This story is about Caleb Becker so is sent to juvie hall for a year for a hit and run charge after he hits his neighbor Maggie Armstrong, his twin sister's best friend. When he comes back after a year he's determined on making everything go back to normal before the accident, but it'snot as easily as it seems for an ex-con to fit into is old world. Throughout the story you see how the characters change and how they have changed from before the accident. It's powerful and moving and definitely worth checking out. P.S. I finished it in one day, so that means it has to be good!
Date published: 2009-11-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Something to read over and over again! When I saw this on the book shelf i had never heard of it or the author but the title interested me and the back description didn't look half bad. I was instantly hooked after reading the first page, I read it in a day, and since then I’ve probably reread it about a thousand times! The characters are all so real to life and 'Normal' in there own way. I could really see this happening in real life unlike most books about teens that are written by adults. So if you’re looking for a great read, leaving paradise is perfect for any age!
Date published: 2009-06-15
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Good book Overall the book was good, but I did not like the ending.
Date published: 2009-05-19

Read from the Book

 oneCalebI've been waiting a year for this moment. It's not every day you get a chance to get out of jail. Sure, in the game of Monopoly you just have to roll the dice three times and wait for a double, or pay the fine and be free. But there are no games here at the Illinois Department of Corrections- Juvenile complex; or the DOC as we inmates call it. Oh, it's not as rough as it sounds. The all male juve­nile division is tough, but it's not like the adult DOC. You might ask why I've been locked up for the past year. I was convicted of hitting a girl with my car while driving drunk. It was a hit-and-run accident, too, which actually made the judge in my case royally pissed off. He tacked on an extra three months for that. "You ready, Caleb?" Jerry, the cell guard, asks. "Yes, sir." I've been waiting three hundred and ten days for this. Hell, yeah, I'm ready. I take a deep breath and follow Jerry to the room where the review committee will evaluate me. I've been prepped by the other guys in my cell block. Sit up straight, look full of remorse, act polite, and all that stuff. But, to tell you the truth, how much can you trust guys who haven't gotten out themselves? As Jerry opens the door to the evaluation room, my muscles start to twitch and I'm getting all sweaty beneath my state-issued coveralls, state-issued socks, and yep, even my state-issued briefs. Maybe I'm not so ready for this after all. "Please sit down, Caleb," orders a woman wearing glasses and a stern look on her face. I swear the scene is out of a bad movie. Seven people sitting behind six-foot-long tables in front of one lone metal chair. I sit on the cold, hard metal. "As you know, we're here to evaluate your ability to leave here and begin your life as a free citizen." "Yes, ma'am," I say. "I'm ready to leave." A big guy, who I can tell is going to play "bad cop," puts his hand up. "Whoa, slow down. We have a few ques­tions to ask before we make our decision." Oh, man. "Sorry." Big Guy checks my file, flipping page after page. "Tell me about the night of the accident." _ The one night in my life I want to erase from history. Taking a deep breath, I say, "I was drinking at a party. I drove home, but lost control of the car. When I realized I hit someone, I freaked and drove back to the party." "You knew the girl you hit?" Memories assault me. "Yes, sir. Maggie Armstrong . . . my neighbor." I don't add she was my twin sister's best friend. "And you didn't get out of the car to see if your neigh­bor was hurt?" I shift in my chair. "I guess I wasn't thinking straight." "You guess?" another committee member asks. "If I could turn back time, I swear I would. I'd change everything." They question me for another half hour and I spurt out answers. Why I was drinking while underage, why I'd get into a car drunk, why I left the scene of the accident. I don't know if I'm saying the wrong thing or right thing, which puts me on edge. I'm just being me . . . seventeen-year-old Caleb Becker. If they believe me, I stand a chance of getting released early. If they don't . . . well, I'll be eating crappy food for another six months and continue rooming with convicts. Big Guy looks right at me. "How do we know you won't go on another drinking binge?" I sit up straight in my chair and direct my attention to each and every one of the committee members. "No offense, but I never want to come back here again. I made a huge mistake, one that's haunted me day and night since I've been here. Just . . . let me go home." For the first time in my life, I'm tempted to grovel. Instead, I sit back and wait for another question. "Caleb, please wait outside while we make our deci­sion," the woman with the glasses says. And it's over. Just like that. I wait out in the hall. I'm usually not a guy who breaks under pressure, and the past year in jail has definitely given me an invisible piece of armor I wear around me. But waiting for a group of strangers to decide your fate is majorly nerve-wracking. I wipe beads of perspiration off my forehead. "Don't worry," guard Jerry says. "If you didn't win them over, you might get another chance in a few months." "Great," I mumble back, not consoled in the least.  Jerry chuckles, the shiny silver handcuffs hanging off his belt clinking with each movement. The dude likes his job too much. We wait a half hour for someone to come out of the room and give me a sign of what's next. Freedom or more jail time? I'm tired of being locked in my cell at night. I'm tired of sleeping on a bunk bed with springs push­ing into my back. And I'm tired of being watched twenty-four hours a day by guards, personnel, cameras, and other inmates. The lady with the glasses opens the door. "Caleb, we're ready for you." She isn't smiling. Is that a bad sign? I'm bracing myself _ for bad news. I stand up and Jerry pats me on the back. A pity pat? Does he know something I don't? The suspense is freaking me out. I sit back on the metal chair. All eyes are on me. Big Guy folds his hands on the table and says, "We all agree that your actions last year concerning the accident were repre­hensible." I know that. I really know that. "But we believe that was an isolated incident never to be repeated. You've demonstrated positive leadership qualities with other inmates and worked hard on your jobs here. The review committee has decided to release you and have you finish out your sentence with one hundred and fifty hours of community service." Does that mean what I think it means? "Release? As in I can leave here?" I ask the Big Guy. "You'll be meeting with your transition coach tomor­row morning. He'll arrange your community service duties and report your progress to us." Another member of the committee points a manicured finger at me. "If you screw up, your transition counselor can petition the judge to bring you back here to serve out the rest of your sentence. Do you understand?" "Yes, sir." "We don't give breaks to repeaters. Go back home, be a model citizen, finish your community service require­ments, and have a good, clean life." I get it. "I will," I say. When I get back to my cell, the only one here is the new kid. He's twelve and still cries all the time. Maybe he should've thought twice before he buried a knife into the back of the girl who refused to go to the school dance with him. "You ever gonna stop crying?" I ask the kid. He's got his face in his pillow; I don't think he hears me. But then I hear a muffled, "I hate this place. I want to go home." I change into my work boots because I get the pleasure of having to clean the dumpsters today. "Yeah, me too," I say. "But you're stuck here so you might as well suck it up and get with the program." The kid sits up, sniffles, and wipes his nose with the back of his hand. "How long have you been here?" "Almost a year." That sets the kid plunging back into his pillow for more wailing. "I don't want to be locked up for a year," he cries. Julio, another cell mate, walks into the room. "Seri­ously, Caleb, if that kid doesn't shut up, I'm gonna kill him. I haven't slept for three nights because of that cry­baby." The wails stop, but then the sniffles start. Which are actually worse than the wailing. "Julio, give the kid a break," I say. "You're too soft, Caleb. Gotta toughen these kids up." "So they can be like you? No offense, man, but you'd scare a serial killer," I say. _One look at Julio and you know he's a tough guy. Tat­toos all over his neck, back, and arms. Shaved head. When my mom comes for visits, she acts like his tattoos are con­tagious. "So?" Julio says. "They gonna let you outta here?"I sit on my bed. "Yeah. Tomorrow.""Lucky sonofabitch. You goin' back to that small town with a funny name? Wha's it called again?" "Paradise." "So I'll be stuck here alone with crybaby while you're in Paradise? Ain't that a bitch." He gives the kid a wide-eyed stare. If I didn't know Julio better, I'd be afraid, too. This sets the kid off again. Julio chuckles, then says "Well, I'll give you the num­ber to my cousin Rio in Chicago. If you need to hightail it out of Paradise, Rio will hook you up." "Thanks, man," I say. Julio shakes his head at the crying kid, says "Later, amigo," and leaves the open cell. I tap the kid on his shoulder. He jerks away, scared. "I'm not gonna hurt you," I tell him. He turns to me. "That's what they all say. I heard about what goes on in jails." He scoots his butt towards the wall. "Don't flatter yourself, kid. You're not my type. I like chicks." "What about the guy with the tattoos?" I fight the urge to laugh. "He's hetero, too. Dude, you're in a juvenile facility." "He said he'll kill me." "He says that because he likes you," I assure him. Julio has a sick sense of humor. "Now get off the bed, stop the crying, and go to group." Group is group therapy. Where all the inmates sit around and discuss personal shit about their lives. Tomorrow I'm getting the hell out of this place. No more group. No more cellmates. No more crappy food. No more cleaning dumpsters. Tomorrow I'm going home.

Editorial Reviews

"Maggie and Caleb are complex and authentic teens all readers will embrace and care about. Theirs is a delicate, delicious love story--without the happy ending."