Title: Paradise (Leaving Paradise/Return to Paradise)
Author: Simone Elkeles
Series: 2 books in 1
Genre: New Adult Romance
Summary (from Goodreads)
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.
As mentioned, I’ve been wanting to read Simone Elkeles for a while, and as a first experience of her writing, this was pretty much perfect.
Like all the best romances, there’s chemistry, but there’s also tension – and not just of the sexual variety. The ‘impossible’ romance between Caleb and Maggie is subject to so many twists and turns that more than once you’re left wondering how they will ever manage to be together. The beauty of having both books in one is that you don’t have to wait to find out.
There’s such a depth of growth in both characters as their ‘will-they-won’t-they’ relationship changes them for the better – something that can be surprisingly sparely applied in romance plots. Let there be more romances where the couple are stronger together, rather than one being repressed by the controlling nature of the other!
Honestly, I couldn’t put this down. Tensions were so high, it was like I had to turn to the next page/chapter. I didn’t have a choice. Brilliant writing, brilliant characters, creative romance and situations – definitely a five star worthy book!