Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Return to Paradise by Simone Elkeles

Elkeles is an artist when it comes to depicting contemporary teen romance tied with heavy social issues. If this is a genre you enjoy then Return to Paradise, the sequel to Leaving Paradise, is worth checking out.

In Leaving Paradise Caleb Becker returns to his hometown after being in Juvenile Detention for a hit and run. Caleb hit his neighbor Maggie after a night of partying…or so he allows the police to believe. After serving his time Caleb returns to find that his girlfriend is sleeping with his friend, his family has utterly fallen apart and he is inconveniently attracted to Maggie, the girl he purportedly hit with his car.

Maggie has been dealing with surgery and recuperation during this time, and is struggling with the fact that she will forever walk with a limp. But, through the help of a mutual friend and fate Maggie comes to forgive Caleb and return his feelings.

At the conclusion of Leaving Paradise (warning, spoiler alert) Caleb leaves town having convinced himself that everyone’s lives would be better without him. And, with the secrets and lies about what really happened the night of the accident festering between them Maggie is left on her own to endure Caleb’s abandonment.

Return to Paradise picks up 8 months later, when Caleb finds himself in jail for yet another crime he didn’t commit, and fate once again puts him and Maggie together. As the two teens spend the summer in close quarters they are unable to deny the feelings they still have for each other…and as the drama heats up Caleb must decide whether his secrets are really worth keeping after all.

I recommend Elkeles novels Perfect Chemistry, Rules of Attraction and of course, Leaving Paradise to anyone who enjoys contemporary romance and is open to a smattering of heavy social issues.

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