Thursday, September 2, 2010

Return to Paradise by Simone Elkeles

Summary/Cover Image from Publisher's Website:

Caleb Becker left Paradise eight months ago, taking with him the secret he promised to take to his grave. If the truth got out, it would ruin everything.

Maggie Armstrong tried to be strong after Caleb broke her heart and disappeared. Somehow, she managed to move on. She’s determined to make a new life for herself.

But then Caleb and Maggie are forced together on a summer trip. They try ignoring their passion for each other, but buried feelings resurface. Caleb must face the truth about the night of Maggie’s accident, or the secret that destroyed their relationship will forever stand between them.

Review:

If you've been a long time follower of my blog (or reviews) you might remember my gushing one for Leaving Paradise by Simone Elkeles- an author who has yet to disappoint me in any way- so as you can imagine when I received the sequel to that oh-so-yummy-and-addicting novel, I was just a bit squeal-happy. Well, maybe just a lot more than just a bit, but anyhow, as I was soon to find out, Return to Paradise was definitely worth the wait. Because not only was it better than its prequel (which I didn’t think could happen), it was nothing short of amazing/rock-my-socks-off fantastic!!

As the reader begins Return to Paradise it's been eight months since Caleb left, taking not only Maggie's heart with him but his dark secret about what really happened the night he was arrested and Maggie was left disabled and abandoned in the middle of the street alone. And while each of them still wants and misses each other more than ever, they've moved on with their lives the best they could. Maggie finished high school and is going to Spain in a few months, and Caleb has been in Chicago trying to make enough to support himself on. Though, as it turns out, fate isn't done with them yet, as they are soon to learn when they find themselves together on summer trip with four other teens that have also been affected by drunk driving. Together again they find themselves torn between the what-ifs: what if they got back together, what if Caleb finally admit what truly happened that night, and a star crossed romance that would make almost any teen girl (or even boy) swoon.

The one thing I always love about follow-up novels is seeing how the characters have grown over the time that the reader has been away from their story, and with Return to Paradise both characters have definitely grown a lot over the past eight months. For Maggie, she finally has a backbone, but don't get me wrong, she still has a big heart, especially when Caleb is involved. For Caleb, he's gotten a bit worse because of the fact he's tougher and more confrontational than ever, though it's easy to see it's just a cover for the poor lost boy he is underneath it all. The one thing I love about these characters, and all of Simone's characters in general, is that there real in a way that they make mistakes and learn from them, that they have faults and good points that help them grow, and that their lives aren't perfect even if it does appear so for some of the characters, because as anyone knows, no one's life is perfect. Anyhow, moving on, just as I did with the prequel I loved the romance between Caleb and Maggie. Because seriously those two are so sweet and caring with each other and always manage to bring the best in each other out for the world to see. And talking about characters, I just loved the secondary ones introduced in this. All of them are so unique, and some of them, like Lenny and Trish, brought out several laugh-out-loud moments.
The plot in this was fact paced and when mixed with Simone's easy going and smooth writing, it moved in a rapid pace, one that made this the ultimate unputdownable book. I especially loved the way that while some parts of this book were predictable, Simone also had several moments that I didn't see coming from a mile away!

In all, Return to Paradise (as well as its prequel if you haven't read that one yet) is a must read for this fall season. Because seriously, what's better than reading one of Simone Elkeles swoon worthy teen dramas on a fall day?
 
Grade: A+

Return to Paradise is now out!

Source: Publisher. Thanks, Flux!

6 comments:

  1. Wonderful review. My copy should be here soon!! I can't wait to read it!!

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  2. I want to read this so bad! Great review. :)

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  3. Whoa, an A+ rating! This must be a fantastic book. I'm ashamed to say that I haven't read anything by Simone Elkeles yet... how is that possible?

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  4. OMG! Now I really have to get the first book! I adore reading about teen dramas, yes call me evil. ;)

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  5. Fab review! It sounds just as fantastic as Perfect Chemistry, which I adored, so I ought to pick up these two books!

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  6. Great review... I loved the last sentence! :-) I've really enjoyed all of her other books (Perfect Chemistry remains one of my favorites) and can't wait to get my hands on this one!

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