Favorite Quotes

'Once upon a time, there was a man as great as the gods...... But even the great can tremble with fear. Even the great can Fall.

Mary E. Pearson, Kiss of Deception

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Series Review: The Leaving Paradise series by Simone Elkeles

Books 1: 5 Butterflies
Book 2: 4 Butterflies  
Average/Series: 4.5

Book 1~ Leaving Paradise by Simone Elkeles

Goodreads Summary 

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.

Warning: There will be spoilers in book two's summary. There isn't any in the review, but there are some in this summary.

Book 2~ Return to Paradise by Simone Elkeles 

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.

Book 1:
I have always been cautious with contemporaries. They are always a hit or miss with me; I either really love it or I don't like it at all. So I was a little nervous when starting this, but I am really glad I read it because I loved it!!! I read this book a little over a year ago and it is still one of my favorite contemporaries I have read. It was a touching, emotional love story.

I loved how the theme of this book was to forgive and move forward. It was also masterfully executed. This women knows how to write a book and bring the reader on a rollercoaster of emotions. I loved every second of reading this, even though it wasn't the fastest pace book I ever read. You just get captivated with Caleb and Maggie's story and you can't help but root for them. You are swept into this story and you get so attached to these characters because they are so real. They have so much depth and the character development was amazing. Both of them grow as a person as the story progresses and that was so amazing to read!!

Overall, I really loved this and I'm glad it has a sequel. The ending didn't have enough closure for me and so I was glad to find out that there was a continuation of the story.

Book 2:
I loved Leaving Paradise and so this one had a high par to compare to and sadly it didn't reach it. Even though this was a goo and enjoyable ending to this story, it didn't blow my away like Leaving Paradise. 

The characters in this book were just as good as in the first one. There wasn't as much character development as there was in the first, but that's just because they were both in such bad places in the first that they had a lot of room for improvement. In this one they both went though such development in the first that they didn't have a whole lot left to develop during this story. However, they still had some character development.

I also really liked how their relationship continued. I like the direction it went and the plot in general. Again you can't help but root for them. You root that they can mend their relationship and be happy together. You just want these characters to be happy because they've had such crap going on the last few years in their lives.

This was a really good and enjoyable ending the Caleb and Maggie's story. It wasn't as good as the first one, but the first one was so good not many books can pass it.

Leaving Paradise has a special place in my heart. It was one of the first one YA contemporaries that I really loved. I love Caleb and Maggie's story. It was touching and wonderfully written. Even though the second one wasn't as good I still thought that it was still a great ending to the story. As a whole this story was amazing and I loved seeing Caleb and Maggie develop as people. If you love contemporaries read this one and if you don't....still read this one. 

Recommended if you like contemporaries, love stories, and Simone Elkeles.

Happy reading


  1. Ahh, I'm really happy you like this series! The Leaving Paradise series is sadly not the series for me when I read it 2 years ago, but looking at your review, I might give it another chance. Who knows, maybe I'll like it when I give it a try now. o:

  2. Reviews from a BookwormApril 2, 2014 at 5:56 PM

    I have thought about reading this series for so long but never been able to hunt it down in the UK. I might have to get it on the Kindle now though because your review has made me really want to read these two. I love a good contemporary and these sound perfect. Thanks for the great review :)