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Contemporary YA Guest Review: Leaving Paradise by Simone Elkeles


Thanks to a wonderful Melliane from bilingual French-English paranormal and urban fantasy blog  Between Dreams and Reality who agreed to give me a hand and guest review here. As usual with Melliane, her review will be posted in English and French.
If you don't know her yet, come and say hello. You can also find and stalk this wonderful mademoiselle on Twitter .

Leaving Paradise by Simone Elkeles (Leaving Paradise #1)


bought

Synopsis 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.


 Amazon  US/UK | Amazon kindle US/UK | The Book Depository US/UK

8/10

* * *
I didn’t really know what to expect at the beginning of this book, but with all the wonderful reviews I read, I was really curious to discover it. Well, I was also a little anxious because I’m quite difficult with contemporary romances but this one was a nice surprise. Indeed, once started it was a really fast read (It took me nearly 2 hours to finish it).


It was the first novel I tried by this author so I was very intrigued to see how I would feel about it. Simone Elkeles has a very particular writing style that allows us to immerse ourselves in the story. It's true that I was surprised by the couple we meet here as they have an old history between them. How this guy, after all he has endured, can be with a girl whose life he ruined, it was still a bit difficult to understand.

However, their story is really cute and it's a pleasure to discover them both, to observe the evolution of their feelings. I was totally absorbed by the volume. I think it is pretty easy to understand Maggie’s hopes as she wants to know more about Caleb. Indeed, this boy has something really touching in him. I think we can only fall in love with him. He went through many trials and can finally go home after a year of absence to start a normal life. But nothing is as simple, isn’t it? And he will quickly understand that it is impossible for him to return to the life he left.

We love many characters here, and we hate others. It’s not really difficult to know what is behind the plot, but it does not really matter as I think the author has gradually given us the truth. But the only thing I didn’t know was the reason of all that. I was just so surprised at the end of the novel. Yes, because now I really want to read the second book to find out what will happen to our two young heroes. It is quite frustrating I must say, this is not really a cliffhanger, but it's quite the same thing. How to explain it... it's as if the story has been split in two parts and we have to read the sequel to have the whole thing.

It was nice to discover this book, and I think I’ll read the second when I can do it. This first volume also made me curious about Perfect Chemistry, her other series.

* * *
Je ne savais pas vraiment à quoi m’attendre en commençant ce livre, c’est vrai que le nombre d’avis positifs m’avait vraiment donné envie d’en savoir plus. Mon souci c’est que j’ai toujours un peu de mal avec les romances contemporaines mais il y a parfois de bonnes surprises et celle-ci est vraiment très agréable à lire. J’ai été aussi surprise par la vitesse à laquelle je l’ai fini (moi qui pensait qu’il me durerait un peu, après 1h30 c’était fini).

Je n’avais pas encore tenté de lire un roman de cette auteure j’étais donc intriguée par celui-ci et je dois dire que c’était une jolie découverte. Simone Elkeles a un style d’écriture assez particulier qui nous permet de nous immerger dès le début de l’histoire. Bon c’est vrai que l’on tique un peu par rapport à ce couple dont personne n’aurait jamais pu penser qu’il se formerait. Comment ce garçon, après tout ce qu’il a fait endurer, peut se mettre avec une fille dont il a gâché la vie, c’était quand même un peu difficile à comprendre.

Cependant leur propre histoire est vraiment très jolie et c’est un plaisir que de les voir se découvrir tous les deux, de pouvoir observer l’évolution de leurs sentiments. J’ai été totalement absorbée par l’histoire. Je pense qu’il est assez facile de comprendre les sentiments de Maggie et on espère autant qu’elle en apprendra plus sur Caleb. Car il faut dire que ce garçon a vraiment quelque chose de plus. Je crois qu’on ne peut que tomber sous le charme de ce jeune homme. Il a traversé de nombreuses épreuves et peut enfin rentrer chez lui après un an d’absence afin de reprendre une vie normale. Mais rien n’est aussi simple n’est-ce pas ? Il est impossible pour lui de reprendre la vie qu’il a laissé en partant en « prison ».

Il est très agréable de s’attacher à chacun des personnages, de même que de détester certains. J’ai aussi compris assez vite ce qu’il se cachait derrière l’intrigue, ce n’est pas bien grave car je pense que l’auteur nous a mis petit à petit sur la piste, mais je dois dire que je ne m’attendais pas du tout à cette fin. La seule chose à laquelle j’ai pensé en fermant le livre a été « Non, mais non ! Ce n’est pas possible». Oui parce que maintenant comment faire pour ne pas lire le deuxième tome pour savoir ce qu’il va advenir de nos deux jeunes héros ? C’est assez frustrant je dois dire, ce n’est pas vraiment un cliffhanger mais c’est un peu le même genre. Comment expliquer ça… c’est comme si l’histoire avait été partagée en deux et qu’il nous fallait la suite pour tout mettre bout à bout.

Je suis donc contente d’avoir eu la chance d’essayer ce livre, et je pense que je lirai le deuxième dès que je le pourrai. Ce premier volume m’a aussi rendu assez curieuse au sujet d’Irrésistible Alchimie. A voir ce qu’il en sera.

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