October 22, 2010

Return to Paradise - Simone Elkeles

Young Adult
Return to ParadisePages: 312
Publisher: Flux
Release Date: September 8, 2010
Received from Publisher

**Spoiler Alert: this book is a sequel.

Maggie and Caleb just went through the worst year of their lives. Hit by a car and starting life over with a limp, Maggie never thought she would forgive Caleb. But she did—and fell in love. What they shared was real. But Caleb wanted to be free from the past—and a terrible secret: he wasn't the one who hit Maggie. So he left Paradise—and Maggie—forever. When Maggie and Caleb run into each other in a different town, they can't deny their true feelings. Will Maggie let Caleb get away again? Or will Caleb face the truth and return to Paradise?

I very much enjoyed Leaving Paradise. It was one of those romances that hook you up because the premise is fascinating. Its such a hard situation to deal with, that it just makes a wonderful book. And had it ended differently (Caleb not leaving, duh) it would not have needed a sequel.

Return to Paradise was a little different. Whereas Leaving Paradise took about 100 pages for something to start happening, this one jumps in right away. But it slows down around the middle and drags for a bit. The drama felt a little forced, like the plot was struggling to be interesting. Elkeles introduces some new interesting characters like Lenny, and I thought they would have been explored a little more, but they don't. Maggie and Caleb also somewhat frustrated me, they were hot and then cold and hot again, and ugh, I understood Maggie in the first book, but in this one she was just boring. But the ending is very satisfying. Not too cheesy, just right. Which was a good thing.

On the bright side, I quite enjoyed the setting. I loved that they had to travel together and the cause for the trip was just beautiful. It created a sort of boarding school setting which is one of my favorites. The fact that they had to live and sleep near each other all day strengthened the story. Some of the romance scenes made me sigh in spite myself. Elkeles' writing is as fresh as always and I'm glad we're done with this series so we can get some new romances from her. I'm not a huge romance fan, but this author writes fresh, modern young adult romances that hook us all. She's an author to watch for.

Overall, a satisfying sequel, that may not be as good as the first book, but needs to be read nonetheless.


  1. I love the cover for this book! Glad Return to Paradise is a good sequel, even though it was pretty slow. Thanks for the review!

  2. I totally agree. I just read it last night - I came across Leaving Paradise without any expectations and absolutely LOVED it and the suprising twists and turns it took, and of course, the love story. But the sequel just didn't seem to have much life or compelling elements as the first.


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