Published: 1st Sept 2010
Genre: YA Fiction, Contemporary
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.
Return to Paradise is the sequel to Leaving Paradise. Having really liked Leaving Paradise but finding it a little disappointing (see review) I was expecting to feel the same about Return to Paradise, Oh boy was I wrong. I loved loved this. I found so much better than Leaving Paradise and only disappointed that there won't be another book.
This picks up eights months after Leaving Paradise ends and it start with Caleb being handcuffed in the back of the police, soon he finds himself being forced in Re-START a programme for those affected by Drink Driving. For Caleb it was this or jail. However, upon his arrival he soon sees Maggie who is also apart of the programme. They both are forced to work together and pretty soon tension is building and the truth about the accident is revealed.
What a read this was. I loved Caleb and Maggie so much more in this book. Its very clear from the start that there is so much sexual tension between them that is makes the pages sizzle. Caleb is trying his hardest to push Maggie away as he doesn't want to fall for her and be involved with his Victim. And Maggie is trying to convince herself she has moved on and well she is failing miserably. I really connected with both of our main characters in this novel alot more. It would be really hard not to like them.
I really loved how we are introduced to some new characters. The kids in the Re-Start programme are all battling their own demons and yet they all care for each other and have a fun time. I think that is why I enjoyed this so much more than the first book. Even though it still hit hard on the serious issues of drink drive and the effects it has on people. It was a lot more lighthearted and I found my giggling at a few scenes.
Once again I am going to say Simone Elkeles you are a genius. She has created a wonderful story that flowed perfectly that I read in one day. Only stopping to eat or go to the bathroom. I also adored the ending. It was a very satisfying ending that ties up Caleb and Maggie's Tale. I am just sad that it has come to end and that there are no more books to follow in this series.
Please buy or borrow Simone's novels as an avid fantasy reader Simone turned me to new genres I would never have read before and I am so glad I did because I now love this genre and Simone Elkeles is my favourite YA Fiction/Contemporary author.