Return To Paradise

Return To Paradise (Leaving Paradise, #2)
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.

summary from book

My Rating: 3.5/5

I was beyond excited when I heard that Return To Paradise was being released because I was and still am a huge fan of Leaving Paradise the novel that precedes this one, as well as Simone's other books. I have to say that I think I was one of the small few who were okay with the way that Leaving Paradise ended. Everything was not perfectly concluded but I tend to enjoy it when contemporary novels leave some ends slightly ajar. I like the realistic quality and the effect that it has on the reader for you are left to think and ponder the possible long term results, if desired. Leaving Paradise took me on such a roller coaster ride that when it was over, I felt anything but dissatisfaction. That being said, I did a happy dance and had my own little celebratory party for one when I heard that I was going to be able to read another book with Caleb and Maggie.

What I mainly enjoyed about Return To Paradise is being able to revisit the characters that I left behind when I finished reading Leaving Paradise. I can always imagine what happened to them but I greatly enjoy seeing where the author, who the characters belong to, decides to take them. I liked the whole premise of the RE-START program and how Maggie and Caleb are forced to reconnect as a result. I love character growth and so it was lovely to see how far Caleb and Maggie had come, especially Maggie who was a lot more self assured and confident in this book than the first. I also enjoyed revisiting the secondary characters from Leaving Paradise and seeing where life had taken them as well as being introduced to the newer characters and seeing how they played into things.

As much as I enjoyed all of the above I do have to say that there was just something missing for me with this one. With Leaving Paradise there was so much at stake and so much tension and drama not to mention the delicious twist at the end that left me speechless while with Return To Paradise, I felt as if it was kind of anti-climatic in a sense which is weird because quite a lot does evolve and take place in this book. Nonetheless, something was lacking although I'm not really sure as to what. I also have to admit that I did go into reading this book with super high expectations (which usually hinders me as nothing can ever live up to the hype that I create) but I can't help getting excited, especially not over a Simone Elkeles book. (She rocks!) Nonetheless, I am happy that I picked up this book as it was nice to experience another dosage of Maggie and Caleb and see what had come of them since I'd ended Leaving Paradise.

Overall: Fans of Simone Elkeles and Leaving Paradise will flock to this book much like I did. It didn't quite contain the same magic for me as Leaving Paradise but it is most definitely worth a read which if you're a fan of the first book you don't really need me to convince you of. ;) People who have never read anything by Simone should check her out. If you like contemporary YA with romance her books are right up your alley.


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