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."
From my previous experience with Simone Elkeles I expected to find a bad boy lurking in these pages but I didn't. Caleb was more of a lost boy than anything. And I really liked him.
I wasn't sure about Maggie when I was first introduced to her but she grew on me. Both families drove me bonkers. Caleb's with how they tried to control him and Maggie's for how they were oblivious to her needs.
I loved the relationship that developed between Caleb and Maggie not because it was totally steamy or that it made things come full circle but because they were exactly what they other needed. I'm not talking about soul mates, though they very well might be, what I mean to say is that the accident left both of them broken in ways that complement the other. Neither Caleb nor Maggie can get what they need to heal from their friends or family but only from each other.
This book wasn't nearly as straight forward as the summary on the back cover might lead you to believe and this thrilled me. The back cover led me to believe this was going to be Lurlene McDaniels style YA which entertained me when I was younger and now just bores me. There's mystery here, there is healing, there are two teenagers finding themselves and of course a steamy romance to boot. I'm still in shock over some of the plot twists! Again Simone Elkeles has wowed me. I'm giving Leaving Paradise by Simone Elkeles a four out of five stars review.