Saturday, June 25, 2011

Review: Return to Paradise (Elkeles)

AUTHOR: Simone Elkeles
SEQUEL TO: Leaving Paradise
ISBN: 9780738718682
PUBLISHER: Llewellyn Worldwide, Ltd.
GENRE: contemporary romance
OVERALL RATING: Highly Recommended
GIVE IT TO: There are a lot of Elkeles fans in high school! Give this one especially to romance-loving guys and girls in grades 8-12 who liked Leaving Paradise.

SUMMARY: Maggie has done her best to move on from a crippling car accident and unlikely romance with Caleb, the boy accused of hitting her. Now, eight months after Caleb ended their relationship and left town, Caleb and Maggie are forced together while attending a 4-week tour of high schools and summer camps to speak about how reckless driving has affected their lives.

WHAT I LIKED: Told in alternating voices, Return To Paradise will be a hit with Leaving Paradise readers; it can, however, stand alone for new readers. The story is fast-paced, and the romance scenes heart-pounding. I especially like the other teens on the tour, who convincingly struggle with the fallout of their own actions.

WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE: The plot and "twist" are predictable, but since the main story is the relationship between Maggie and Caleb, many readers won't mind. I also would have loved to hear more about pregnant teen Erin and abuse victim Lenny; their stories need to be told! Perhaps Elkeles will include them in future installments?

  • Language: very high; lots of F-bombs and others
  • Sexuality: high; several intense kissing scenes and one near-miss sexual encounter
  • Violence: none

STATUS IN MY LIBRARY: We have it on the high school shelf, and I recommend it frequently.

READALIKES: Leaving Paradise (Elkeles), Perfect Chemistry (Elkeles)

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