Return to Paradise
By Simone Elkeles
Publication date: September 1, 2010
In the sequel to Leaving Paradise, Caleb has left Paradise to escape the difficult situation with his family and the secret he carries about the night of the accident. His path once again crosses with Maggie's when he is arrested and forced to participate in Re-START, a program for teens who have been through car accidents. Maggie is also taking part in the program to fulfill conditions for a scholarship. Maggie urges Caleb to consider going back to Paradise because his family needs him. As Maggie and Caleb are drawn to each other again, the past gets in the way.
Return to Paradise takes place several months after Leaving Paradise. This time around, even though the chapters switch back and forth between Caleb and Maggie I felt that the emphasis was on Caleb's life. Leaving Paradise seemed to focus more on Maggie and her problems. Caleb has quite a bit of anger to work through and he receives help from Maggie, the other teens in the program, and Damon, his transition counselor who is in charge of the program. It was not easy to see Caleb and Maggie's relationship backtrack the way it did after he left her and Paradise. They are still strongly attracted to each other but Caleb's secrets and his anger are roadblocks for them. He also has to deal with his family issues before he can move forward in life. I thought that the part of the story that deals with his family was very rushed and kind of disappointing because everything was too quickly resolved.
While I liked Return to Paradise, I definitely prefer Leaving Paradise. One thing that I did like was the lack of an unrealistic epilogue. In Perfect Chemistry and Rules of Attraction, the author includes an epilogue showing where the characters are years later and I was glad she didn't do that with this series. I was pleased with how she left things open because it felt more plausible. Overall this is another good romance by Simone Elkeles but it is not the best of her work.
Readalikes: Crazy Beautiful by Lauren Baratz-Logsted, Going Too Far by Jennifer Echols, Rules of Attraction by Simone Elkeles
Thanks to Shanyn at Star Book Tours for the opportunity to participate in this ARC tour.