Title: Return to Paradise
Author: Simone Elkeles
Series: Leaving Paradise #2
Release Date: September 1, 2010
Maggie and Caleb just went through the worst year of their lives. Hit by a car and starting life over with a limp, Maggie never thought she would forgive Caleb. But she did—and fell in love. What they shared was real. But Caleb wanted to be free from the past—and a terrible secret: he wasn't the one who hit Maggie. So he left Paradise—and Maggie—forever. When Maggie and Caleb run into each other in a different town, they can't deny their true feelings. Will Maggie let Caleb get away again? Or will Caleb face the truth and return to Paradise?
In my opinion the last book, Leaving Paradise, didn't have a satisfying ending. This second book at least gives it to us. After leaving town Caleb gets into to trouble. Again. To avoid going to jail he has to do a program that makes him and the rest of the people in it go from place to place telling teens why they shouldn't drink and drive. Caleb goes as one of the representatives of the offender side and Maggie goes as the victim side. Of course, they didn't know the other was going to be there and this creates trouble for everyone (I think this was a little easy, if you ask me).
These two have a lot of things to deal with, starting with Caleb, who still has to admit he wasn't the one that drove the car and has to deal with the emotions of being punished for something he didn't do. For a good part of the book Caleb is a jerk. He lashes out to everyone and there were times where I wanted to smack him. Meanwhile Maggie was trying to prove to everyone how strong she was and how she has moved on, but at the end of it it wasn't true. She was just as scared as before and was only putting up a front. I really enjoyed seeing this two together and I especially liked the scenes where Maggie tries to help Caleb.
We get an update on some characters, like Caleb's and Maggie's families, Kendra, Brian, ... Then we meet some new ones, like Lenny, a guy who at first seems an idiot but later you realize is much more. The character that annoyed me no end was Leah. She hasn't changed at all since the first book and most of the time I wanted to yell at her and make her admit the truth.
Overall, this was a great final chapter of the Maggie and Caleb love story. Loose ends get tied up, the truth finally comes out and all the characters deal with the consequences of the car accident and Caleb's arrest.
Caleb pounds his fist hard into the tree trunk. His knuckles are bleeding from the force, but he doesn't seem to notice as he storms up to me.
"The truth is that I didn't hit you with that car! I went to fucking jail for a whole fucking year for something I didn't fucking do! And you know what? It sucked. I resented every moment in juvie because I wasn't supposed to be there in the first place!"
1. Leaving Paradise - Review