Back in 2012, I discovered the stories of Simone Elkeles. I'd seen Perfect Chemistry over and over again on Goodreads and stayed away from it for so long because the story sounded extremely sappy which isn't really my thing. Finally, I gave in and read Perfect Chemistry. I ended up enjoying it so much that I went on a Simone Elkeles binge reading venture during which I managed to read all of her books. One of this books was Leaving Paradise.
Leaving Paradise is the first book in a duology. It follows the story of Caleb and Maggie. One night, a year ago, Maggie was hit by a car driven by a very drunken Caleb. The accident results is a physical handicap for Maggie and one year in juvie for Caleb. Now Caleb is out of jail and we follow them as Maggie deals with the aftermath of the accident and Caleb's return and Caleb faces the criticism of everyone around him. Caleb and Maggie somehow manage to help each other through it all as secrets and the truth about what really happened that night is revealed.
Caleb and Maggie are the most developed and most realistic characters from any Simone Elkeles book. Their story is beautiful and heart-breaking all at once and they still remain one of my favorite fictional couples. So go ahead and read the more popular Perfect Chemistry series but do not deprive yourself of the best that Simone Elkeles has to offer. Pick up Leaving Paradise and it's sequel Return to Paradise, settle in and get ready for one of the best love stories ever told.