Monday, June 13, 2011
YA Summer Reading Review: Return To Paradise by Simone Elkeles
Everyone keeps asking me for fun summer reading recommendations so I have decided to compile a list and give a a series of reviews for each of them. Sound good? Good.
When I think of summer reading I think of laying out by the pool with my nose stuck in a paperback. Sure i could suggest heavy dystopians or dark fantasy books but I like my summer reading a little less heavy. I mean, a little substance here and there is crucial to making the book worthwhile but there needs to be a really good balance.
The first book I am going to suggest is RETURN TO PARADISE by Simone Elkeles.
This book was completely engrossing and had the perfect blend of summer romance and solid teen message. Told from alternating perspective's of bad boy Caleb who's shady past casts a big shadow over his life, and former victim turned survivor Maggie who's hardship has made her stronger. When we meet Caleb he is struggling with the secrets of his past he has tried to hide from, a life and girl he left behind because he felt unworthy and the consequences of his actions.
Maggie was the victim of a hit and run accident that not only left her crippled but hit her close to home. Very close. The driver convicted of hitting her happens to be her next door neighbor and twin brother to her best friend. As if that wasn't bad enough. She felt drawn to him and started seeing him after the accident that is until Caleb just up and ran away. Eight months passed by and not a word from him. Maggie has almost gotten over him and decides to go on a summer tour with other teens who's lives have been impacted by drugs and alcohol, their goal being to help bring awareness to other youths and low and behold who should also happen to be on the trip...the boy that left her behind.
Sounds kinda heavy, huh? Well it all lightens up when hormones and emotions run rampant and not only does the story blossom into a great "coming of age/overcoming problems" message book, it has one of my favorite summertime romances that are blush inducing. Caleb is pretty darn swoon worthy and him and Maggie together are SO PERFECT!