Lisa Reviews: Simone Elkeles - "Return To Paradise"


Return to Paradise is the second book, and takes place eight months after Leaving Paradise ends off. Caleb still hasn’t come back to paradise, keeping the promise he swore to take to his grave, and trying to build a better future himself. Caleb leaves behind everything his ever known and loved, including Maggie. But staying in Chicago isn’t as good for him as he thought it would be, and gets himself in trouble once again.

While Caleb left Paradise in hopes for a better life, Maggie begins her life all over again, with more independence and confidence. She is doing really well and even accepts an offer asking her to go on a three week trip, stopping different places to tell the story of her accident. But everything changed quickly and her three week trip turned foul, when Maggie realizes that Caleb is also going on the exact same trip. But not just to tell his story, like Maggie, but also to keep him from going to prison again.

Return to Paradise continues on with Maggie and Caleb’s story, but the secret Caleb promised to keep forever, isn’t so secret any more. The beginning explains both of their new lives; Caleb’s in Chicago, and Maggie’s in Paradise. The middle is their entire three week trip, which is where things turn sour for me.

The story was … steady. It was never boring but it was also never too crazy. While I enjoyed Return to Paradise, I liked Leaving Paradise much, much more.

Maggie and Caleb were both interesting and realistic (as realistic as any couple could be under such circumstances); I enjoyed reading about the two of them and seeing them together. But those things changed in this second book. Caleb and Maggie changed. The entire trip, the two were back and forth, and back again, about liking and wanting to be with each other. One minute they were in complete love, and the next they avoided or pushed the other away. It was confusing, irritating and frustrating!

And another issue I’ve been facing a lot lately (in books) are boys saying things to girls which no REAL boy would ever even think about saying. Caleb did exactly that at times he just blurted random things out without thinking about them first. Or one time that made me throw the book across the room, was when Caleb was blurting his feelings for Maggie, and then stopped mid sentence to tell us to just forget about it!! REALLY?!

Return to Paradise started off really well, and I was excited to see how things worked out for the two love birds. The middle wasn’t very enjoyable for me, it was too much back and forth, and confusing. But I do have to admit the ending rapidly recovered and I ended the story loving both Maggie and Caleb once again.

I love Simone Elkeles, all her books, and her writing style, so I’m sad to say that I didn’t enjoy this one as much as I did her others.


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