Customer Reviews


90 Reviews
5 star:
 (44)
4 star:
 (19)
3 star:
 (17)
2 star:
 (5)
1 star:
 (5)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favorable review
The most helpful critical review


8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Fantastic Follow-up!
If you've been a long time follower of my blog (or reviews) you might remember my gushing one for Leaving Paradise by Simone Elkeles- an author who has yet to disappoint me in any way- so as you can imagine when I received the sequel to that oh-so-yummy-and-addicting novel, I was just a bit squeal-happy. Well, maybe just a lot more than just a bit, but anyhow, as I was...
Published on August 27, 2010 by Lauren

versus
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I wish I had loved it
I very much enjoyed Leaving Paradise. It was one of those romances that hook you up because the premise is fascinating. Its such a hard situation to deal with, that it just makes a wonderful book. And had it ended differently (Caleb not leaving, duh) it would not have needed a sequel.

Return to Paradise was a little different. Whereas Leaving Paradise took...
Published on October 29, 2010 by Sab H.


‹ Previous | 1 29 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Fantastic Follow-up!, August 27, 2010
By 
This review is from: Return to Paradise (Paperback)
If you've been a long time follower of my blog (or reviews) you might remember my gushing one for Leaving Paradise by Simone Elkeles- an author who has yet to disappoint me in any way- so as you can imagine when I received the sequel to that oh-so-yummy-and-addicting novel, I was just a bit squeal-happy. Well, maybe just a lot more than just a bit, but anyhow, as I was soon to find out, Return to Paradise was definitely worth the wait. Because not only was it better than its prequel (which I didn't think could happen), it was nothing short of amazing/rock-my-socks-off fantastic!!

As the reader begins Return to Paradise it's been eight months since Caleb left, taking not only Maggie's heart with him but his dark secret about what really happened the night he was arrested and Maggie was left disabled and abandoned in the middle of the street alone. And while each of them still wants and misses each other more than ever, they've moved on with their lives the best they could. Maggie finished high school and is going to Spain in a few months, and Caleb has been in Chicago trying to make enough to support himself on. Though, as it turns out, fate isn't done with them yet, as they are soon to learn when they find themselves together on summer trip with four other teens that have also been affected by drunk driving. Together again they find themselves torn between the what-ifs: what if they got back together, what if Caleb finally admit what truly happened that night, and a star crossed romance that would make almost any teen girl (or even boy) swoon.

The one thing I always love about follow-up novels is seeing how the characters have grown over the time that the reader has been away from their story, and with Return to Paradise both characters have definitely grown a lot over the past eight months. For Maggie, she finally has a backbone, but don't get me wrong, she still has a big heart, especially when Caleb is involved. For Caleb, he's gotten a bit worse because of the fact he's tougher and more confrontational than ever, though it's easy to see it's just a cover for the poor lost boy he is underneath it all. The one thing I love about these characters, and all of Simone's characters in general, is that there real in a way that they make mistakes and learn from them, that they have faults and good points that help them grow, and that their lives aren't perfect even if it does appear so for some of the characters, because as anyone knows, no one's life is perfect. Anyhow, moving on, just as I did with the prequel I loved the romance between Caleb and Maggie. Because seriously those two are so sweet and caring with each other and always manage the best in each other out for the world to see. And talking about characters, I just loved the secondary characters introduced in this one. All of them are so unique, and some of them, like Lenny and Trish, bring out several laugh-out-loud moments.

The plot in this was fact paced and when mixed with Simone's easy going and smooth writing, it moved in a rapid pace, one that made this the ultimate unputdownable book. I especially loved the way that while some parts of this book were predictable, Simone also had several moments that I didn't see coming from a mile away!

In all, Return to Paradise (as well as its prequel if you haven't read that one yet) is a must read for this fall season. Because seriously, what's better than reading one of Simone Elkeles swoon worthy teen romances on a fall day?

Grade: A+
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Return To Paradise, August 28, 2010
This review is from: Return to Paradise (Paperback)
My Thoughts: I know I'm going to have a hard time writing this review. I just finished Leaving Paradise a few days ago and I had the chance to read Return To Paradise. Return to Paradise finishes up the storyline where Leaving Paradise stopped. We are reunited with Maggie and Caleb and I fell just in love with Caleb all over again. There is just something about him that truly amazes me. He acts tough on the outside but Caleb is truly Maggie's soulmate! It's been 7 months since they last saw each other. A lot has changed in those 7 months. Maggie is a stronger person. She is friends with Caleb's sister again. Caleb has been busted for living in a drug house. He hasn't touched the stuff but he had to have a roof over his head somehow. But fate brings them together once again. Caleb and Maggie are once again in a situation where they have to be around each other. This time it is for the RE-Start Program. It is basically a program where teens who have been in car accidents go around and talk to other teens in juvenile detention facilities, etc. I also really liked all the side characters such as Lenny and Matt. They helped the storyline a lot. I enjoyed reading more about Maggie and Caleb and I liked seeing where the relationship went. I loved the scene where Maggie and Caleb were in bunks across from each other. This book is also told in both perspectives again, which I really liked. All the feelings Caleb and Maggie have been holding inside start to come to the surface and things finally start to be out in the open. This was a delight to read!

Overall: I loved this book! I might have even liked it more than Leaving Paradise. I've heard a few other people didn't enjoy this book. I guess it all has to do with tastes, if you like the different points of views and if you liked the writing or not which I really did. I loved Return To Paradise!

Cover: Love it. Isn't is so amazing? I love everything about it! I love how they are about to kiss, I love the girl and guy, I love the colors. Its stunning!

What I'd Give It:
5/5 cupcakes

Softcover Edition

Taken from my blog: Princess Bookie
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I wish I had loved it, October 29, 2010
This review is from: Return to Paradise (Paperback)
I very much enjoyed Leaving Paradise. It was one of those romances that hook you up because the premise is fascinating. Its such a hard situation to deal with, that it just makes a wonderful book. And had it ended differently (Caleb not leaving, duh) it would not have needed a sequel.

Return to Paradise was a little different. Whereas Leaving Paradise took about 100 pages for something to start happening, this one jumps in right away. But it slows down around the middle and drags for a bit. The drama felt a little forced, like the plot was struggling to be interesting. Elkeles introduces some new interesting characters like Lenny, and I thought they would have been explored a little more, but they don't. Maggie and Caleb also somewhat frustrated me, they were hot and then cold and hot again, and ugh, I understood Maggie in the first book, but in this one she was just boring. But the ending is very satisfying. Not too cheesy, just right. Which was a good thing.

On the bright side, I quite enjoyed the setting. I loved that they had to travel together and the cause for the trip was just beautiful. It created a sort of boarding school setting which is one of my favorites. The fact that they had to live and sleep near each other all day strengthened the story. Some of the romance scenes made me sigh in spite myself. Elkeles' writing is as fresh as always and I'm glad we're done with this series so we can get some new romances from her. I'm not a huge romance fan, but this author writes fresh, modern young adult romances that hook us all. She's an author to watch for.

Overall, a satisfying sequel, that may not be as good as the first book, but needs to be read nonetheless.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed, September 5, 2010
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
The first book I read from this author was Leaving Paradise and I was hooked. From then, I searched for her other works to hold me over until Return to Paradise came out. I ended up reading Rules of Attraction before Perfect Chemistry and no matter the order, I still immensely enjoyed both books. I'm sad to say that Return to Paradise didn't live up to my expectations. The first book was good, but the sequel was disappointing. I really liked Caleb and Maggie, but their story in the sequel felt weak. I would rather have seen a different scenario where both Maggie and Caleb had really started to move on with their feelings, but after seeing each other again fell back in love. Caleb should have tried to win Maggie back after leaving her in the first book. Instead, we get the two of them going back and forth fighting their feelings for each other because they think they can't ever work out. I got mad at Caleb for being an indecisive jerk and frustrated with Maggie at one point. The trip to Spain was unnecessary. I really wanted the couple to have more sweet moments together, making up for the lost time. I was hopping for a more satisfying ending, but I suppose my expectations were too high.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another amazing read from an amazing author!, August 28, 2010
This review is from: Return to Paradise (Paperback)
Oh.My.God! That's what I said when I found out about this book, when the publisher sent me the book, and also when I finished this amazing book! This author never disappoints when it comes to teen romance and drama.

This is the second book in the Paradise series. If you ever have doubts about reading a sequel to a book because you are afraid it won't be as great as the first, let me tell you that Return to Paradise was not only as great as its predecessor, but even more amazing this time around! I had forgotten how much I love Caleb and Maggie while waiting for this book to come out. As soon as I started reading the first chapter, I was swept away back into the teen romance that this author does so well.

It was hard at first knowing that Caleb and Maggie had moved on with their lives in the eight months that they have not seen each other. Yet, even though they both are saying this to people, you can see it in their actions that they are still drawn together with strong feelings. When they both go on a trip with four other teens, they both must confront their feelings for each other and decide if their love is strong enough to fight for.

I loved Maggie and Caleb even more this time around. They both have grown up in the eight months they were separated. They have issues to work out, but you can just see the love they have for each other on every page of this book. The side characters were amazing with Lenny being one of my favorites! I do hope the author takes it even a step further and create a series for him as well!

This book ties up the loose ends from Leaving Paradise that will leave the reader with closure. I personally wish this story could have gone on for another 30 chapters or so just because I love Caleb and Maggie so much! The ending was perfect and memorable with just the right amount of sweetness. Reading this series swept me away to a readers paradise of teen romance and drama that this author does so well!

[...]
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding sequel!, August 30, 2010
By 
This review is from: Return to Paradise (Paperback)
This is an outstanding sequel to LEAVING PARADISE! I couldn't put this book down. I rarely would describe a novel as exquisite, but it fits. Once again, Simone Elkeles draws the reader in by alternating between Caleb and Maggie's narration, and it works beautifully.
RETURN TO PARADISE is a richly written, emotionally charged novel that will leave you satisfied, but also wishing that the last page didn't come so quickly.
What makes Simone Elkeles's books (including this one) so fabulous is the realistic portrayal of characters from all different life experiences. She doesn't shy away from the tough issues that teens face today. She seamlessly integrates sexuality, disabilities, race, religion and faith, love, family dynamics, drug use, and divorce. All of Simone Elkeles's main characters face difficult challenges and Caleb and Maggie are no exception. There is no sugar coating life, but love can make a person better, can help to overcome obstacles, and can give strength when you're feeling weak.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Skip it......, October 7, 2010
By 
Krista Lyn (Minneapolis, MN) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Return to Paradise (Paperback)
After becoming accustomed to brilliance from this author, this one was really disappointing.

I think what bothers me most about this sequel to the amazing Leaving Paradise, is that I don't think the author stayed true to the characters. Caleb was simply awesome in Leaving Paradise. Yes he had issues and was angry, but never with Maggie. He treated her with kindness, concern, and respect the entire book. It was his attitude towards her that melted my heart and allowed me to care about his character.

In Return to Paradise, both Maggie and Caleb's characters have changed so much that they are unrecognizable. Caleb is not a nice person for much of this book, even with Maggie. I found myself wondering who he was and wishing I could go back to the first book and remember him the way he was. Maggie is much stronger in this book, but I don't like the games she plays. One of the things I loved most about Maggie in the first book was her honesty and vulnerabiliy. In this book, she steps out of character many times and does things that really confused me.

I wish I wouldn't have read this. It had some great moments so I give it 2 stars, but overall I think this book taints my feelings about the characters that I really loved from Leaving Paradise. I guess that's the risk you take when reading a sequel. Too bad Caleb and Maggie didn't get a more fitting one.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Pure Imagination Reviews, October 16, 2010
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Return to Paradise (Paperback)
I'm a huge Simone Elkeles fan. HUGE! So, I was extremely excited for Return to Paradise, because let's face it, Leaving Paradise really left us hanging. I was so anxious to read what was going to happen with Caleb and Maggie! I knew it wouldn't be easy for them. No, Elkeles is the queen of drama! Nothing is ever easy for her characters. Even knowing that this book left me the tiniest bit disappointed.

Return to Paradise picks up 8 months after the first book. Caleb and Maggie are thrown together by extenuating circumstances and forced to spend a month together on the road discussing their accident with other teens. Maggie and Caleb were the same Maggie and Caleb as in the first book. Always at odds with each other. Always having conflicting emotions. I was rooting for them the entire time! I kept thinking 'It's not that hard!! Just try!' Because they made things much harder than they had to be. That's Simone genius, though, she creates such excellent drama! It makes you want to shake the characters!

The reason I rated this book 3.5 stars instead of the 5 that Elkeles books usually get is that it all felt very repetitive. It felt like I had read it all before. The conflicts all felt very similar to her other books. That's not to say that I won't be reading everything she writes in the future, because have no doubt that I will! She the queen of teen drama and I can't get enough!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I was ready to love it but book one was much better, July 11, 2013
This review is from: Return to Paradise (Paperback)
I loved Leaving Paradise and started Return to Paradise the instant I finished Leaving Paradise. The cliffhanger ending really left me no choice: I HAD to know if Caleb and Maggie ended up together. And while I liked Return to Paradise and thought it was a very good conclusion to the story, I liked Leaving Paradise a lot better.

Maggie and Caleb go back-and-forth, back-and-forth in this book. Will they end up together or won't they? That is the question that takes a loooong time to be answered. I got a little tired of the will they or won't they issue. This book lacked the intensity and emotional punches of book one.

What I did like about Return to Paradise was the character growth. It was great to see both Maggie and Caleb grow and change for the better. I loved that Caleb helped other people, especially other troubled young men. I liked that both Caleb and Maggie mature emotionally and learn to let each other in.

I would definitely recommend Leaving Paradise and Return to Paradise to fans of contemporary YA. I am really enjoying Simone Elkeles!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars GRIPPING, September 26, 2012
This review is from: Return to Paradise (Paperback)
Part two of Maggie and Caleb's story picks up eight months after book one finished. Caleb had left Paradise and Maggie. Nothing was ever going to be the same with his family, he was an outcast, even with them. Even his love for Maggie couldn't hold him there.
But now he is in trouble again with the law, he has been living in a house where drugs are found. When he is taken to the police station, the only person he can think to call for help is his transition councillor Damon.

Damon gives him a choice join the restart program or be locked up. But this time it won't be juvie he is eighteen he will go to adult prison. Agreeing to Damon's terms, Caleb reluctantly agrees to join the restart trip. For four weeks he and other troubled teens will go on the road around different colleges telling their stories in the hope of warning and helping others.

When Caleb arrives ready for the trip, he amazed to find Maggie is also part of the team. Not wanting to go along he tells Damon so. But as Damon reminds him it's the restart or prison. Maggie is thrilled to see Caleb, but doesn't get his anger at her.

This is a worthy follow-up to the first book Leaving Paradise. In this story Caleb has become more angry and resentful of what happened more than eighteen months previously. The secret has festered inside him, eating away at him like a cancer. He seems in part to have included Maggie in his resentment against everything that has happened in his life. While Maggie has grown stronger and has a more positive attitude.

I gave this four stars instead of five, because by the end of the story I wasn't totally convinced with Caleb and Maggie's relationship. Also there seemed to be a few threads of the story, that were left unresolved. Unless of course the author is planning a third book. But this like the first book is filled with very well developed characters. I did enjoy it.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 29 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

Details

Return to Paradise
Return to Paradise by Simone Elkeles (Paperback - September 8, 2010)
$9.95 $9.81
In Stock
Add to cart Add to wishlist
Search these reviews only
Send us feedback How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you? Let us know here.