Simone Elkeles - NY Times & USA Today Bestselling Author
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Read the other book in the series:
Nothing has been the same since Caleb Becker left a party drunk, got behind the wheel, and hit Maggie Armstrong. After a year in juvenile jail, Caleb’s free . . . if freedom means endless nagging from a transition coach and the prying eyes of the entire town. Coming home should feel good, but his family and ex-girlfriend seem like strangers. Caleb and Maggie are outsiders, pigeon-holed as “criminal” and “freak.” Then the truth emerges about what really happened the night of the accident and, once again, everything changes. It’s a bleak and tortuous journey for Caleb and Maggie, yet they end up finding comfort and strength from a surprising source: each other.

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Also available on itunes: ebook

Click here to read the first chapter!

  • 2010 Abraham Lincoln IL High School Book Award list
  • 2008 RITA Award Finalist for Young Adult Romance
  • Book Sense (independent book stores) “2007 Summer Picks” List
  • 2007 Cybils Literary Award Nominee
  • Video trailer for Leaving Paradise a finalist in the Cameo Book Trailer Awards in the professional category


Brazil: Editora Underworld
Spain: Versatil
France: La Martiniere
Germany: Bertelsmann Jugenbuch Verlag
Turkey: Artemis
UK: Simon & Schuster

“I can’’t keep books by Simone Elkeles on my classroom library shelves! Students who are not even in my class are hearing about her books from their friends and seeking me out to borrow them. From the most disengaged students to students in honors classes, Simone Elkeles’’ books are a hit. There is no more effective way to communicate the power of reading than to put a book by Simone Elkeles in the hands of students. Her books have the edge that draws readers into the story and the literary quality that helps them grow while they are there.”
• Christy Rush-Levine, 8th Grade Language Arts Teacher, Lukancic Middle School, Romeoville, IL

“There is truly no better feeling than placing the right book in the right reader’s hands.  As a teacher, the responsibility is much greater.  For my students, reading is an outlet, an escape.  It’s imperative that they have literature available to them that they can identify with and engages them.  For these reasons, I was immensely excited to find books by Simone Elkeles.  From the very first book we read together, Leaving Paradise, to the Perfect Chemistry trilogy, my students have devoured her books and clamored for more.  She writes in such a way that they are immediately engrossed in the story and are living vicariously through her characters.  Elkeles has truly filled a niche in my classroom library that was missing and has helped me share my love of reading with a new audience of readers.”
• Valerie Burleigh, ELA Teacher, Round Rock, TX

“I can’t keep your books on the shelves! The teens in my library absolutely love everything you write. They finish a book in one or two nights and are in the next day to check out anything and everything authored by you. I always order several copies of your books because I know how popular they will be. I also suggest your books to my reluctant readers. Most of these students have never finished a book but your writing gives them the hook they need to get started and the story is so good it keeps them reading. Thank you, Simone, for making my job as a young adult librarian easier. Keep writing so I can keep suggesting your new books to my readers!”
• Angie Miller, Library Media Specialist, Aurora High School, Aurora, MO

“Elkeles creates raw emotions, dialogue, and high-school ambience that’s just right.  Maggie and Caleb are authentic teens all readers will embrace and care about.  Theirs is a delicate, delicious love story.”
• Booklist, Frances Bradburn, reviewer

“I teach two classes of at-risk seniors as well, and they are all LOVING this book. Some of them have already finished (on their own) and have sought out the sequel. Leaving Paradise is making a difference and encouraging students to read more and open up about their own issues they face in their lives.”
 • Matt Donoho, English Teacher, Salem Community High School, Salem, IL

“Leaving Paradise is a reader’s dream: a compelling story filled with heart” 
• Alex Sanchez, author of the Rainbow Boys trilogy

“Leaving Paradise is a heart-felt read, from start to finish. With a captivating premise, twists and turns, and characters who leap off the page, Simone Elkeles delivers a touching and original tale about love, redemption and second chances. I loved this book, and recommend it highly!”
• Tina Ferraro, author of Top Ten Uses for an Unworn Prom Dress

“Elkeles writes convincingly about family tensions, retreating from painful reality, and teens outgrowing their old skins.” 

• Lillian Hecker, Town of Pelham Public Library, NY, reviewer, School Library Journal

“With it’s original premise, engaging characters and stunning twist, Leaving Paradise is another winner from How to Ruin a Summer Vacation author Simone Elkeles. 

• Marla Arbach, reviewer, YA Books Central

“LEAVING PARADISE was honestly an amazing story, and was wonderfully written to where whoever reads it will not be able to get the story out of their head. Simone Elkeles, author of the highly acclaimed HOW TO RUIN A SUMMER VACATION, has switched gears and made an issue that is so common her own and very unique. The relationship between Caleb and Maggie was so real and extremely heartwarming, and the ways that they struggled to continue their lives, both individually and together, makes you wonder if you are able to be as strong as they are.”

• Randstostipher Nguyen, reviewer, Teens Read Too

“In this gripping tale of personal drama, healing, and redemption, Elkeles keeps the pages turning with strong first-person writing from both Caleb’s and Maggie’s points of view. Both characters grow significantly over the course of the novel, and our perceptions change, too, the more we gradually learn about what happened the night of the accident. It’s such a skillfully woven story, with every new development and revelation a treat to be savored, that I don’t want to give too much away—but this one is highly recommended.”
• a.fortis (Sarah Stevenson), reviewer, The Edge of the Forest – A Children’s Literature Monthly


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