These boys stole my heart and melted it right into a puddle!!!
It’s only March 21st, not even a quarter of the way into 2017, and already I’ve read quite a few books that I know will be some of my favorite reads for the year when December rolls around, and Goodbye Paradise will be right there at the top of that list. It’s so beautiful and touching, it’s a little overwhelming for me to think about.
I’ve not read another book quite like this one. Joshua and Caleb have been brought up in what is basically a religious cult- with limited interaction with the outside world, the “Compound” is really all these boys know. This has not been an easy life for Josh: he’s not as tough or as strong as the other young men; his birth father died leaving him vulnerable to the whims of his stepfather and the other men in the compound. But what truly made living in Paradise unbearable for Josh are the feelings he has for his best friend Caleb- because those feelings are not something the people there would ever accept or understand.
He was the last one I saw before I closed my eyes at night and the first person I looked for when I opened them again in the morning.
Caleb has always been there for Josh, protecting him, helping him, defending him. He’s known it was just a matter of time before Josh was cast out by the elders, but unknown to Josh, he had a plan all set in motion for when this happened. Caleb is so strong and protective, the care he takes with Josh reduced me to tears on numerous occasions. (And it may be happening again right now) He's the fixer, the care taker, the one you can always lean on.
“We’re going together. But if they toss you one morning and I don’t see it happen, I have to know where to find you.”
Once they've been set free of the confines of the Compound, not only do Josh and Caleb have to learn to navigate the real world, they’re finally free to express their feelings for each other, and that in and of itself can be quite a challenge for 2 people who have always had to hide their true selves. Their love story is a journey of highs and lows, but one that is so worth the ride.
”My whole life I’d wished for things. But I’d never known how confusing it might be to see my wishes come true.”
Goodbye Paradise is so unbelievably wonderful and lovely and just plain special. I don’t think my love for it can be adequately expressed in a few adjectives or sentences. This book is so much more than just two friends falling in love and finding their way in the world. It’s a true testament to the human spirit and how a little compassion can mean the world to someone.