Goodbye Paradise by Sarina Bowen
Most people called it a cult. But for twenty years, Josh and Caleb called it home.
In Paradise, there is no television. No fast food. Just long hours of farm work and prayer on a dusty Wyoming ranch, and nights in a crowded bunkhouse. The boys of the Compound are kept far from the sinners’ world.
But Joshua doesn’t need temptation to sin. His whole life, he’s wanted his best friend, Caleb. By day they work side by side. Only when Josh closes his eyes at night can they be together the way he craves.
It can never be. And his survival depends on keeping his terrible desires secret.
Caleb has always protected Josh against the worst of the bullying at the Compound. But he has secrets of his own, and a plan to get away — until it all backfires.
Josh finds himself homeless in a world that doesn’t want him. Can Caleb find him in time? And will they find a place of safety, where he can admit to Josh how he really feels?
I received an earc of Goodbye Paradise by Sarina Bowen from the author in exchange for an honest review. This has no way influenced my thoughts and feelings about the book.
Early this year I read Him and Us by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy and feel in love, so when I heard that Sarina was bringing out a new m/m book, I knew I needed it. And while I didn’t love it as much as my previous reads, I still really enjoyed it.
Goodbye Paradise follows protagonists Joshua and Caleb both members of a cult that they have lived with most of their lives. They used to go to school in the local town, but when the leader thought they were learning the wrongs things – he put a stop to that. And now they know no different. Most members haven’t seen the outside world and their lives are intertwined with everything and anything to do with the cult.
But Joshua has a secret – a secret that is deadly not only to him but Caleb as well. For most of his life, Joshua has wanted his best friend but it’s a sin. When Joshua suddenly find himself homeless, things are turned on their head and he doesn’t have anywhere to go.
Joshua was an interesting protagonist. He was quite innocent in most prospects, he didn’t know much about how the world really worked and he was in love with his best friend. I loved that we were figuring out the world with him. He struggled with his feelings for Caleb and trying to work with these feelings and step away from the world that he knew. I loved, loved that Joshua was great with kids
Caleb, on the other hand, knew a bit of the world outside and I loved his interaction with Josh and how he tried to show him how the world really is. However, I did find Caleb annoying at times – if you could say that. I felt that he moved things on quickly even when Josh was hesitant. But, not in an unconsented way just, influenced him in a little but.
The romance wasn’t my favourite, but I didn’t hate it at the same time. I thought it was totally adorable most of the time. They didn’t just have this love, but a deep friendship that I adored. They were best friends. However, I didn’t like the troubles that they have. I felt there was too much unnecessary drama and the tension was just too much at times.
I felt that at times the plot was a little slow and I was waiting and waiting for something bad to happen. However, I did like how Goodbye Paradise was more character driven and how emotions played a big part. These characters have lived a certain life, with certain beliefs are moving away from that is so damn hard.
The writing style of Goodbye Paradise was a hit and miss for me. When we were in Joshua’s perspective, his voice was a lot younger and harder to get a grasp on. However, I understood why his voice was presented this way – he doesn’t have the experience of being in the outside world.
Overall, I enjoyed Goodbye Paradise. It’s not my favourite novel out there, but I loved reading it. I loved falling for these characters. I am trying to slowly read more widely in a readership sense and it was great to see something different. The romance was adorable and although I didn’t always like the characters I do think their arcs were well done. Goodbye Paradise explores the notion of finding yourself, letting go and believing. It’s about falling in love, finding a family and starting new.
Have you read Goodbye Paradise yet? What did you think? Are you planning on reading it? Have you read any other books by Sarina Bowen? Let’s Chat!