Book Review: Paradise City by C.J. Duggan

Book Review: Paradise City by C.J. DugganParadise City by C. J. Duggan
(Website, Blog, Twitter, Facebook)
Published by Hachette on April 28th 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Fiction, New Adult, Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 336
Format: Paperback
When her parents decide a change will be good for her, seventeen-year-old Lexie Atkinson never expected they'd send her all the way to Paradise City. Coming from a predictable life of home schooling on a rural Australian property, she's sure that Paradise will be amazing. But when she's thrust into a public school without a friendly face in sight, and forced to share a room with her insipid, hateful cousin Amanda, Lexie's not so sure. Hanging out with the self-proclaimed beach bums of the city, sneaking out, late night parties and parking with boys are all things Lexie's never experienced, but all that's about to change. It's new, terrifying . . . and exciting. But when she meets Luke Ballantine, the sexy bad-boy leader of the group, Lexie can't help but wonder if Luke is going to be good for her . . . or very, very bad?

If you have been looking for a new adult novel with a distinct Aussie flavour, look no further than CJ Duggan’s Paradise City. The first book in a new series, this book has romance, rebellion and all the love and drama fans have come to expect from Duggan’s stories.

Lexie Atkinson has spend her life being home-schooled and being the perfect daughter. Now seventeen years old, Lexie gets the opportunity to live with her cousin, uncle and aunt by the beach in Paradise City. Paradise isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Lexie encounters mean girls, school year pranks and a room-mate who is less than happy Lexie has come to stay. But she also meets Luke Ballantine – surfer, school captain and school heartthrob. Lexie is not in the country anymore and her life has never been so complicated. But sometimes what a good girl needs most is to be a little bad…

Paradise City is a fun read and a great introduction to what promises to be an interesting series. Lexie is a great character. She’s naive about the way of the world but learns quickly once she is thrown into the deep end – a real life high school. The former home-schooled teen has to deal not only with her cousin Amanda who doesn’t trust or like her in the slightest but also with an intense crush at first sight when she meets Luke Ballantine. It might seem a little clichĂ©d but Duggan writes it in a convincing and authentic way. And despite all the completely out of date pop-culture references, this book felt fresh and new.

There is drama, conflict and a sizzling romance I didn’t want to put down. The high school antics are so very high school yet there in lies some of the appeal. These are teenagers who are acting like teenagers and they don’t seem out of place like these sorts of characters tend to do in other novels. I loved that even though Lexie’s parents were far away there was still a parental influence in the form of Lexie’s aunt and uncle (It’s a pet hate of mine for the parents to be completely written out. Whilst it may be easier to the characters to get away with everything without any kind of supervision – it’s just not believable for every character to be parentless. High five to Ms. Duggan for keeping parental figures around!).

Lexie’s relationships with her friends, family and the infamous Luke Ballantine are interesting and dynamic. There is tension at times but also genuine feelings and love for those in here life. I can’t wait to see what is next install for Lexie and the relationships she has formed in Paradise City.

Perfect for fans of Abbi Glines and Anna Todd, Paradise City is a fun and exciting read about love, family and surviving high school.



  1. Pingback: Book Review: Never Always Sometimes by Adi Alsaid

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.