Monday, May 3, 2010

Book Review: Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles

Review: Perfect Chemistry
Series: Fuentes Brothers Trilogy – Book 1
Author: Simone Elkeles
No. Of Pages: 357
Release Date: 23 December 2008

At Fairfield High School, on the outskirts of Chicago, everyone knows that south siders and north siders aren’t exactly compatible elements. So when head cheerleader Brittany Elis and gang member Alex Fuentes are forced to be lab partners in chemistry class, the results are bound to be explosive. But neither teen is prepared for the most surprising chemical reaction of all – love. Can they break through the stereotypes and misconceptions that threaten to keep them apart?

“Miss Ellis?” Mrs. Peterson says. “It’s your turn. Introduce Alex to the class.”

“This is Alejandro Fuentes. When he wasn’t hanging out on street corners and harassing innocent people this summer, he toured the inside of jails around the city, if you know what i mean. His secret desire is to go to college, and become a chemistry teacher, like you, Mrs. Peterson.”

Brittany flashes me a triumphant smile, thinking she’s won this round. Guess again, gringa.

“This is Brittany Ellis,” I say, all eyes now focused on me. “This summer she went to the mall, bought new clothes so she could expand her wardrobe, and spent her daddy’s money on plastic surgery to enhance her, ahem, assets. Her secret desire is to date a Mexicano before she graduates.”

Game on...

My Thoughts:

I read this book in three hours, which is a new record for me, that is how good it is.

Perfect Chemistry is the perfect modern tale of star-crossed lovers. We’ve had Romeo & Juliet, Westside Story and now Perfect Chemistry.

Brittany is from the “right” side of the tracks. She lives in a big house, has perfect friends, perfect grades, is the perfect cheerleading captain and has a perfect family. Supposedly.

Brittany actually can’t talk to half of her friends, has to study hard like everyone else, is getting over cheerleading and her family is a mess. Shelley is Brittany’s older sister, and she has multiple-sclerosis, one of the main reasons that I loved Perfect Chemistry was the way Brittany treated her sister. No matter what Shelley did to her, Brittany still defended, loved and protected her, although her parents thought she was too much of a handful Brittany made sure that Shelley was as happy as possible.

Alex is from the “wrong” side of the tracks. He lives on the Latino side of town, is in a gang and works hard to help his family get by.

Alex is the ultimate bad boy at school, and everyone knows it. People refuse to look him in the eye others are scared to speak to him and most just avoid him altogether. There are rumours that he has killed dealt drugs and is in multiple knife fights with other gangs.

Alex is commendable in his behaviour. He doesn’t want to be in the Latino Blood, but he is and once you get in, there is no getting out. Alex works hard throughout Perfect Chemistry to try and keep his younger brothers away from the gangs. He has strong family values and respects his mother, something we don’t see too much in YA at the moment.

Brittany and Alex are in chemistry together, and clash from the beginning. There are constant pranks and jokes as they try to make the other stumble and look a fool. Once they put aside their differences though and see that although they are from different sides of the tracks, in a way they are the same.

Both live up to an image, both don’t really want to be there and both would like someone to talk to.

Alex is originally dared to talk to Brittany on a bet. His motorcycle for his friend’s car and seeing as Alex’s motorcycle is like his baby, he will do anything to keep that from happening. The bet is that he can sleep with her before the end of school.
Inevitably though, they get to know each other. Through the constant bickering and name-calling they become friends. Alex teaches Brittany how to drive a manual, Brittany opens her life up to Alex and they get on, even though they are getting it from all sides, they stick together.

Perfect Chemistry is a beautiful tale, and no matter how much I say I love it, it won’t be enough. If the teachers are smart in a few years this will be getting used in English classes because of its beautiful prose and modern take on a classic tale.

Others in this Series:
Rules of Attraction

Also reviewed by:
Sarah's Book Reviews

Available at:
Book Depository


Leilani @Leilani Loves Books said...

I loved loved loved this book! You'll love Rules Of Attraction!

elizabeth said...

I have yet to read this book, and I've heard so many great things about it. I definitely need to read it!

Wings said...

i was kicking myself after letting it sit on my reading pile for so is such a well written book.

Lorielle said...

This is one of my all time favorite books. I loved it and gushed over it to everyone I know!

Sarah said...

Fab review hun, I've added your link to mine :o)

Alyssa Udall said...

I loved this book too, and I'll definitely be reading it again! Even though the ending was a little too perfect for my tastes :)
- Alyssa of Redhead Heroines
Book Review of "Perfect Chemistry" by Simone Elkeles

sanny said...

I really love the "Perfect Chemistry"-Series! One of my favorite books!
I can't wait for "chain reaction" to be released in august!

Too bad you didn't like "Leaving Paradise". I enjoyed reading it alot!

Greetings from Germany :D


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