YA book reviews, reading and recommending since 2009

Archive for April 3, 2010

Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles

Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children’s
Publication Date: April 1st 2010
Buy it from: Book Depository (free shipping worldwide!)
Gold star (4/5 stars)
Synopsis: A fresh, urban twist on the classic tale of star-crossed lovers.
When Brittany Ellis walks into chemistry class on the first day of senior year, she has no clue that her carefully created “perfect” life is about to unravel before her eyes. She’s forced to be lab partners with Alex Fuentes, a gang member from the other side of town, and he is about to threaten everything she’s worked so hard for—her flawless reputation, her relationship with her boyfriend, and the secret that her home life is anything but perfect. Alex is a bad boy and he knows it. So when he makes a bet with his friends to lure Brittany into his life, he thinks nothing of it. But soon Alex realizes Brittany is a real person with real problems, and suddenly the bet he made in arrogance turns into something much more. In a passionate story about looking beneath the surface, Simone Elkeles breaks through the stereotypes and barriers that threaten to keep Brittany and Alex apart.

Review: When a book gets a lot of hype, I tend to have too high expectations for it and end up getting disappointed. Thankfully, in Perfect Chemistry, most of my expectations were met. Before I begin, if you want to know what to expect from Perfect Chemistry, is basically the darker, slightly grittier version of The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen.

Brittany is a kick-ass heroine for the most part. She strives to appear perfect but readers are shown how the opposite of perfect her life is. Her parents are the most selfish people, ever… the way they cared so little for their other daughter was disgusting. Thank goodness Brittany is sensible person and takes good care of her sister. Along comes Alex. Brittany loves her boyfriend, yet she can’t stop thinking about Alex. In terms of credibility, I was convinced on how Brittany slowly fell for Alex. The more time she spends with Alex, the more of her true self is unraveled. It was wonderful watching their love slowly blossom in this book as so many books rush the relationship and readers will be unconvinced. Their romance was full of tenderness and very fragile. A wrong move could result in the Third World War, I enjoyed their journey tremendously. Brittany’s character was utterly real, and her anger and frustrations were palpable and completely understandable. I loved her gradual growth in the story. Alex is complicated, tough, rebellious, and unforgettable. He has his own fears and painful secrets behind his bad-boy exterior. Some secrets that were quite painful and saddening to read about.

While the secondary characters were not as likable as the MCs, I found Isa and Paco strong characters who stood out among the rest of the secondary characters who fit into the various stereotypes. By the other secondary characters, I mostly refer to Brittany’s friends. The jock boyfriend, the jealous friend, the kind best friend etc etc. But for Alex’s friends, I thought they were each unique individuals and they were enjoyable to read about. (Makes me very excited for Rules of Attraction!). Back to Isa and Paco. Both of them had inner worlds that we can all relate to.

I do have some complaints though. Why did Brittany change so much at the end? It was as if her steel armor was completely gone and replaced by a weak heroine who needed a guy. Can I throw my book out the window? No of course not. I still enjoyed 3/4 of the book. *sniff* I wish it had been done differently but oh well.

The ending was a little too cheesy and unbelievable but I still liked it.

*SPOILER*

I am super glad Brittany did not attempt to do any crazy cliff-jumping when you-know-who did you-know-what. 😉

*SPOILER ENDS*

You will laugh, cry, fall in love and ride the emotional roller-coaster with the characters as you lose yourself in this impressive novel. Perfect Chemistry is in stores now in UK and USA.

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