Published: January 1st 2008
Publisher: Walker Books for Young Readers
Details: Paperback, 360 pages
My rating: 5/5
A story about two teenagers, she rich from north side of town and he a gang member from the south side of town, who are reluctantly paired up in chemistry class, then end up falling in love. All though there are no paranormal elements here, this is a wonderful read. I was practically glued to the pages, reading it in one sitting. The love story blew me away!
My Full Review:
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.
Simply put, amazing book. I knew from all the rave reviews that this was a WOW-sort of book, and I had high expectations. Amazingly, it still exceeded those expectations. I was blown away!
Simon Elkeles has created a wonderful story that will get under your skin and stay with you for a while. I don’t know how she did it. The story is not that original, far from actually. In fact, when I first read the summary, it felt sort of cliché. Cheerleader gets teamed up with bad boy in chemistry class and finds out that well, they have a lot of chemistry going on. And the book cover doesn’t really help. Let me just say, it’s not the sort of book I would want to be caught reading on the subway.
So what then makes it so special?
It is essentially the writing, and the character development. You can literally feel the two main characters falling in love as they get to know each other better. It’s so real you feel and breath with them, you feel the pain of each obstacle as if it were your own and the joy when they start understanding each other.
The book is told in alternating POV’s which is great, as you get an insight in both characters thoughts, thus realising what they are both struggling with, and the perception they have of each other, and how that changes over time. Alternating POV’s is not always great, and I often find that authors don’t distinguish the voices enough. They end up blurring into each other, making the story somewhat confusing for the reader. For instance, I felt this problem with Shiver.
In Perfect Chemistry however, the voices of Alex and Brittany are so clearly different that not once did I stop and wonder who was who. One aspect which helped, and also made the story telling more authentic, was the Spanish phrases thrown in here and there into the POV of Alex. I loved that. It made him feel even more real. Brittany felt very real as well, and I completely bought the troubles she had, despite being rich, beautiful and the most popular girl in school.
All in all, this is a great book about a great love story where you really root for the main characters, I think I dare say as much as I rooted for Bella and Edward in Twilight. There is a sequel called Rules of Attraction, which follows Alex’s little brother Carlos in quest for happiness in his life. Apparently, this includes a great love story too. Needless to say, I am very eager to get my hands on this book!