Review: Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles

Monday, June 23, 2014

Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles

Date Published: December 23, 2008
Format: Paperback, 357 pages
Publisher: Walker Books for Young Readers
Source: Purchased
Series: Perfect Chemistry, #1
Purchase Links: Amazon / Barnes and Noble/ Book Depository

Synopsis from Goodreads:

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.

My Review:

   Don't be fooled by this book cover. For those who don't like this book cover (like me), the premise of the story is such a worthy read that you'll completely forget about the cover. For me, it doesn't grasp my attention but the summary did. I guess you could say this is a good story about star-crossed lovers. It takes place in a high school, where people from the north side (White people) and south side (Mexicans) don't cross. They just don't mingle. And coming from the south side, I can definitely verify that this is true.
   On the first day back to school, Brittany, the school's head cheerleader, and Alex, a south side gang member, get paired together as Chemistry partners. And a bet arises from this. Alex's friends bet that he can't get into Brittany's panties and Alex is up for the challenge.
   I was ready to judge Brittany as another one of those stuck up bimbos but she's so much more than that. Everyone assumes that she has the perfect life. She's rich, she's head cheerleader, she has her boyfriend, who is the captain of the football team, and she's popular. But her sister is mentally disabled, and her mother constantly expects for her to keep up a perfect image. But I think Brittany just wants to take off the mask and show the world who she really is and show that she isn't perfect. But at times, the way she would speak, I depicted her as retarded. And she could also get annoying but I didn't hate her. She just has a hard life and I pitied her. But her world changes as her life crosses path with Alex, Fairfield's notorious gang member.
   Alex is not your typical bad boy. He has a purpose for being the gang member that he is. He's in it because he has to take care of his poor family, which consists of his mother and two younger brothers. Ever since his father died, he had to step up. And he just wishes that he had a way out of the gang. Everyone sees him as this hardcore and tough guy but deep inside, he's very caring.
   Something that made this story so unique is bringing two races in a book together. A boy and girl. Poor and rich. Mexican and White. And then the author had the Latino characters speak Spanish, which made it seem more realistic. And, being Latino, I had the advantage of knowing what Alex and his friends were saying. It was very amusing and enjoyable. Brittany and Alex had the perfect chemistry and I'm not just saying that because that's the title. But it's so true. Their problems brought them closer and they just connected. They understood each other better than their own friends. They complimented each other and I just ship them so hard.
   Perfect Chemistry was very well written. The characters were realistic and so was the setting. The build up of the romance was spectacular. It was certainly not instant love as Brittany and Alex hated each other. It was the perfect buzz. Everything about the story just clicked for me. And I would recommend Perfect Chemistry to anyone who wants a very good and laughable, contemporary read.  It's a very funny read indeed.  

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