Sunday, April 25, 2010

Perfect Chemistry

Perfect Chemistry
By: Simone Elkeles

At Fairfield High, everyone knows that south siders and north siders aren’t exactly compatible elements. So when cheerleader Brittany Ellis and gang member Alex Fuentes are forced to be lab partners, the results are bound to be explosive.

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? (from


I thought this was a great book. Already a fan of Elkleses other books (the How to Ruin series), I didn't really expect less. I will say this though. I was recommended this series by a very reliable book pusher (MA, I'm looking at you) and like the Ruin series I was initially a little hesitant. In my head I immediately thought that the whole modern day Romeo & Juliet, revamped West Side Story plot line was a bit played out. It's been done, you know what I mean? However, like Elkeles other books, it really doesn't matter. Elkeles has a way of taking whatever topic she's going for and making it brand new. It's really a testament to her amazing writing that a very classic story can feel so fresh and new.

I loved the main characters in this book, Alex and Brittney are perfectly written. It really highlighted how you shouldn't take anyone at face value, beacuse there is usually more just below the surface. If you open your eyes and heart you might just find a whole world that you never knew was there, and it might be just what you were looking for.

One thing I love about Elkeles is that she is exceptionally accurate in her characters and environment. Alex, his family and his friends all use a mix of spanish and english in conversation and although my spanish is limited to 4 years of HS language which ended 10 years ago, I've heard from reader's who are much more qualified to comment that the writing was dead on compared to what you might hear in that community. In addition, the portrayal of Brittney's disabled sister was done in a compassionate way that didn't demean her in any way, but showed what life caring for someone with a severe disability is like.
I thought this was a fabulous book and I look forward to reading Rules of Attraction, the next book in the series, which followes Alex's younger brother as he finds his way.


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  1. I had the exact same reservations when I picked this book up, "This story has been so many times." I was blown away how good it was considering the plot line. I just finished Rules of Attraction yesterday and it was another good read. Similar story/problems but yet very different and still fresh. Definitely worth the read.

  2. Cool review! I think you've just convinced me to read it...:]

  3. I have Rules of Attraction on hold at the library- as soon as it's in, I'm all over it!

  4. Excellent review! I really enjoyed Perfect Chemistry too. I'd heard about it for some time before I finally decided to give it a try and I'm so glad I did. I recently read Rules of Attraction and really liked it also. I think you'll enjoy it too.