Saturday, February 1, 2014

Review: Perfect Chemistry (Perfect Chemistry #1) by Simone Elkeles

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.


This was my first Simone Elkeles book. I've been meaning to start Perfect Chemistry for forever, but it got pushed back as the years went on. Anyway, I finally read it, and it was AMAZING. I loved every moment, and I did not want to put this book down at all. This is one of those books that I would definitely go back and reread just for the sheer joy of losing myself in the story again.

The book is the story of Brittany Ellis, a seemingly perfect girl, who lives in the rich, North side of Chicago, and Alex Fuentes, a gang member from the south side. Alphabetic order has them sitting next to each other on the first day of senior chemistry class, and despite mutual hatred they fall in love with each other. What I loved about this book was the whole people with differences finding similarities theme. Even though, there's a 1% chance that this love story would play out in real life, the way the story's told sets aside the cliches, and you are swept away by the story Elkeles tells.

I loved Brittany's character because she had so many layers. Having a mentally-disabled sister had to be tough, yet she deals with it just fine. She always puts her sister's needs above her own, even deciding to go to college close to home, so she could still take care of her. I was surprised at her parents' treatment though; they were concerned with image and prestige wayy too much, always putting pressure on her to appear perfect. Still, Brittany remained a strong character throughout the book, which gave the story a lot of depth.

Alex was also an interesting character. The gang dynamic Elkeles provided was insightful, and interesting to read. Alex isn't in a gang for the drug money and such, but rather to secure protection for his family. It was interesting to read about the dangers he faced and life he wished he had instead. Alex, like Brittany, was quite different than what people thought him to be. He's smart and motivated; the only thing holding him back is his gang rep. I felt he and Brittany were complementary opposites; they found similarities within their differences and that was what made their relationship unique.

Overall, this book was a great read, and I will definitely be reading the rest of the series, and checking out the rest of Simone Elkeles's books.

Overall Rating: ★★ 5 stars

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