Friday, March 22, 2013

Review: Perfect Chemistry

Perfect Chemistry
Perfect Chemistry #1

Author: Simone Elkeles

Publication Date: December 23, 2008

Publisher: Walker Books for Young Readers

Genre: Contemporary



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 Thoughts: I picked this book up because recently I had been seeing everywhere.  So, I just grabbed it one day when I was in the book store for a Christmas present and brought it him.  I am ashamed to admit that it said on my TBR shelf beside my bed for this long without being read.  I remember picking it up at one point and reading the first chapter then setting it back down.  I wasn't sure what I was going to think of the whole gang thing, but I was pleasantly surprised when I finally sat down to read the whole thing.

This was a kind of Romeo-Juliet-esque story.  Brittany was from the right side of the tracks, Alex was from the wrong side of the tracks.  Right from the beginning they hated each other and knew they would never work out together.  But when they finally begin to warm up to each other and let each other in, their families, friends and lives stand in the way.

I didn't like Brittany at first, much like Alex.  Even from her POV it seemed to me like she was a little too obsessed with perfection.  Everything she did had to be perfect from her hair, her clothes, her grades, reputation - even the boy she dated had to go along with the perfect image.  Despite her referencing her "deep dark secret" and her horrible family life, I thought she was just the next perfection driven cheer captain.  However, when we see exactly what is happening with Brittany at her home with her family I really came to sympathize and even like her a little.  There were moments where I just thought she was being over-dramatic or stupid, but other times when she handled crazy situations with a lot of grace.

Despite being a gang member, I really liked Alex from the get-go.  He was snark and funny - but he was also putting on an image of what people thought he should be to the world.  Deep down he was still funny and snark, but also caring, gentle and would do anything to protect his family and find out who murdered his father.  Alex was one of the sweetest guys I have read about in a while.  His character was so well developed he almost-literally came to life on the pages.

I really, really liked this book.  It would totally have gotten a five from me if it weren't for some strange moments with Brittany that I felt may have been a little out of character and it pulled me out of the novel a bit.  I loved the intensity of the emotions and situations.  If you haven't picked this book up yet, you definitely should!


  1. I need to give this series a try. I've been seeing it EVERYWHERE and a lot of people have been saying really good things. I had no idea it was like a Romeo and Juliet-type story -- I'm intrigued!

    Great review, Kristal!

  2. I have seen this one around, but haven't picked it up yet. I enjoyed your review and am glad to hear that the book is a great one. I am curious to read it. Thanks for sharing!

  3. I enjoyed this one too -- it's a great book for people who liked Pushing the Limits and the like!


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