Review: Perfect Chemistry

Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles

Publisher: Walker Books for Young Readers


Source: Purchased

From cover:

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.

I’ve seen all the great reviews for Perfect Chemistry, but never really felt compelled to read it. I thought it would be a cheesy mash up of West Side Story meets Romeo and Juliet love story. Instead, I was delightfully surprised to find out that the book was beautifully written with in depth characters and a plot that kept the readers drawn in.

You know how much I love awesome characters and Alex and Brittany are no exceptions to it. On the surface Brittany seems to be leading the perfect life as captain of the cheerleading squad while Alex is a gang member from the other side of the tracks. But as the story alternates between Brittany and Alex’s point of view, the reader slowly sees the depth hidden behind the masks they hide behind. The characters are complex and real, which made the story that much better. I never thought I would fall in love with a gangbanger, but Alex pulled me in like a moth to a flame. I’ll admit I have a soft spot for bad guys with a good heart (I mean, who doesn’t?!).

Just like the characters that make this book, Perfect Chemistry is more than just another love story between star crossed lovers. There’s so much depth to the story and it forces you to look beneath the surface and see pass social differences and skin color.

If you’re a fan of young adult, I’m sure you’ll love Perfect Chemistry. I’m definitely excited to try some of her other books.

Loosely based off of each other series order:

  1. Perfect Chemistry
  2. Rules of Attraction
  3. Chain Reaction

[ purchase from amazon ] [ visit the author ]


Posted on December 30, 2010, in 4.5 stars, book reviews and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.

  1. This sounds like an awesome book! I’ve seen it around the blogisphere too but didn’t really give it a thought. I’m definitely adding this to my TBR list. Thanks for the great review!

  2. This sounds really cute! I’ll have to check it out! Was this made into a movie or am I just imagining things?

  3. haven’t seen this one anywhere yet and the cover seems a teeny, tiny bit overblown to me. 🙂 i’m such a critic, right? the premise sounds good–true to high school and everything–but how are the character voices? i find that some YA authors struggle when trying to sound authentic–not too hip not too square. what you do say about this one?

    • i know what you mean about the cover! i’m not loving it too much either and i think that’s also one of the reasons i put it off for so long.
      i have the exact same problem with most ya books! but i think elkeles manages to portray the characters in a pretty authentic way. i remember really liking the characters without feeling like the author was trying to hard to make the characters sound real. i’m sure some of your students would enjoy reading this one.

  4. I’m not crazy about the cover either, I must say 😛 But I’m glad the book surpassed your expectations.

  5. As a Spanish speaker, I struggled with her Spanish words (they felt out of place and misused) but I enjoyed your review 🙂

    • ohh! i’m glad you mentioned that. i always wondered what’s it like for people who actually understood the words. i’m sorry to hear that the words were used improperly. i had no idea since i can’t understand spanish.

  6. Glad to see your positive review! Like you, I’ve been thinking this would be a really ridiculous and — yes — cheesy modern retelling of Romeo & Juliet or the 5,000 other spin-offs out there . . . glad to know it’s much more than that! Bad boys with hearts of gold are the best, aren’t they?!

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