Author: Simone Elkeles
Release Date: December 23, 2008
Publisher: Walker Books for Young Readers
A modern tale of star-crossed lovers with a fresh urban twist. At Fairfield High School, on the outskirts of Chicago , everyone knows that south-siders mixing with north-siders can be explosive. So when Brittany Ellis and Alejandro “Alex” Fuentes are forced to be lab partners in chemistry class, this human experiment leads to unexpected revelations – that Brittany ’s flawless reputation is a cover for her troubled home life, that Alex’s bad-boy persona hides his desire to break free from gang ties, and that when they’re together, life somehow makes more sense. Breaking through the stereotypes and expectations that threaten to keep Brittany and Alex apart, Perfect Chemistry takes readers to both sides of the tracks in a passionate love story about looking beneath the surface.Review:I was introduced to Simone Elkeles when I read a raving review of this book on Eleni’s blog La Femme Readers (check out her blog, IT’S AMAZING) and I thought “okay, maybe later.” I told this to Eleni and she convinced me to read it NOW! And I did. I LOVED this book!
The one reason I didn’t want to read this book right away was because of the cliché plot line: rich white girl who has a horrible home life falls in love with a poor Mexican boy. But I was oh so wrong. Elkeles has such a great way of telling a story. She begins by introducing the characters and gives us a glimpse of their lives. From the very beginning, it’s obvious that there’s more going on than meets the eye. As the book progresses, the plot gets thicker and the story line gets steamier. It was all just perfect! I think the one thing that got me was the epilogue. No, just having an epilogue. See, the second book, Rules of Attraction, begins a few years after Perfect Chemistry. Now the epilogue in this book takes place quite a few years in the future. I got over it, though, and enjoyed every bit of this book!
Elkeles has this way of writing that makes her characters come to life and seem 3D. She writes in a realistic way that’s not forced or way to over the top “teen talk.” The thing is, many authors who try to capture the essence of “teen talk” make it sound horrible and all wrong. The thing was Elkeles is, I could imagine myself having the same conversations with my friends as Brittany and Alex do. And can I just say that Elkeles has awesome writing skills when it comes to writing from the POV of a boy.
Brittany and Alex seem so stereotypical at first: Brittany, the captain of the cheerleaders with the perfect boyfriend and the perfect life. Alex, the ultimate bad boy with tattoos and the tough outlook on everything. They’re so much more than that. Alex and Brittany have a lot of heart and care more than they let on. Alex has such a hard life but he’s got to keep it together for his family. Brittany must take care of her mentally disabled sister and has to be perfect since she isn’t. As the two of them interact with the other, they grow and get out of their shells to something bigger. Their snarky conversations were so much fun to read. Their down to earth, serious conversations showed how mature they were and how much they had grown.
Simone Elkeles has become one of my favorite authors. She writes realistic stories with sensible characters about realistic situation. You have to read Perfect Chemistry because it really is perfect.