Friday, September 23, 2011

Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles

Release Date: December 2008
Publisher: Walker & Company
Age Group: Young Adult
Pages: 360
Format: Paperback
Source: Friend
Buy the Book: Amazon

In the outskirts of Chicago, at Fairfield High School, you are either a south sider or a north sider. And they don't really get along.
Alejandro Fuentes is a Mexicano gang member from the south, while Brittany Ellis is head cheerleader and, obviously, from the north. When these two opposites are partnered for Chemistry class the last thing they expect is to fall in love. But the ride is a bumpy one.
Alex is struggling to keep his family safe from the Latino Blood and trying to stay alive in the process. Meanwhile, Brittany's world is falling apart and her Little Miss Perfect image is starting to crack and show its ugly insides.
I'm going to start by saying that this book was better than I expected it to be. I really liked the plot and characters. When I read the synopsis for this book I was afraid that it was going to be too stereotyped and even though, in a way it sort of is, Elkeles made it work in a way that appeals to the reader. Personally, I found the Spanglish in the book a wee bit annoying. Let me explain. For example, Alex would be narrating and he would say something like: "Catch ya' later, mamcita." But it was tolerable. The thing I love about Alex is that he's a guy you don't want to mess with but if you peel away all those rough layers that he sports, he's a good guy without really letting go of his bad boy attitude or snarky personality. Their relationship is definitely an explosive combination but they are trying to make it work. Brittany's character was not my favorite. While I did admire her courage and could, partly, understand the pressure she was under and the need to keep up an image, I hated that she wanted to keep up appearances about her relationship with Alex. I didn't like how she didn't stand up for what they had and was a coward in that aspect.
All in all, the story was very good. It made me laugh and get angry and nervous and sad. I can guarantee you won't regret reading it!

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