Publisher: Walker Childrens
Release Date: December 23, 2008
Age Level: Young Adult
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
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. (Goodreads)
One word. FANTASTIC!
Perfect Chemistry was the first book I read by Simone Elkeles, and she just blew me away. I read this in one sitting... which meant staying up more than half the night. I can’t remember the last time I’ve done that! The next day, I went back and re-read parts of it… wanting to just devour it again. This was like West Side Story and The Outsiders meets Pretty in Pink. The writing is amazing, and I was completely immersed in the story. The characters are believable and have so much depth. I never would have thought I could get emotionally attached to a “perfect” cheerleader and a gangbanger! Hmmm… all I can do is gush… so how about a list of things I LOVED about this book:
- I LOVED how the chapters alternate perspectives between Brittany and Alex, so that you could get entirely into their heads.
- I LOVED that the story is about two kids from opposite sides of the tracks, with differences in wealth, race, and social circles.
- I LOVED that Brittany could recognize her own façade.
- I LOVED that Alex was a smarty pants.
- I LOVED that Brittany was so dedicated to her sister
- I really liked the friendship that developed between Brittany and Isabel, and how realistic it was…
- I LOVED how Elkeles tied in so many life lessons into a beautiful love story (don’t judge a person by how they appear on the outside, or where they are from).
- Most of all, I LOVED the chemistry between Brittany and Alex!
Seriously, I can’t say enough good things about this book! I did find the ending to be a little too… tied up in a neat little bow… but I loved the characters so much that I just ate it up. In case you couldn't tell... I highly recommend this book! Be advised that this is aimed toward older teens as it deals with drugs, sex, and gang violence.