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.
What makes the perfect book? Is it when you finish a book and immediately want to read it again? Is it when you feel empty when it ends, because you were so absorbed into the story? Is it when you cry at the emotional scenes at the book? Well, whatever it is, Perfect Chemistry has it.
Yes, that is right. Perfect Chemistry is... well... perfect, or at least 99% the way there. I got straight into the book and it didn't release me until I turned the very last page. I've seen a lot of reviews say that the book doesn't correctly portray Latino gang culture, but I'm like, a hundred percent British and have no idea what is realistic portrayal, so to me, this book read very realistically. From Brittany, with her facade covering her broken family life, to Alex who is only a member of his gang to protect his family and secretly wants to make something of himself, the characters were so interesting, so multi-dimensional and completely real.
Which meant that I created a very strong emotional bond with this book and these characters, which made the reading experience more real. I empathised with both characters so deeply that I was in tears at some points of the book and just resisting the urge to throw things at other points. Elkeles beautiful writing had me gripped from the start, but what really kept me reading was the things that Alex and Brit went through for their love.
The book deals with real situations. At the start of the book, Brittany's boyfriend has just come back from summer break and all of a sudden he wants to take their relationship further. I totally respected Brittany's decision to not do anything. From the start, Brittany is strong but by the end of the book she is an independent young woman. I loved how well Elkeles portrayed Alex and Brittany's home lives, it really put across how difficult their relationship is, because of their social castes.
Alex is just... swoonworthy, Brittany never annoyed me. This pretty much makes a perfect set of main characters. Add a well developed romantic plot filled with obstacles, fall outs and a lot of sexual tension and you have the perfect mix. Put a big, climatic scene and break up and lots of emotional scenes and throw in a happily ever after and you have a book that I will never forget.
Do I even need to sum up this book? I've gushed about is for a full review, I really think that all I need to say is... well... perfect! I don't think that even that does the book justice!
Overall Rating: A+
Stand Alone/Series; First book in a series that can be read as Stand Alones
UK Release: April 29th 2010
UK Publisher: Simon and Schuster Childrens
Book received as a RAK from Les at My Keeper Shelf