Book: Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles
Series: Perfect Chemistry #1
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children
Date Published: December 23rd, 2008
Date Started: February 6th, 2016
Date Finished: February 8th, 2016
Other Books Reviewed: N/A
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 haven’t been in the mood to read contemporaries lately, but I’ve been in a bit of a reading slump. My go-to to pull me out of my slump is usually contemporary. I’ve been wanting to read Perfect Chemistry for a while now, and I thought this would be the perfect time. (Ha, see what I did there?)
I knew this was going to be a sort of modern Romeo and Juliet or a two different people born not the opposite sides of the track kind of story. But I wasn’t expecting how deep the story would go. I was expecting something light and fluffy, and I got anything but that!
The one thing I learned from this book was that appearances aren’t everything. But to both Brittany and Alex, their appearances are the way they survive. They have these stereotypical notions about each other and it makes them inherently hate each other until they’re force to be lab partners. I loved how they broke down each other’s walls and revealed who they really are. More than just a gangbanger and more than a pretty rich girl.
I really got invested in this book because of the way the characters were revealed. It makes you want to know more about each character. You want to know why they behave the way they do. I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough. When things started to get crazy at the end, I wanted to look away but I just couldn’t. It gets so intense!
Speaking of the characters, I really loved the best friends. It kinda gets tiring when the best friends fight and just stay away for the entirety of the book. Not in this one. They play such an integral part. The family dynamics were also interesting. I wasn’t a fan of either side of the parents, but I understood why they acted the way they did. One parent in particular had me cringing and fuming!
I also loved the little details that made this book feel realistic. The lives the main characters hid from the outside world were so complicated and yet all they were trying to do was survive it. The high school itself felt really realistic. I went to a high school where there was a mix of rich upper class students, middle class, poor, etc. This is the type of high school in Perfect Chemistry, and this is the first time I’ve ever seen a high school depicted like this in a contemporary novel.
This was a great read that had me emotionally invested and truly felt realistic. The romance was messy, there was action, and an awesome epilogue that featured my college! (Go Buffs!) If you’re a contemporary fan, I highly recommend this one!