Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles

At Fairfield High School, right on the outskirts of Chicago, it’s well-known that the south siders and the north siders do not mix.  Picture…. um…. west side story 😛 .  Alex Fuentes knows this well, he is from the south side, and part of a feared gang.  Life has never been easy for Alex and his family but thanks to his ties to the gang, he is able to protect them… just like his father did.  So when cheerleader Brittany Ellis becomes his chemistry partner, the results are like dynamite! 

Alex pictures life for Brittany picture perfect.  She has the designer clothes that he will never afford, she lives in a house that his own home would fit into seven times over.  She is exactly what is wrong with this world.  When Brittany looks at Alex, she sees a gang member, he is scary, strong, and from the wrong side of the tracks…. yet she can’t help but notice he is also strong, tall, and behind the hardness, something kind lays behind his eyes.

Can each break through the stereo types, their family beliefs of right and wrong, and their friends opinions?  Is there more to their chemistry than a class assignment and a grade?

Author Simone Elkeles and me, May 2010
Author Simone Elkeles and me, May 2010

Go back in time with me.  It is May 2010, and this Minnesota girl has found herself doing something she has never done before.  I had hopped a plane, and went to New York to BEA and I was at an author event for new YA authors.  For me?  This was book heaven.  😀 

At an event on my first night there with Reagan (Miss Remmer’s Reviews) I met Simone Elkeles, author of Perfect Chemistry.  She was bold, she was funny, and she was talking about her first book.

Flash forward to 2012.  Last year I had bought Simone’s book, I have always meant to read it…. but it went on the shelf waiting for me.  Then more recently I found it on audio at my library and decided more than enough time has passed while I waited to experience this book.

So what did I think?

At first, honestly, I didn’t know if I would like it.  When the audio starts, Alex has a thick Latino accent and I thought, too much… too stereo type…. bad boy from the wrong side of the tracks… perfect girl with everything…. too over done (think Pretty in Pink….Grease ) but author Simone Elkeles surprises me…

As the story unfolds, you learn that all is not as it seems…. Alex’s life is hard yes, but there is a reason he lives the way he does… and Brittany’s world behind the perfect front… is not so perfect at all…. in fact, these two have way more in common than you would have thought.

It didn’t take much time for me to really like Alex and what he stood for… and while Brittany took a little longer for me to warm too… I did… and wound up liking both protagonists very much.

In the end the only thing that took away from this read was the fact the last part of it seems to go good to great to bad, repeat…. good, to great, to bad… repeat. 

And maybe… as I type this…. it had to.  Alex and Brittany were so different…. it had to be difficult. 

Rules of Attraction is the conclusion of this story.  I will probably check it out as I feel I am invested in the love story that is Alex and Brittany.

9 thoughts on “Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles

    1. Thats a good question Patty…. I suspect the accent is more pronounce on this one in the audio… .so maybe… yet, later, the audio really grows on me and I start to enjoy the difference in the voices.

  1. Ah, there is now a third book as well, Chain Reaction. Each book deals with a different brother and all three books are good. Super popular with the high school students as well.

    Check out the very funny hip-hop trailer for this book on youtube

    1. Yes Stephanie! That is it! After I wrote my review I thought maybe I was just being silly or tired… but nope, you said how I feel here… love the book….. confused about the epilogue as I think the story continues….

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