Monday, July 25, 2011

Review: Perfect Chemistry

Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles
Published: April 21, 2010
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.

Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles is the only book that made me cry just because it was over. Sure I’ve cried during books. Usually I cry when something emotional happens, yet with Perfect Chemistry, I cried because I didn’t want it to end. I read the last twenty pages slowly in hopes of prolonging the end. I’m glad I finished it, but I still wish there was more. I wish there was more because Elkeles created a “perfect” book.

The hard part about reading a perfect book is trying to find the perfect words to describe it. All words seem inadequate when used to capture how I feel about Perfect Chemistry. Beautiful? Yes. Haunting? Yes. Romantic? Uh, YES! Memorable? Epically so. One to be read again and again? Yes. I already want to dive back into the lives of Alex and Brittany. I don’t bow down often, but Elkeles, I bow down to your masterful storytelling.

Two characters everyone should know: Alex Fuentes and Brittany Ellis. Alex, the Mexican-American gangbanger, and hottie to-the-max, is trapped in a dangerous world he knows will never let him free. The only way he’ll ever break away from this gang is if he’s murdered. So many times throughout this book I wanted Alex to just leave, but then I thought about it realistically and realized he couldn’t. Elkeles did not write a fairytale, she wrote a book that is real in more ways than I wanted. I couldn’t just wish for a sugarcoated lollipop and get it. This life Alex was in was scary and each page was gritty to the max. On the other side of the tracks is Brittany, the blond bombshell with everything she could want. Most importantly, all of it is placed exactly in its perfect order. On the outside, Brittany is the envy of most of her school. She’s got looks, riches, a popular boyfriend, and a college education all lined up. What’s the problem with this? Well, Brittany is hiding a secret about her family… maybe the Ellis’s aren’t as perfect as they’d like everyone to believe. Brittany never came off as a ditzy blond. Even though she fit the bill (on the outside), Elkeles gave Brittany character and depth. I really enjoyed her story and sympathized and loved her throughout the book.

When Alex and Brittany are forced to be Chemistry partners, Alex strikes a deal with his gangbanger buddies to lure Brittany into his embrace. With this as the driving force of the plot, Alex tries different ways to get on Brittany’s good side. A lot of sweet, funny, and yes, scary moments ensue. One point I’d like to make is Elkeles knows how to pace a story. She never rushed the plot, she never rushed the romance, and she never rushed the ending. I really hate when an author wraps a story arc before I have time to grasp on to anything meaningful.

Instead, Elkeles took her time developing not only every character, she took her time developing the setting and tone. I could see, taste, smell, and hear every minor detail within the pages of Perfect Chemistry. I think the main reason I cried at the end is because of this. I was so enraptured with every facet I couldn’t bear to see it end. I was completely won over and fascinated. Also, the characters were everything I could’ve asked for, and more. These characters were: smart, funny, witty, romantic, dangerous, sexy, and best of all, genuine.

In the end, just when Alex and Brittany discover that their judgments of the other were wrong, they find themselves sucked into a world that could either make them or break them. Lesson learned: never judge a person by the outside, if you do, you may find yourself missing out on finding your Brittany or Alex. Finally, like me, I hope all readers pick up a copy of Perfect Chemistry and ride the wild ride that wraps itself around the heart and never lets go.



  1. Great review! I'll admit that I didn't LOVE this one, but that's partly b/c it's not really the style of book I gravitate toward. But I did enjoy it a lot more than I thought I would, so that's good! :) I borrowed the sequel from the library & hope to read it soon. :)

  2. I need to get a move on and read this. All I've heard is good reviews, after reading your review it's definitely going on my next amazon order :-)

  3. kathy
    sounds like a good book. A roller coastal type. Hope to find it in my shelf soon

  4. I have this book on my shelf and it has been recommended to me SO many times! I think I am nervous to read it because of all the hype maybe! I haven't read many bad reviews of it. Everyone seems to love it so I should probably read it sooner than later!


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