Author: Simone Elkeles
Publisher: Walker Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: December 23, 2008
At Fairfield High School, on the outskirts of Chicago, everyone knows that south siders and north siders aren't exactly compatible elements. So when head cheerleader Brittany Ellis and gang member Alex Fuentes are forced to be lab partners in chemistry class, the results are bound to be explosive. But neither teen is prepared for the most surprising chemical reaction of all-love. Can they break through the stereotypes and misconceptions that threaten to keep them apart?
Alex Fuentes is a Mexican gang-member from the south side. Brittany Ellis is a cheerleader from the north side. Two completely different people from two completely different worlds. They are thrown together to be lab partners in their chemistry class, and at first, they hate each other. But as their walls start to crumble, and as they finally let the other in, they fall in love. Will they break through the stereotypes? Will Alex continue on with the bet? North and South. Rich and poor. Both have the same need: Love. They're the same person and complete opposites at the same time. Two worlds collide.
Perfect Chemistry is an explosive and powerful read accented with romance and complexity. Alex and Brittany are both generic stereotypes with a longing to get out of their problematic lives. Even so, they go about their daily lives, keeping up a façade, to uphold their respective reputations. Despite what their classmates think, Alex and Brittany aren't what they seem to be.
The relationship between Alex and Brittany grows and evolves throughout the story. It's fast-paced, but not rushed. All of their decisions and desires are easy for anybody to relate with. Elkeles alternates the book with Alex's and Brittany's point of views and keeps the book more unprejudiced through both characters' eyes. The harsh and piercing atmosphere only amplifies their personalities even more. The dialogue is real and honest; and the scattering of Spanish phrases thoughout attain a more authentic environment, pertaining to Alex's background.
The emotions that Elkeles evokes in Perfect Chemistry are raw and genuine, but dramatic and electrifying as well. Alex and Brittany go through many things but the biggest obstacle for both of them is to love and trust one another. And although the romance between both characters is important, Perfect Chemistry also focuses on themes of racism, diversity, misconceptions, and determination, making for a bold and compelling read that advertises the consequences of being involved in gang-life. Elkeles has written a beautiful novel with strong themes, and a romance more explosive than any exothermic reaction.
The Bottom Line: The best book I've ever read. I'm serious, when bloggers first interviewed me or if anybody asked me if I had a favorite book, I would've said no. That's how it went for the past 14 years of my life. How can I choose just one? But if you ask me now, Perfect Chemistry would be the first that would pop into my head. It's amazing. And surprisingly, I like the cover. Some people don't agree with me, but I think it's relevant to the story and to both Alex's and Brittany's personality. I love everything about it...especially the ending! You'll just have to read the book to find out! A+ ---> MY FIRST PERFECT SCORE!!! :-)
My reaction/enjoyment: 10/10
Total Score: 100/100 (A+) !!!!!!!MY FIRST PERFECT SCORE!!!!!!!