Saturday, September 12, 2009

Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles

Title: Perfect Chemistry (Book 1)
Author: Simone Elkeles
Pages: 368
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!!! :-)

---Report Card---
Originality: 10/10
Ending: 10/10
Characters: 10/10
Plot: 10/10
My reaction/enjoyment: 10/10
Theme: 10/10
Imagery: 10/10
Setting: 5/5
Voice: 5/5
Style: 5/5
Tone: 5/5
Cover: 10/10
Total Score: 100/100 (A+) !!!!!!!MY FIRST PERFECT SCORE!!!!!!!

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A Passion For Books September 12, 2009 at 10:17 PM  

OMG I absolutely loved this book. Seems I'm just like you. I didn't have a favorite book but now I do and its this book! Its just amazing! I cryed throughout this book (I haven't cryed because of a book in a really long time) but most of them were happy tears. And yes, the ending was the best. I had a smile stuck on my face for days after I was done reading. So glad you liked it.

So Many Books, So Little Time September 12, 2009 at 11:34 PM  

This is one of my favourite books too. I loved it. You'll be pleased to know that there's going to be a sequel called Rules of Attraction next May.

Eleni September 13, 2009 at 12:18 AM  

I totally agree w/ you Reg, this is one of my fave books too! How sexy is Alex?? hehe...I can't wait for the sequel :)

Jody Sparks September 13, 2009 at 3:33 AM  

You should try "Leaving Paradise" also by Simone Elkeles. I've read both and while I really liked "Perfect Chemistry" my first love will always be "Leaving Paradise." I believe it also may have a sequel to come out.

April (BooksandWine) September 13, 2009 at 6:35 AM  

I recently bought Perfect Chemistry, still haven't read it yet, though! I really liked your review, very well-written. It's good that this book has realistic dialogue, I hate when characters say stuff in books which totally does not ring true at all!

ReggieWrites September 13, 2009 at 6:38 AM  

Everyone loves this book! LOL! I guess I'm do different! I LOVE THIS BOOK! WOOHOO! I'm ordering LP off amazon...that has a sequel too! Simone Elkeles is a super writer! LOL! She's amazing!

Briana September 13, 2009 at 9:18 AM  

Awesome! I'll have to read this :D


Unknown September 13, 2009 at 6:07 PM  

Congratulations Reggie! You found your favourite book. This sounds like a real page turner. I haven't found my favourite book yet...I know I will one day. Maybe I'll try this one on for size. It sounds a bit like West Side Story.

chocowafer September 21, 2009 at 7:35 PM  

Okay, you got me really excited to read this! LOL. Too bad it isn't available at local bookstores. :(

Ladytink_534 December 28, 2009 at 3:16 AM  

I really, really want to read this one if you tag it as the best book ever read. I've wanted to read it since I heard of it but now I have extra incentive!

Pixie December 28, 2009 at 8:58 AM  

Great review. This is one of the best books I have read this year.

Sara December 29, 2009 at 8:09 AM  

OMG I loooved this book!! Can't wait to read the sequel and to hear Carlos story (hope we still get to read some about Alex and Brittany though!)

This is one of my all time favorite books, I told my sister to read it - and she loved it, then she told my cousin (who's like almost 30 years old) to read it and she loved it TOO! Who's next, my mum? ;) haha

Amna December 29, 2009 at 10:06 PM  

Oh wow!

I've heard this book is good :) Now I have no excuse but to get it!

mariska January 4, 2010 at 4:39 PM  

10/10 ? WOW ! i've seen this book on several blogs, and now i just need to have it !

Maria April 1, 2010 at 6:06 AM  

I love this book! Last night I had a friend over who's really good in Spanish, and I got her to translate the Spanish parts in Perfect Chemistry for me. It's been months since I've read it, but we just happened to start talking about the book. However, while she watched TV I found myself reading my favourite parts again and I now remember how much I love it. I finished Leaving Paradise today as well, and I don't know how Simone Elkeles does it :D

Emma Kate "Coops" @ Whats Cracking Coops April 5, 2010 at 9:03 AM  

I adored this book so much and I am so glad you've given it a really well deserved review! I agree with a lot of your Holy Grail books (LOL) and I cannot wait for Rules of Attraction - the trailer was amazing!

Jiinie April 9, 2010 at 7:03 PM  

Heard so many great things about this book. After months of pestering the library finally bought this book and I now have the opportunity to read it!!! So excited to see if it lives up to my expectations from reading all these glorious reviews on it :)

Lale April 16, 2010 at 8:59 PM  

I just finished it a few days ago and reviewed it, too. I think it catered perfectly to both my love of gritty action and my hopelessly romantic side. :)

Lynsey Newton June 18, 2010 at 1:19 AM  

WOW, you gave it a perfect score so it MUST be good. Heard a lot of good things about this book and was lucky enough to pick up a signed copy recently. All I've got to do now is read it!!

The Book Hour June 21, 2010 at 6:52 AM  

I can certainly see why this would make a perfect score! I love this book too. You should also check out Snitch by Allison Van Diepen. xx (Oh and make sure you read Elekele's 'sequel' Rules of Attractions it's really good too!)

Jennifer June 24, 2010 at 3:54 AM  

I have wanted to read this book for some time but the library didn't have it. They did have rules of attraction that goes with this book. Now that I have read your review I am going to have to buy the book.

@#$! July 25, 2010 at 2:03 PM  

I agree with you! and I also loved the ending! This is, with no doubt, one of my fave books. <3

Judit August 13, 2010 at 9:02 PM  

Such a wonderful book! I was holding my breath till the very end. There were so many twists! I wish I could already read Rules of attraction but this have to wait a little bit due to my current lack of money :)
Also great review, you sure know how to do that. I love your report card :)

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