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Monday, February 18, 2013

Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles

"What would it take for you to go out with me?" he asks. 
"You're not serious."
"Do I look like I'm jokin'?"
"Nothing.   I would never go out with you."
OK where do I start with Perfect Chemistry.  I read this book years ago when it first came out in 2009.  I picked it up because I was upset about the summary.  I didn't like the fact that the boy was a stereotypical Mexican gang member.  I bought this book to read it, that way I could rebuttal her story.  I was livid, I planned to write a letter to the author telling her a thing or two!  Well, I read the book and I did write the author, not to fight, but to thank her for making Alex a wonderful, redeeming character, for not making him stereotypical and for her wonderful story.  I LOVE ALEX!!
I decided to review this book because it is one of our most popular check-outs.  I can not seem to keep Simone's books on the shelves! 
A fresh, urban twist on the classic tale of star-crossed lovers.

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.
My Two-Cents:

Told in alternating points of view we have Alex Fuentes, a gang member from the south side of Fairfield, Chicago.  He is smart, yet guarded.  He is loyal to a fault and he desires more from life then what he is told he is born to do.  He has dreams and aspirations that go far beyond living a gang life.  He wants to be more than just a gang member and die like his father.  Alex’s father was murdered when he was little, shot in front of their house with Alex right next to him.  Born in this neighborhood and being the oldest son of a dead gang leader, Alex is considered a legacy and needs to join the gang not by choice but as a way to survive, a way to make sure his family is safe and taken care of and in his mind to make sure his little brothers steer clear of this gang life.

Then we have Brittany Ellis.  The perfect, perfect Brittany Ellis.  What we see is what we get.  But this is not the case.  Brittany’s life looks perfect on the outside, but there is more to Brittany then she lets on.  She is very guarded about her personal life and she struggles to be perfect for everyone around her including her very demanding overbearing mother.  A façade she feels will crumble any day.

Brittany and Alex are on the opposite ends of everything.  When they are partnered together in Chemistry class, they really hate each other, each already having a preconceived notion of the other.  As they get to know one another and work together they find that not only were they wrong about one another but that in a perfect world they may actually be friends.

It is the classic star-crossed lover’s story about two people who are so different from each other; they end up being right for one another. 

This book hits on strong themes of acceptance, diversity, courage and independence.  In my experience with this book it is well accepted by both male and females alike.  It is a popular choice among reluctant readers as well.  There are two other books in The Perfect Chemistry Series.

Come get it!  We have this and ALL of Simone’s books here in your library!!

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