Author: Simon Elkeles
Series: Perfect Chemistry #1
Publisher: Walker Books
Date: December 2008
Buy the Book • Goodreads
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.
So many people have told me that this book is amazing. And for some reason I put off reading it for quite some time. Mainly, I think, because it is a contemporary chick lit, a genre which I’m not usually that interested in. Well, let me tell you, this book has completely changed my mind about that! Not only was it as amazing as I was told, it was actually far better than many paranormal/fantasy books I’ve read over the years (my usual genre). I LOVED this book!
Here we have 2 complete opposites. Brittany – She’s a white girl from the north side of town, where cars and houses and appearances are everything. She’s captain of the pom poms, most popular girl in school and underneath all that she’s screaming inside. She hates putting on the appearance of being perfect and just wants to be herself. But her mother expects her to be the best. Alex—he’s a Mexican gang member from the south side of town, where crime, gangs and low income housing is a plenty. He’s a member of the Latino Blood (LB), he’s known for being the bad boy, and nobody messes with him. But like Brittany, inside he’s someone else. He’s only a gang member because he doesn’t have a choice, he just wants to keep his mother and brothers safe and knows LB will protect them if he does as he’s told.
You put these 2 together and you get one amazing story! Watching their relationship progress was so interesting. I was literally glued to my kindle for 3 days. I couldn’t get enough of this book. They are paired together in chemistry to do a project and at first they completely butt heads. Eventually though their need to be themselves (rather than the appearance they put on) becomes the connection between them. The question is, can the worlds of these 2 people mix? And can they each put aside gangs and appearances in order to be together?
At the heart of this book is a great love story. Alex… oh Alex. If you’ve read it, no further explanation is needed. If you haven’t then, let’s just say he’s the perfect bad boy with a heart. I wish I had an Alex all to myself! Never before have I routed for 2 people to be together so badly. The 2 main characters were just written so well. And despite the main story being about Alex and Brittany, I also liked the sub characters within this story… such as Alex’s best friend Paco and Brittany’s unlikely friendship with Isa. These sub plots added more to the story which I really enjoyed.
Lastly I think what makes Perfect Chemistry stand out is the message behind the story. The fact that people from different backgrounds or races or religions are still just people at the end of the day. Divisions shouldn’t stop them from being friends or in the case of Alex and Brittany, more than friends. Recommend to all!