The Compulsive Reader: Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles

Friday, December 5, 2008

Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles

Alex Fuentes is gang member from the south side of Fairfield, and Brittany Ellis is a privileged girl from the north. Each have a status and a reputation to uphold at Fairfield High, but they also have secrets—for Alex, it's the desire to break free from the Latino Blood gang and his tough image and succeed in life. Brittany's life may look perfect from the outside, but at home, her parents are struggling to deal with Brittany's handicapped sister.

Brittany and Alex are on the opposite ends of the social scene spectrum, but that doesn't stop their chemistry teacher from making them lab partners. It's hate at first sight for both, but as they learn more about each other and slowly move beyond the stereotypes, they'll discover completely new people.

Perfect Chemistry is the classic love story of two utterly different people falling for each other, despite their initial loathing. Elkeles breathes new life into the old tale, giving it a fresh teenage perspective by interchangeably writing in both Alex and Brittany’s point of view, keeping Perfect Chemistry fresh and evenly paced. The plot is realistic and sweet without being cliché, and the dialogue is perfect; gritty, and genuine. Each side is portrayed objectively, and though Alex and Brittany’s relationship does move at a fast pace, their thoughts, insecurities, hang-ups, and urges all ring true and are easy for nearly any teen to identify with.

Though it is an important part of the book, the romance doesn't dominate it: strong themes of acceptance, diversity, courage, and independence are also present, making for a powerful read that boldly faces the consequences of gang life, and offers an unflinching look at how difficult it is to extricate oneself from it. Elkeles has created a riveting and strong novel with an important and relevant message and a romance hotter than any exothermic reaction.

Perfect Chemistry will be available from Walker Books for Young Readers December 23rd, 2008!


Alea said...

Aww this sounds like a great book! I really like the cover too!

Diana Dang said...

Seems like a book I might like but might not like at the same time.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the preview! It looks really interesting, and kind of like some movies that have been put out lately. I look forward to checking it out.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the great review. I've been dying to get my hands on this one. Christmas always puts me behind. lol =)

Jammers said...

I loved this book!
A great read for those romantic/mushy people like myself (: