Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles

Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles from The Figment Reviewby Kay Fraser

I have to say that this book hit close to home for me for various reasons. I guess I lived the whole Perfect Chemistry novel; in many ways, this novel describes my own relationship. Me: 100% Hispanic. My man: 100% upper middle class Minnesotan. Me: dark brown hair, dark eyes. Him: blond as can be, bright blue eyes, tall. We have always been opposites, yet…there is something there that seals the deal…where extremes collide to make perfect chemistry. Like magnets attracting, and bouncing off. There are no language barriers and no cultural barriers that can’t be broken when you really want something that feels true to you, and it’s just right.

Perfect Chemistry is the book where those same differences collide. It mixes Legally Blonde and West Side Story, bringing the plot to a whole new level of complexity.

This book is the story of Alex Fuentes, bad-ass gang member, and Brittany Ellis, high class Burberry queen. They sadly get stuck with each other in Chemistry class as partners. They hate each other with a passion, but deep inside…opposites attract.

Both Alex and Brittany are leading dual lives; they each have the one others have built for them, full of appearances to be kept, and the one they wish they had for themselves.

For Alex, there is no leaving his gang, the Bloods. A true Mexican gang, being a member of the Bloods will keep Alex’s family safe. He was initiated after his father was killed, and Alex’s participation guarantees that none of his younger brothers will have to join.

For Brit, her life is about looking perfect and being the perfect daughter her parents always wanted. But Brittany has  an older sister with a disability who she adores and feels responsible for. Brit’s sister might be the person Brit connects with the most in her life; not her best friends or her boyfriend.

As they get to know one another, Alex and Brit discover that appearances mean nothing… yet would you give it all up for something that has no future? Someone that will only bring pain and misery to your life? Someone you know no one will ever compare to?

I loved this book for many reasons. I haven’t read an issue driven book in a while, and this one displays emotions and the true natures of the characters. Narratives are outstanding and each character has a voice of his own. Alex’s mix of English and Spanish made me giggle. I don’t always agree with the author’s choice of words, but most of the Spanish  adds to the story. Perfect Chemistry made me want to try to look back to my Hispanic roots when writing, something I haven’t considered in a long time.

This is definitely a must-read for lovers of the YA genre. After I finished Perfect Chemistry I had to buy the second installment, Rules of Attraction, and now I can’t wait for Simone Elkeles latest book, Chain Reaction, which will be released August 16th. If the days would only go faster so that I could get my hands on it! A girl can wish, verdad?

Kay Fraser is a book designer from Buenos Aires, Argentina, residing in Minneapolis. Her dark secret? She is bilingual. When she’s not designing, reading, writing, over-drinking coffee, or chasing around her two little monsters, she’s on Twitter at @kaymfraser or blogging at designcomma.com.

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