Title: Perfect Chemistry (#1)
Author: Simone Elkeles
Published: December 23, 2008
Series: yes ('Rules of Attraction' and 'Chain Reaction' follow)
Amazon Summary: When Brittany Ellis walks into chemistry class on the first day of senior year, she has no clue that her carefully created “perfect” life was about to unravel before her eyes. She’s forced to be lab partner 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.
Perfect Chemistry’ kept popping up and I kept brushing it away - I wasn’t particularly appealed by the title or the cover and as many I’m sure you’re hesitating because you don’t want to read some painfully stereotypical story about a rich girl and a gang member. Well, as always, I’m defeated one way or another.
I think most weight in the story leaned on Alex being in a gang. Since it’s a baggaged topic and usually poorly portrayed, I was looking to read about it from another angle and I do find that Elkeles succeeded with what she put on the table. I know I was immersed in it.
I’d say ‘Perfect Chemistry’ is a classic story about forbidden love - two people from completely different worlds with only a wall between, thrust together and having to deal. It’s not exactly something you haven’t seen before and the plot involving the bet and how that was going to play itself out was beyond predictable, but I’d like to give all credit to Alex’s character for being the main interesting concept. Yes, I’m actually going to do that.
Sure, the bad boy thing is really taking over the world of YA but Elkeles gives so many sides and layers to Alex and makes you go through all of them with him. There was his cocky/confident/sexy side and his vulnerable/shielded/trapped one - you went from rolling your eyes at him to sympathizing with him.
I’m not on a roll with heroines lately and I haven’t got much to say about Brittany. There wasn’t anything that made me recognize Brittany or her personality. She was average, bland.
I’ve previously mentioned that I’m not big on love stories extending for too long (several months or more) because it easily gives the impression that the story never gets to the point, of if it skips for longer periods makes you feel like you’ve missed out on a lot material. But with ‘Perfect Chemistry’ I didn’t really notice it as a whole. Okay, admittingly, I was slightly bothered by the “five months later..” but quickly got over it. I actually liked that there was a good build-up to Alex and Brittany and a detailed execution.