Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles

Perfect Chemistry 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.

Description from


Perfect Chemistry was like an urban Romeo and Juliet.  Luckily, no double suicide though!  Alex and Brittany go to high school in the suburbs of Chicago.  Their town is very split (north and south-side) to such an extreme that sparks fly when a chemistry teacher assigns yearlong lab partners alphabetically.  Brittany Ellis and Alex Fuentes think they have nothing in common, yet they grow closer together as they realize that they’re both not who they pretend to be.  Reputations are everything to them, whether it’s pretending to be the perfect blonde cheerleader, or the tough gang member, they both have secrets to keep.

I really enjoyed the characters and their depth.  I also enjoyed how Simone Elkeles could get us inside a gang to realize that good and bad is not as black and white as it seems.  In Alex’s world it’s not good or bad, it’s survival.  I didn’t enjoy all of the swearing, or the sex.  If it had been my personal copy, I would’ve had my white-out in hand. 

3 1/2 stars

357 pages (paperback)

Published: January 1, 2008

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