May 11, 2010

Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles

Perfect Chemistry
Simone Elkeles
Walker Books for Young Readers
Paperback, 357 pages

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.


I’ve heard so many great things about Perfect Chemistry, so I was really excited when it arrived from Amazon. I couldn’t wait to open it up and get lost in the story of Alex and Brittany.

Perfect Chemistry is the story of Alex and Brittany, two teenagers with completely different backgrounds. Alex is a gang member from the wrong side of town. After watching his father get killed, he is now in charge of taking care of his family. Brittany comes from a well to do family, and has everything she could possibly want except the freedom to be who she wants. She always has to be perfect, and slowly starts to resent her parents, and her friends. When Brittany and Alex are paired together in Chemistry, the tension and dislike is mutual, but slowly as they start revealing the “real” parts of each other they find a common bond.

I did like Perfect Chemistry, but it isn’t a favorite of mine for a couple of reasons. My reasons are really not big deals, but to me they border on overwhelmingly annoying. First, I’d like to point out that I’m hispanic, and I think that the problems I do have with this book are a directly associated with that. The use of mamacita is all over this book, and I find the word, dorky. There are a lot of hispanic words to convey a cute, fine girl, but mamacita is probably the lamest of them all. Simone Elkeles was potraying Alex as a tough cute hot guy, but for me I wasn’t feeling it. I find Esai Morales a extremely good looking bad boy, but if he was to say mamacita to me, his appeal would suddenly drop to nothing. Another thing I disliked about Perfect Chemistry is the hispanic words dropped in a middle of a sentence. I understand Alex is mexican, but was it really necessary to drop a hispanic word in almost all the sentences. Okay, maybe it wasn’t in almost all of them, but it seemed like it was. I don’t read much of chica lit because of that very same thing. Why? Please latino authors, or authors that have latin characters do you have to do that. We get it they are latino, you don’t have to shove it down are throats. Okay, I feel better now.

Now I didn’t dislike the book as a whole because I loved the opposites attract storyline, and I loved the progress these characters made throughout the book. I do feel that Simone Elkeles potrayed the gang world in a somewhat realistic way, though I’m not sure, because I’ve never been in one, but it seemed realistic to me.

All in all, Perfect Chemistry was a good read with some annoying tendencies.

Rate: 3/5


  1. Great points. Thanks for your honest review. I'm Hispanic so I wonder what I'll think of it. I wonder if the writer is Latina. Sometimes I find non Hispanics that write about Hispanics tend to try too hard.

  2. WOW! Like the new blog look! Very pretty! (although I did like the coffee too!)

  3. I love your blog design!

    The premise looks interesting, but I think you do have a point when it comes to depictions of Latinos.

    Thanks for the honest review!


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