Review: Perfect Chemistry, by Simone Elkeles

Perfect Chemistry coverWhen 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. Forced to be lab partners with Alex Fuentes, a gang member from the other side of town, Brittany finds herself having to protect everything she’s worked so hard for – her flawless reputation, her relationship with her boyfriend and, most importantly, 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 the closer Alex and Brittany get to each other the more they realise that sometimes appearances can be deceptive and that you have to look beneath the surface to discover the truth.

I love, love, love a book with a good bad-boy character, and Alex Fuentes in this book is one of my favourites. I read this book first a couple of years ago, and remember absolutely loving it. Now I’ve got exams on, I thought I’d reread a couple of books I’ve already read, so I’m not totally distracted from revision by wanting to know desperately what’s going to happen next. And one of the books I brought back to uni with me for revision season was Perfect Chemistry.

This is one of those books that’s an easy read, because the story is so gripping and the chapters are fairly short – so it was ideal for me to pick up and read a chapter or two between making revision posters about forced harmonic oscillations and the forces acting in a transverse wave along a string.

The chapters switch between Alex’s and Brittany’s points of view, which is something I’m usually not a big fan of, but it worked brilliantly here. It gave such a good insight into both characters, especially when they both hide a big part of their home lives from the rest of the world.

Alex is a gang member who dreams of going to college someday, but he knows that’s never going to happen because, you know, he’s in a gang. Brittany’s sister is disabled and needs constant care, so she’s planning to go to a college where she can be near her sister.

What I love about this book is that neither character is especially stereotypical of how they first come across, neither is predictable, and they’re both so fascinating to read about. Being so different, they both resist their growing feelings for each other, and they both hide behind the facade they show to the rest of the world.

And the storyline isn’t clichéd and predictable, either. Even though I knew what was coming from having read it before, I was still shocked and surprised at a few twists and turns the story took.

I’d definitely recommend this one for those of you who love a good YA romance – and I’ve only just found that this one is part of a series, with another two books following the stories of Alex’s two younger brothers, so I’m definitely looking forward to reading those over the summer!

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