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 love bad boys. Let’s just get that out of the way. And I really loved Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles. It has the very popular “star-crossed lovers” plotline with less of the star-crossed and a whole lot of loving. Basically it’s: bad boy meets good girl, they fall in love, and chaos ensues. Well, maybe not chaos, but unrest at the least. Either way, I loved it.
Perfect Chemistry was pretty much what I expected it to be. What surprised me was how much I ended up enjoying it. The story was super corny at times, sometimes the dialogue (spoken and inner) was a little awkward, and I was constantly yelling at the characters to stop being so stupid, but I could not put the book down. I swear, I got so connected to all the characters (ahem, Alex) that I would worry about them while I wasn’t reading. I know. It’s so ridiculous. I feel like Elkeles put a lot of thought into the story in every direction and was just so thorough with her storytelling.
Honestly, I thought I wouldn’t like Perfect Chemistry for one huge reason. Gangs. Not necessarily the gangs themselves, but the violence that comes along. I don’t do very well with violence. Sometimes it’s fine, but sometimes it turns my stomach and I can’t deal with it. I loved how Elkeles was able to show the violence without being too gruesome about it. It didn’t make me sick, and for that I thank her. (I don’t have a weak stomach, honestly. It’s hard to explain, I guess.)
The characters in Perfect Chemistry were great. I think I liked all of them, even the mean/bad ones. (The bad ones as “bad” ones, of course. I didn’t like them as individuals.) Brittany was an interesting character to follow because outwardly she was strong and confident, but inside she was struggling to keep it together. Her story wasn’t about finding strength, but allowing herself to stop hiding the fact that she wasn’t perfect. She knew she wasn’t perfect and really just wanted to stop being fake. It was a nice twist. It was refreshing to have a character aim to be real. Period. (Rather than real plus this, this, and that.)
Here’s the part where I start swooning and fangirling over Alex. Alex, oh Alex. Alejandro. I loved Alex from the very get-go. Yes, he was being kind of a jerkface for a while. No, I didn’t really care. There was a lot more to Alex than it seemed. He had secret dreams that he couldn’t act on because he was a part of a gang that would basically kill him before letting him stray. Everything he did was to protect the people he loved, and that is totally sdfkgnhttaxscd. I love Alex. I can’t stop fangirling over him long enough to form comprehensible sentences about him. Sa-woon.
I also loved a million and one of the lesser characters. As always, I would love to learn more about them. Here’s to empty wishes for more companion novels! Here, here!
For the most part, I think I fell in love when I read Perfect Chemistry. With who or what is completely blurred. I loved it all. I laughed, I swooned, I got a little misty, and I think I found a new favorite book. If you like bad boys at all I definitely recommend this book. The same with rocky romances, familial problems, et cetera. I basically just recommend this book. Read it and swoon, people!
Rating: 5 of 5 stars
P.S. Oh man. I cannot stop thinking about Alex Fuentes. I’m pretty sure he’s my newest fictional boyfriend. Let’s gush about him together, yes? (No, really. I’m serious. Let’s chat.)