Saturday, February 7, 2009

Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles


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. (from Amazon)


As said in the summary, Perfect Chemistry is an urban twist on the classic tale of star-crossed lovers. Though, it's so much more than just a love story. It has family problems, the fight to keep up a "perfect" or " tough" appearance even if you don't want to anymore, and it takes you on journey through what it means to be part of one of the scariest gangs there is alive.

The characters in this book were some of the most realistic ones I've seen in a while. Even though I thought I was going to hate Britney, I just couldn't. I felt sorry for her, because of her many struggles that included her having to make up for what her sister couldn't be and having to pretend to be perfect in front of her friends so they wouldn't see her as anything but. With Alex, it was sometimes scary to look through his eyes and see how in order to protect his family he had to be a part of The Bloods, the main gang in the book. Throughout, I was rooting for both to realize they could be so much more than what they were.

Simone Elkeles writing in Perfect Chemistry was just an all around wow. She perfectly captures what it means to be a teenager and the many problems they face every day. Also, the gang and discrimination parts of this were extremely real to the point were, I think, she must have done some research about both.

One of my favorite parts of this novel, was the conversations between the characters that included a mix of Spanish and English. (which I though was awesome because I take Spanish in school) They caused many laugh out loud moments and made this book go by extremely too fast.

Overall, Perfect Chemistry is a funny, cute, and serious book that will make you think about the many situations that were addressed. I can't wait to read more by Elkeles. By the way, have you seen the book trailer for this? It's one of the best I've ever seen. :)

Grade: A+

Perfect Chemistry is now out in paperback! You can find out more about it here. Also, be sure to check out Simone's website and myspace.


  1. I've heard so many good things about this book!
    Great review, now I want to read it even more! (:

  2. I LOVE the trailer. It's hilarious. So great. I think of it whenever I see this book. I do keep hearing amazing things about this. It sounds good, but I just want to read it EVEN MORE b/c of all the praise.


  3. Sounds like a great story + realistic, too. I'll recommend it to my students. If you're interested in another story that deals with the fragility of relationships, check out


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