Author: Simone Elkeles
Reading level: Young Adult
Paperback: 368 pages
Publisher: Walker Books for Young Readers (December 23, 2008)
A modern tale of star-crossed lovers with a fresh urban twist.
At Fairfield High School, on the outskirts of Chicago , everyone knows that south-siders mixing with north-siders can be explosive. So when Brittany Ellis and Alejandro “Alex” Fuentes are forced to be lab partners in chemistry class, this human experiment leads to unexpected revelations – that Brittany ’s flawless reputation is a cover for her troubled home life, that Alex’s bad-boy persona hides his desire to break free from gang ties, and that when they’re together, life somehow makes more sense. Breaking through the stereotypes and expectations that threaten to keep Brittany and Alex apart, Perfect Chemistry takes readers to both sides of the tracks in a passionate love story about looking beneath the surface.
In Fairfield, the school is divided between the rich north-siders and the gangs of the south-siders. Brittany comes from the North side and seems perfect on the outside. She has the brains, the beauty, and to others she has the perfect life. In reality she has a Father who is hardly home, a Mother who is constantly trying to perfect everyone in the house, and a sister with disabilities. She is always trying to make sure her life seems perfect even if she is crumbling on the inside.
Alex comes from the South Side where he is a member of the Latino Blood gang. He secured himself in the gang to make sure his family is safe after the death of his Father. Everyone at Fairfield High School steers clear of Alex. They know he is part of a gang, and they have heard the rumors about him. When Mrs.P, the chemistry teacher, pairs the two together for lab, it becomes the clash of the rich snob versus the poor gangster.
I really enjoyed this book. I have been dying to start this series after reading so much about it on other blogs, but I never seemed to have the time. I finally decided to take a break from other books and start the series. I loved the way Brittany acted around her sister. I am glad the author decided to make her out to be the caring person that I was hoping for instead of the snobby rich girl who looks down on a disabled person. You could really tell that the two loved each other and Brittany did everything in her power to keep her parents from shipping her away to a group home for disabled children.
Alex was tough on the outside, but when you first meet him interacting with his family, you knew that this bad boy was going to capture your heart throughout the book. He truly believes being apart of the gang is protecting his family until he starts to question the death of his Father. His friend Paco, also captured my interest in this book and I was really hoping he would talk some sense into Alex.
When the two start to fall for each other, you can actually feel the struggle the two are going through on the inside. The author did an amazing job with her writing and I loved how each chapter was in either Alex or Brittany’s point of view. The progression of the story was done at a wonderful pace and believable as well. The only issue I had with the book is the Spanish. I don’t speak that much Spanish, and I didn’t understand some of the phrases that were being said by the characters, but it didn’t bother me too much. I could still understand what was going on between it all.
A great book with the perfect amount of chemistry between two main characters that has me craving the next book in the series.
Outstanding Book That Will Stay On My Bookshelf
For Rereading! 5 STARS