Review – Perfect Chemistry
  • Posted:
  • May 30, 2012
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I have been in the wilds of Pennsylvania for the better part of a week. I took Simone Elkeles’s Perfect Chemistry series with me for the ride. Originally this book was part of the Blood Magic Challenge I am taking part in this year. I don’t think I would have read it otherwise. That said, the read was great for a drive in the woods.

Alex Fuentes and Brittany Ellis both live in Chicago on the South and North side respectively. It’s the first day of Fairfield High during their senior year and they have been paired together as partners in chemistry class. Brittany is resistant because Alex is a known gang member and very aggressive. He immediately starts flirting with her and this bothers her to no end. What she doesn’t know is that Alex has a bet to get into her pants by Thanksgiving with a friend. She finds herself attracted to him despite the fact that she is dating a football player and Alex begins to let his softer side through whenever the two are together.

I’m not going to lie, it’s Romantic fluff. Plain and simple. Elekeles manages to make it something more with the social commentary running through the book… but it’s still Romance. The fact that the romance is between a hot Mexican boy from the wrong side of the track and a privileged white girl with money is what makes it more interesting. The prevalence of stereotypes between the two cultures is consistent on both sides. I was starting to get annoyed with the profiling of the Latinos and Latinas in this book until I realized that Elkeles was making a point of it – that both characters were putting up fronts to the world outside. Brittany maintains the perfect “good girl” facade while Alex has perfected the ideal “Latino badass” image. As the two personas begin to meld further in the story the stereotypes begin to dissolve. Their empathy between each other becomes more clear as they fall for one another. They each eradicate the expectations of the outer world to allow what they really want to come through their barriers – each other.

So, it’s clear that there is more to the book than a tawdry romance, which is good. Would it be something I would read again… probably not. I went on with the series because I was curious to see what happened with Alex’s two younger brothers, Carlos and Luis… but I got my kicks out of one read. And I won’t need another go.

4 out of 5 stars. This was the third read of the Blood Magic Challenge of 2012. (I’m behind. I know.)

– BP

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