Title: Perfect Chemistry (Perfect Chemistry #1)
Author: Simon Elkeles
Publisher: Walker Childrens
Release Date: December 23, 2008
At Fairfield High School, on the outskirts of Chicago, everyone knows that south siders and north siders aren’t exactly compatible elements. So when head cheerleader Brittany Ellis and gang member Alex Fuentes are forced to be lab partners in chemistry class, the results are bound to be explosive. But neither teen is prepared for the most surprising chemical reaction of all--love. Can they break through the stereotypes and misconceptions that threaten to keep them apart?
Every time I saw a review for a book by Simone Elkeles, it was always extremely positive, especially when it came to Perfect Chemistry. That was all the convincing I needed to pick up the book. I was certainly not disappointed. I started reading the book this morning and didn’t put it down until I was finished...at times despite my growling stomach. It was just too good a read for me to interrupt it.
There is no way Brittany Ellis and Alex Fuentes should end up together. She is the head of the cheerleading squad and comes from the north side of town. He is a gang member and comes from the south part of town. But when they become chemistry partners anything can happen. Neither Brittany or Alex knows how to deal with what seems to be happening between them and the effects it can have on both of their worlds.
I am officially in love with this book. I don’t know how to explain it but I am just in love. The characters, the story, all of it. But moving on. Elkeles is able to take a storyline that has been done time and time again and makes something truly wonderful out of it. There have been so many stories about two people from opposite sides of the tracks falling in love when everything is going against them. Perfect Chemistry is that and so much more.
I love Brittany and Alex. The alternating point of view chapters were a great way to get insight into both of these amazing characters. Brittany is not the typical cheerleading captain. Despite the image she puts on for everyone she is just about the furthest thing there is from the golden girl. Her family life is falling apart as is her relationship with her boyfriend. It’s all she can do to keep it all under control. Brittany grew so much through the book. At the beginning all she wanted to do was please everyone but by then end of the book she had grown so much and it only made me love her more.
And then there was Alex...who I think I may have fallen in love with over the course of the novel. He wasn’t a real gang banger, his heart was only ever in it in order to protect his family from the dangers of his neighborhood. Alex was such a great character to get to know. You could tell that he really cared about the people he allowed to get close to him. Despite what he said and did sometimes I just couldn’t help but root for him. I wanted for him and Brittany to work things out and make everything right.
Like I’ve already said, the general storyline is one that has been done so many times before. Who hasn’t read a story about two people from opposite sides of the track falling in love against all odds? But Elkeles manages to make the story so much more than that. I don’t know how she does it but while I was reading the book it felt like the furthest thing from an overdone plot line. I don’t know how to explain it without giving things away so you will just have to read the book to find out yourself.
I’ve said it already and I’ll said it again: I absolutely loved this book! It is most definitely one I am adding to my list of all times favorites. I look forward to going to the bookstore and picking up Simone Elkeles’s other books because from what I’ve heard they are all as good as Perfect Chemistry.