Friday, June 5, 2009

Perfect Chemistry

Author: Simone Elkeles

Copyright: 2009

Pages: 357

Rating: 6 out of 10

Why I Picked This Up: Well, I had to buy books for a LONG plane ride and frankly, I was getting desperate. The back of the book made it seem interesting/exciting so this was one of the four books I bought. (More on those later)

Alejandro (better known as Alex) Fuentes is your classic "bad boy". He lives on the bad side of town and while he's not in school his life is devoted to his gang- the Latino Bloods. Brittany Ellis seems to be his polar opposite. All over the school she is known as the girl who has everything. The perfect boyfriend, the wealthiest parents, the best clothes. However, all is not as it looks on the surface. Alex witnessed his father's murder and Brittany is caretaker for her sister, who has cerebral palsy. These teens magically get paired up as lab partners in chemistry class, despite their resentment. They start out hating each other with passions. She thinks he's a dirty creep and he believes her to be a snobby rich kid. However, neither can deny the attraction they feel for each other. And voila... they fall in love! Unfortunately, others cannot accept their differences, and both have to overcome many obstacles together. Brittany's mom is disgusted with Alex. Whereas in Alex's world, Brittany is the outsider. Can their passionate love withstand all this?

When I started reading the book, I was looking for a fresh, fun love story. What I got was a piece of recycled, immature crap. There is no originality to this book. Obviously, Mrs. Elkeles has completed her reading in school, because in many points of the book, I felt myself getting angry at how she stole the plot from The Outsiders or Romeo and Juliet. The book was a double narrative, and both Alex and Brittany's voices seemed immature for their age. It wasn't a believable love story, it was pieced together from old stories in a way that wasn't satisfying nor appealing. I will give the author props for creating good love scenes, although the characters were superficial, you did root for them to feel happy. Overall, however, the book was a little short of mediocre. There are good romance novels out there, but this is not one of them.

From the back of the book:

"Miss Ellis?" Mrs. Peterson says. "It's your turn. Introduce Alex to the class."

"This is Alejandro Fuentes. When he wasn't hanging out on street corners and harassing innocent people this summer, he toured this inside of jails around our city, if you know what I mean. His secret desire is to go to college and become a chemistry teacher, like you, Mrs Peterson."

Brittany flashes me a triumphant smile, thinking she's won this round. Guess again, gringa.

"This is Brittany Ellis," I say, all eyes now focused on me. "This summer she went to the mall, bought new clothes so she could expand her wardrobe, and spent her daddy's money on plastic surgery to enhance her, ahem, assets. Her secret desire is to date a Mexicano before she graduates."

Game on...