Books Magazine

Grimes & Rowe Read a Book: Perfect Chemistry

By Storycarnivores @storycarnivores

Grimes & Rowe Read a Book: Perfect ChemistryTitle: Perfect Chemistry
Author: Simone Elkeles
Series: Perfect Chemistry Trilogy, Book 1
Publisher: Walker Childrens
Publish Date: December 23, 2008
Genre: YA Contemporary
Pages: 368
Source: Bought
Buy the Book: Perfect Chemistry

Description: 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.

Brian: I first discovered the Perfect Chemistry books last year as a substitute teacher. I taught high school English classes at least 50 percent of the time, and so often I caught both boys and girls in these classes reading books with the mostly black covers with a boy and a girl in a tender embrace. I saw these books enough to take interest in what they were all about, and last July, at the RWA conference in Anaheim, Shaunta and I were fortunate enough to meet author Simone Elkeles. Take a look at the picture we took with her below!

Grimes & Rowe Read a Book: Perfect Chemistry

It wasn’t until I met Simone, and took a look at her book covers at the event, that I put two and two together, and realized that the books I kept seeing in all the students’ hands were hers! Shaunta and I had just recently started this book blog, and we were bound and determined that both of us read the first book in her Perfect Chemistry trilogy. Shaunta read it first, and now I’ve had the chance to read it. I get it. I totally get it. This book was fantastic!

I opened the book and shook my head, worried about what was to come. I for the most part don’t really care for contemporary YA novels that are heavy on romance, and I was skeptical about how Elkeles was going to handle the alternating perspectives of a hoity toity white girl and a latino gang member. Color me surprised that Perfect Chemistry was one of the most enjoyable reading experiences of this whole year. While it didn’t have the kind of visceral impact on me books like Looking for Alaska, The Fault in Our Stars, and Boy Meets Boy, did, I became immersed in this familiar but exciting world of two opposing viewpoints, and two wholly different characters who somehow find that perfect chemistry, and come together! Brittany and Alex held my attention from beginning to end, and I was terrified about what the outcome was going to be. I really hoped Simone wasn’t going to leave us with a downer ending. I was pleasantly surprised, however, by how this beautiful story finally resolved itself.

Shaunta: I got my start as a writer with romance. I like romance! I really liked this romance. I loved the conflict between the two characters. I thought that Elkeles did a great job of resolving those conflicts in a believable way.  I was able to relate to both characters, and I really rooted for them all the way through. It was just hot enough without going overboard, which is good considering the age of both the characters and the intended readers. I could really see why this book does well with reluctant readers. Once I started reading it, I couldn’t put it down. I had to know what happened! It also didn’t have the same kind of deep impact for me as some other books, but that’s okay. This was meant to be a more fun read, and it hit just hard enough with its deeper parts.

Brian: I was just so taken by the smooth way this book reads, right from the beginning. I picked up some tricks while reading this book for my own writing, actually. I was amazed how well Elkeles was able to transition between the Brittany and the Alex POVS often in the same scenes. And yes, this book was certainly hot. I haven’t read much erotica, and I’ve refused for so long to read the Fifty Shades of Grey books, but I think I had a Grey moment in this on three separate occasions, when Brittany and Alex finally, after so, so long, share their first super hot kiss, and then go on to… well.. share a little more. I was literally leaning over my bed, my eyes wide, my jaw dropped, as I read some of these scenes. Not to be too personal but I, as a white guy, have always been attracted to boys with darker skin, and this book was able to put me in that mind space as Brittany falls head over heels for the latino bad boy. So good.

Grimes & Rowe Read a Book: Perfect Chemistry

Shaunta: This book is definitely not erotica. It’s hot in a teen romance way. I loved that they ended up together in college. I love that this story stands up for girls studying science. I loved that Brittney wasn’t just a spoiled girl, she was much deeper. She took awesome care of her disabled sister, which made me really happy. Over all, this book is a big win, and it’s one I’ll recommend to anyone who wants a book that will encourage their kids to read. Some YA books translate really well to an adult audience. This one did work for me, as an adult, but not quite as well as some others have. When I was 14 or 15, this would have blown me away. Part of it is because, unlike Brian, I didn’t connect quite as seamlessly with the romance.

Brian: I do think the romance was pretty seamless because Elkeles let their relationship fully develop and blossom over the course of nearly 400 pages. Every time I thought they were going to kiss or hook up in those first 200 pages, I was denied my request, but to great power and effect. The author doesn’t just throw these two together. She really makes us understand their growing attractions to each other, not just physically, but due to their understanding of both of their home lives, and the warm personalities of both that live beneath the more stereotypical surfaces. I was totally impressed by this book and am so excited to give Elkeles my full review when Shaunta and I see her a second time at the day-long YA book festival in Las Vegas in early November!

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog