Sunday, December 21, 2014

Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles Review

"A fresh, urban twist on the classic tale of star-crossed lovers.

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."

Before I forget, I have to mention that I love the Spanish in this. Hilarious. And very vivid. The author put it in a very vivid way that leaves very little to the imagination. (No, I'm not joking one bit. Not kidding. Not a single bit).

Perfect Chemistry is an awesome book. There are indeed some dark parts (Thank you, Alex, for being in a gang), but this book is most definitely classified as a "Romeo and Juliet" retelling. So of course, it is going to get a bit dark (okay, maybe more than dark) before it gets a tragedy or a Happily Ever After.

For those of you who are worried about the ending, I can tell you that it is an Happily Ever After in this one. But it comes with an ugly price (of course).

The chemistry between Brittany and Alex grows slowly. It isn't very fast, but it does develop. Of course, there is some childish teasing and little silly things before the big guns (like connection and bonding) starts. That is where Brittany and her boyfriend (who is a douche) starts to break apart. That is where Alex and Brittany start growing closer. Of course, there is that little problem about the bet (which doesn't come off very cleanly on Simone Elkeles' part). That bet started as a strong plot device and then it doesn't quite deliver right...

Definitely a "hmm" moment there.

The epilogue is worth enough to get a mention here. I have to admit I liked it. Where we started in the beginning. Where we ended in the ending. Full circle. It is a very nice touch, and I do enjoy the teacher's little interactions and words. Very humorous.

Overall, Perfect Chemistry is a great book. Much of it draws a parallel to "Romeo and Juliet." Actually, I would say this: Perfect Chemistry is "West Side Story" with a Happy Ending. Oh, yes. I just went there. There are tons of parallels from those two worlds and plots that I have to agree that it is a good enough comparison. Not exactly Romeo and Juliet but related. (Of course I can go into a bunch of technicalities and we can talk on and on for the next five pages, but let's not).

So Perfect Chemistry is a really touching retelling(/inspired story) of "Romeo and Juliet" and "West Side Story" (enough though the latter is inspired on the former). There are some parts where it falls short, (some parts even cheesy), and some parts where it gets a bit weird (like dramatic). But it is better than good in the long run.

Rating: Four out of Five

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