Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles was released in the UK on 1st April 2010 and is 368 pages long.
Brittany Ellis. Perfection. That's the image that Brittany portrays about her life. Not only her life, but Brittany herself. She comes from a rich family and lives in a very good area in a massive house. Absolutely no one knows what her life is really like or what she has to put up with on a daily basis.
Alejandro (Alex) Fuentes. Mexican bad boy and gang member from the wrong side of town. Everyone is terrified of him and the rumours that surround his past and that's the way he intends his reputation to stay. Alex never wants anyone to discover who he really is or what he has been through.
In the first Chemistry class of senior year, Brittany and Alex find themselves forced to work together on a year long project. Both know of each others' reputations and that they are total opposites. Brittany is far from pleased when she gets torn away from being her boyfriends' partner and thinks that Alex is going to completely mess up her grades. Being forced to work together makes Alex and Brittany realise that there is so much more to their partners than meets the eye and they are determined to break down the barriers to find out what they're really all about. They say opposites attract, right?
What I thought
To say that I loved this book would be an understatement. I don't know if I can express just how much I loved it.
This was a book that had been recommended to me but when looking at the synopsis, I wasn't sure I was going to like it. But... I ordered it anyway because the person who recommended it to me has very similar tastes in books so I figured I would give it a go. I have to say, the first paragraph got me. I cant remember the last time that I was so hooked to a book in such a short time. Before I started reading it, I thought Ok, just a couple of chapters. Then before I knew it, it was gone 3am and I was nearly at the end. Needless to say, I was awake until 4am when I had to be at work at 8am just because I couldn't bare to go to sleep until I had found out what was going to happen.
The book is written in first person by both Brittany and Alex in alternate chapters. This is just a little thing but at the top of each chapter, Alex and Brittany's names are printed in a text like how they would write which reminded me of a diaries and was a lovely and personal touch for them btoh. A lot of authors choose to tell their story from the point of view of numerous characters and it can be a little annoying but not in this book. I really don't think that I would have loved this book as much as I did if I hadn't had the chance to learn what was happening from both main characters. This style of writing makes it possible to connect with both Brittany and Alex very early on and know that everything is not what it seems, even if the other character doesn't know it.
Brittany isn't made out to be perfect at all which was something that I really liked about her. There is nothing that I hate more than a female main character that is whiney and annoying for no reason but this certainly wasn't the case here. Right from the start, the fact that she has a lot of problems to deal with is clear and how hard she finds it to pretend that she's perfect all of the time. I was so glad to learn that she wasn't going to be made to come across as the ditzy blonde, only to learn later that she wasn't really like that. The relationships that Brittany has with her Mum, Dad and Sister are very hard on her for many different reasons and they made me feel extremely sorry for her.
Alex Fuentes is seriously the hottest bad boy that I have ever read about. Mexican. Gang member. Tattooed. Seriously screwed up and wanting a better life. Did I mention that he's completely buff? No? Well he is. Really, what more could you ask for? Also, Alex mixes speaking English with Spanish and although I could only understand a few Spanish words, it made his dialogue extremely hot and steamy. I there is something incredibly sexy about the Spanish language. I dare you to try to resist him!
What got me about Alex (over the obvious hotness) was that he tried so hard to make everyone believe that he was someone to be afriad of, when that was so far from the truth. I loved that Alex wasn't perfect. I loved that his life was pretty much screwed. Most of all, I loved that he finally decided that he could trust someone with his problems, even when it was someone that he never would have thought he would be friends with. In a way, you could describe Alex as having a split personality because he acts so different when he is with his friends compared to with his family. Alex is strong and determined but at the same time, he was considerate and understanding, making him my perfect man!
As you can probably tell from the synopsis, love definitely does not run smooth in this story. There are sparks a flying all over the damn place when it comes to Brittany and Alex and they aren't always good sparks. A good amount of the bad going on between these two are due to their friends and family, who don't think that seeing each other is a good idea at all, even when they don't know that anything is really happening. The chemistry between Brittany and Alex was extremely believable because nothing was ever smooth between them. I hate those stories where everything is love at first sight because rarely does a relationship work out that way.
It's easy to see why these characters fall for each other. Both has qualities that the other wishes that they had. Alex is the rebel who has a lot of guts and determination while Brittany has the seemingly perfect family and everything that she has ever wanted. With Brittany doing everything in her power to please her family, no wonder she wants to be more like Alex, daring to do anything. Alex is from a broken family that has many problem so he wants to have something that other people have for once without any drama. His family is far from perfect and he can't see a way of making their life better.
The gang aspect of the book was something that really interested me as it was something that I have never read about. Simone Elkeles took time to explain the set up of these kinds of gangs, which was needed to completely explain what Alex was going through. Some parts of the story concerning the gangs were a little hard to read, especially towards the end but it is what made everything about them so realistic. I didn't want some parts concerning the gangs to happen but I dont think the story would have been complete without them. There were times when I wanted Alex to just run away and leave his life behind because I was genuinely scared for him and what might happen. Nothing in this book is sugar coated and that was just one of the things that made me love it.
I am so glad that I took a chance with this book, even though I didn't think it was my kind of read. The sequel, Rules of Attraction is due to be released in early 2011 and will follow the story of Carlos, Alex's brother. I can't wait to see what one of the other Fuentes brothers is like and how exciting and sexy his story is going to be. If you want an exciting, sensual and romantic read, then this one is for you. I would definitely place it in my top 5 books read this year.