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Really Ravishing Review (Perfect Chemistry)

literati_rain66 Monday, July 12, 2010 ,
Review of Perfect Chemistry, by Simone Elkeles.
Perfect Chemistry

Quickie: Yummy! You've got to get a taste of this bad boy!

Full: All that hype about Perfect Chemistry? Yeah, it's valid. What a find! For me, personally, it was exactly what I needed to read. I've been reading paranormal after paranormal, and it's really nice to read about normal people with normal problems. This was a real life story, and it was awesome.

It was especially vibrant to me because I actually know a Brittany and an Alex that fit the character descriptions. It's kind of creepy actually.

Perfect Chemistry opens with Brittany, a girl from the "North Side" who lives in her huge, perfect house with her overbearing mother, distracted father, and developmentally disabled sister. She's captain of the pom squad, dating the 'perfect' guy, and her daddy just bought her a BMW. She's popular, she's beautiful, and everybody wants to be her. Brittany's mother (who I wanted to rebel against myself) is adamant that appearances are everything, and therefore Brittany works hard to make her life look perfect, even though it's anything but.

Next up is Alex, a member of the Latino Blood gang. His father was killed when he was six, and it's up to him to be the man of the house and protect his family. In his neighborhood, the only way to ensure your family's safety is to get "jumped in" to a gang. Alex has a reputation that proceeds him, and nobody expects him to make anything of his life. They think 'gangbanger = hopeless' and 'gangbanger = guilty'. Typical stereotypes.

Alex and Brittany seem totally opposite on the outside, but they both discover that if you dig deep and cast aside previous conceptions, you just might discover something unexpectedly wonderful.

There are a few things that I specifically liked about this book. 1) A Real Bad Boy. He didn't just wear a leather jacket, drive a motorcycle and stand there and look menacing. He was actually bad. He did stuff he wasn't proud of, he had an actual past and present. So many books these days tell us that the bad boy is a bad boy.... but all he does is ride a motorcycle. Puh-leeze. I've ridden a motorcycle and I'm about the furthest thing from a bad boy there is. Adding to this, Elkeles shows us that he's a baddie; he gets in a knife fight, he gets shot, put in jail, throws punches, etc., etc.

2) The developmentally disabled sister. I have a super soft spot for the developmentally disabled, and the way Elkeles portrayed her and the love her sister had for her made me melt. She recognized the tension that can be present in families with both a "normal" child and a developmentally disabled one. It was both heartwarming and heartbreaking, much like real life.

Should you give this one a try? Yep! It's definitely a "high schooler and above" book though.

4 out of 5 stars.


Sandy said...

I hear so much good things from everyone who has read this book. I need it.

SM Schmidt said...

Ack, looks like I might have to tack this book on when I go shopping for my textbooks. Going for broke anyway might as well have fun with it.

literati_rain66 said...

Absolutely! ;-) It took me a few pages to get invested, but once I was into the story, there was no quitting. You'll have to let me know what you think of it once you read it. :)

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