Sunday, March 28, 2010

Perfect Chemistry (YA)

Perfect Chemistry. Simone Elkeles. 2008. [December 2008] Walker & Company (Bloomsbury). 368 pages.

Everyone knows I'm perfect. My life is perfect. My clothes are perfect. Even my family is perfect.

Brittany looks like she has the perfect life. A life that includes the perfect boyfriend. But. Appearances can be deceiving. Brittany is keeping more than a few secrets. Not wanting anyone at school to know how her home life really is. She doesn't want anyone to see the real her. Brittany has a role to play, control to maintain.

Alex, our other narrator, doesn't even pretend to have the perfect life. (Though that doesn't mean he's not pretending about other things.) There are thousands of rumors going round about him at school. And some of them are true. Not all of them, mind you. But some of them. Like the fact that he's a gang member. Like the fact that he's been arrested.

Destiny steps in when the chemistry teacher pairs these two (from opposite sides of town) as lab partners. These two teens have nothing in common (so they think) and don't want anything to do with each other. At first. Brittany just doesn't know what to make of Alex, his teasing, his charisma. Does he really like her? Does he really understand her more than Colin?
Is she brave enough to go there?

I loved this one. It's not that I think it's the most perfect book I've ever read. It's not. But it's satisfying. Really satisfying. I really enjoyed these characters. I loved the development of this relationship.

There's been something nagging at me all day. As long as I'm here with him, I might as well ask. "Did we kiss last night?"
"Well, it wasn't memorable because I have no recollection of it."
He laughs. "I was kiddin'. We didn't kiss." He leans in. "When we kiss you'll remember it. Forever."
Oh, God. I wish his words didn't leave my knees weak. I know I should be scared, alone with a gang member in a deserted place talking about kissing. But I'm not. Deep in my soul I know he wouldn't intentionally hurt me or force me to do anything. (142)*
If you enjoy romance, you'll probably enjoy this one. It's satisfying in the same way as 10 Things I Hate About You, Dirty Dancing, and How To Lose A Guy In Ten Days.

*All quotes are from an ARC. They might have been revised in the final edition.

© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


Janssen 7:49 PM  

I not so secretly loved every second of this book.

Suko 12:49 AM  

I am still romantic enough to appreciate this one. :)

Maria the Bookworm 3:26 AM  

It's been a long time since I've read this book, but with that teaser there you reminded me of how much I love it :D

Kate Evangelista 1:15 AM  

I think I will give this a read. Thanks for the review!

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Review Policy

I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

I am especially fond of:

  • Regency romances (including Austen prequels/sequels)
  • Historical fiction set in the Tudor dynasty
  • Historical fiction and nonfiction set during World War II
  • Jewish fiction/nonfiction
  • dystopias
  • apocalyptic fiction
  • science fiction (especially if it involves time travel and alternate realities)
  • fantasy
  • multicultural books and international books

I am not a fan of:

  • sports books
  • horse books
  • dog books if the dog dies (same goes with most pets actually except maybe fish)
  • westerns (if it's a pioneer story with women and children, then maybe)
  • extremely violent books with blood, blood, and more blood

I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

If you're interested in sending me a review copy of your book, I'm happy to hear from you. Email me at laney_po AT yahoo DOT com.

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