Perfect Chemistry (Perfect Chemistry #) by Simone Elkeles
Publisher:   Walker Books for Young Readers
Published:   January 1st 2008

Paperback, 360 pages

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.

Brittany and Alex could not be any different than they already are.  Brittany, the perfect popular cheerleader, is from the North Side (aka. the rich part of town). Alex, the trouble making gang member, is from the South Side (aka. the poor part of town).  Against their wishes they are paired up together in Chemistry class.  However, they soon find they are creating their own chemistry. At first, all the two can do is argue and fight with each other.

Alex’s friends bet him that he can’t “hook-up” with Brittany before the holidays; however, he finds himself actually liking her.  Brittany is in the same boat (without the bet). All eyes are on them, as Birttany already is dating one of the most popular boys in school, and Alex is trying to keep his bad boy image.  At the same time, Brittany and Alex find aspects of their own worlds that they don’t like: Brittany has to be perfect, according to her family and friends, and more than anything she wants her older mentally handicapped sister to be happy and safe; Alex fights for his younger brothers to stay out of the Gang life while it tries to keep him in it. 

In their real life Chemistry Project, their worlds collide with each other and soon they both need to decide what to do – live with each other or without each other.

I could not put this book down – I stayed up all night to just finish it.  I absolutely love Simone Elkeles! All of my expectations with this book were met and went beyond! As always my favorite thing about Simone Elkeles’ books is her writing style. Both characters were built and developed superbly.  While the plot line is cliche – 2 opposites attract – Simone Elkeles made it work.  I did not want Alex’s and Brittany’s story to end.  I felt like I was part of their relationship – I wanted to scream at both of the characters and tell them how right they are for each other and I couldn’t understand why they didn’t see it to.  An AMAZING book, and a new favorite.

My Rating:

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The Perfect Chemistry Series