Perfect Chemistry

Overview

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 ...

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Perfect Chemistry (Perfect Chemistry Series #1)

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Overview

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.

2010 RITA Winner for Best Young Adult Romance

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Elkeles pens plenty of tasteful, hot scenes . . . that keep the pages turning." Kirkus Reviews on Perfect Chemistry

"Smoldering doesn't quite do justice to the romantic banter." School Library Journal on Perfect Chemistry

 

"Teens with a taste for romance will eat this up like ice cream on a hot day." Bulletin for the Center of Children’s Books on Perfect Chemistry

 

"Elkeles once again delivers a steamy page-turner bound to make teens swoon." School Library Journal on Rules of Attraction

 

"Engaging characters, two of whom share a love that cannot be denied, along with more than a few humorous moments." VOYA on Rules of Attraction

 

"Fans of the series and other females will gobble up this exciting, suspenseful novel." VOYA on Chain Reaction

VOYA - Lisa A. Hazlett
Beautiful, wealthy Brittany is a popular diva, so when she and Alex, a tough Hispanic gang member, become chemistry partners uneasiness reigns. Defenses fall, however, revealing Brittany's fractured parents, her sister Shelley's severe cerebral palsy, and her struggle for perfection that is guilty atonement for being healthy. Alex is intelligent, kind, and longs for college; gang membership exempts his brothers' joining and promises their better future. They surreptitiously begin a relationship with Brittany dumping her diva crowd while demanding family counseling. Alex chooses the dangerous rite of leaving his gang and works to rebuild his shaky family. When Shelley enters a Colorado facility, Brittany accompanies her and enrolls in college as a chemistry major, but Alex arrives soon after with a proposal. The epilogue announces their groundbreaking Alzheimer's drug and portrays their son meeting his beloved in their former chemistry class. Alternately narrated by Brittany and Alex, this compelling story portrays complex teens whose manufactured personas hide personal problems. Their contradictory lives and reactions to each other's provide conflicts and character insights, but once their romance begins they and the narration unravel. The story becomes overlong and repetitive with the duo's edginess dissolving into contrivances and sappiness, full of convenient and largely improbable events. The sultry cover should attract many female readers but will keep mainly those enjoying star-crossed romances. Reviewer: Lisa A. Hazlett
School Library Journal

Gr 10 Up

Told in alternating narratives, Perfect Chemistry portrays a romance between two unlikely lab partners. Brittany is her Chicago high school's "golden girl" but few of her friends know that her parents are totally dysfunctional and that she is highly invested in caring for her physically and mentally disabled older sister. Alex is a member of the Latino Blood, but he wishes he could leave gang life and pursue a college career. The plot thickens as Alex accepts a bet from a friend that he cannot bed Brittany by Thanksgiving. Smoldering doesn't quite do justice to the romantic banter that sparks between them. As the story unfolds, Alex is incarcerated and later hospitalized. Raw language and Spanish phrases that Anglo readers might feel obligated to investigate further are peppered throughout. The pace picks up too quickly at the end, leaving readers wondering if they missed something as time that has previously been marked day by day begins to clip along in five-month increments. Overall though, this is a solid romance that's suitable for reluctant readers.-Leah Krippner, Harlem High School, Machesney Park, IL

Kirkus Reviews
Sparks fly when cheerleading it-girl Brittany Ellis is paired with gang-banger bad-boy Alex Fuentes in chemistry lab. Soon enough, Brittany's snaky quarterback boyfriend dumps her, and her friends spread rumors that she and Alex are hooking up. Meanwhile, she and Alex wage their own battles at home. He longs to escape gang life, and she, the clutches of her overbearing mother. In a sense, they're right for each other: Neither fits the mold they were put in, so it feels natural when a fiery romance begins to brew. Elkeles pens plenty of tasteful, hot scenes-including one where Brittany loses her virginity to Alex-that keep the pages turning. The other elements come together as well, though they seem forced. Alex and his friends are not fully fleshed out, and their voices and dialogue definitely don't capture their characters or their experiences. Brittany's issues and dramas with her mother and her entourage come off like a groan-inducing after-school special. Still, as the title implies, the author definitely knows how to write romance, and that should help readers overlook some of the cheesier bits. (Fiction. YA)
The Barnes & Noble Review

Like everyone in the world, I remember adolescence clearly -- and mostly with horror. It’s not the moments of humiliation that haunt me in the middle of the night, but piercing memories of mistakes I made: errors in judgment, ethical missteps, selfish unkindness. I could have been a case study for research proving that adolescent brain development (or the lack thereof) leads to reckless, foolish decisions. So when I decided to read all the 2009 finalist entries in the Young Adult (YA) category for the RITA, romance’s most prestigious prize, I was curious about how realistic they would be. Would these six heroines engage in anything that I -- or at least my memories of myself -- would recognize?

They do. In fact, all of these novels do a brilliant job depicting a young adult’s scrambled thinking and -- even better -- the first sign of the maturity that scientists promise will eventually occur. Here, the road to love is littered with risk-taking behavior.

Simone Elkeles’s Perfect Chemistry, for example, is the story of a striving-to-be-perfect white girl named Brittany, who finds herself paired with Alejandro Fuentes in chemistry class. If Brittany is perfect, from her glossy lips to her glossy toenails, Alejandro is her opposite: a Mexican gang member who’s both desperate and violent. They are both caught in situations that are not their faults -- but the way they flounder into various debacles will have you wincing. Still, the sweetness of watching this Romeo and Juliet make some tough (good) decisions, and grow up in the process, is truly inspirational.

If you happen to be a young adult yourself, or you know a young lady who might be interested, you can’t do better than buy these books. As the mother of a tween, I know how hard it can be to find YA books that appeal to a young girl and don’t horrify the woman with a credit card in hand. Far too many books aimed at this age group are little more than candy floss tales of conspicuous consumption. These novels will satisfy both of you.

--Eloisa James

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781619637016
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
  • Publication date: 1/6/2015
  • Series: A Perfect Chemistry Novel Series
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 355,695
  • Age range: 14 - 17 Years

Meet the Author

Simone Elkeles

Simone Elkeles is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of Better Than Perfect, the Perfect Chemistry series, Leaving Paradise series, and How to Ruin series. All three books in the Perfect Chemistry series have been YALSA Top Ten Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Readers, and the Illinois Association of Teachers of English named Simone 2008 Author of the Year. Simone's funny way of looking at the world shines through in novels that are bursting with sarcastic wit, edgy characters, and exhilarating drama.

www.simoneelkeles.com

www.facebook.com/SimoneElkeles www.facebook.com/WildCardsSeries

@SimoneElkeles

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