Perfect Chemistry is not a book I loved from the first page. For quite a good number of pages, I wanted to strangle both of the main characters for being such walking stereotypes. But by the time I finished reading this book my opinion of it totally changed. I loved it! Although I might have left the epilogue off. I don’t like epilogues. The epilogue of the last Harry Potter book, well, I just like to pretend that one didn’t exist. Anyway, forget my personal issues with epilogues.
Alex Fuentes and Brittany Ellis are, as I said, entirely stereotypical. Alex Fuentes is a Latino gang member from the bad side of town (town being a Chicago suburb). Unsurprisingly, he’s secretly really smart, also trouble, and wants to protect his family. You know, a good guy in a bad situation. Brittany spends way too much time cultivating her perfect image. She’s rich and beautiful and blonde and captain of the “pom squad.” Which as far as I know is the cheerleading team so I’m not sure why they called it that. Perhaps some people really do call it that though I’ve never heard the expression, or maybe it’s something different, not that it matters. But secretly, her life is less than perfect. Her mother is kind of a bitch, and her older sister is disabled. This is also unsurprising. You know, perfect girl whose home life is secretly not perfect. I think the point with these characters was to transcend the stereotypes, to get behind the images they both project, but the way it was done was a little stereotypical as well. However, as the novel progresses, both Alex and Brittany become real people, and by the end I really loved their characters, as frustrating as they were at first.
Anyway, Alex and Brittany are unwillingly partnered in chemistry class, and they fall for each other. Alex tries to get Brittany to let herself be more genuine and less perfect, and Brittany tries to convince Alex that a different life is possible for him. They come from totally different worlds and both have lots to learn about each other. It’s predictable, yes, but as the book went on I became so totally drawn into the story. Simone Elkeles’s writing has a way of doing that! I loved the story, loved the romance, and grew to love the characters (especially two of the secondary characters, Isabel and Paco), and loved every minute I spent reading this book (and I really could not put it down). It kind of reminded me of one of my favorite movies, Crazy/Beautiful. Which is also something of a stereotype. Anyway, great book, it’ll be out in December, and I hope you all love it, because I sure did.