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Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles

September 25, 2008

Simone ElkelesPerfect Chemistry is a teen romance full of clichés, melodrama, an unrealistic denouement, and a completely over the top epilogue. And I freaking loved it. Ate it up with a spoon like it was an ice cream sundae.

I was initially wary because Perfect Chemistry utilizes the same alternating narrators format as Leaving Paradise, this time switching between Alex, Hot Latino Tough Guy Gangbanger (with a brain), and Brittany, Popular Perfect Blond Rich Girl (with a secret). Forced to become partners for the entire year in their chemistry class, Alex and Brittany start to see each other past the rumors and stereotypes and façades they’ve erected. Do I need to spell out what happens next?

In any case, Alex’s chapters were…better than Caleb’s in Leaving Paradise. Oh, there were still parts that had me shaking my head, wondering, “Dude, what kind of guy talks like this?” but it happened less often than Leaving Paradise. As for the rest of the book, for a story that’s supposedly about two teens who learn to see past stereotypes, most of the secondary characters were stereotypical. The plot points alternated between the ridiculous and the predictable, and the epilogue ranks right up there with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows as my least favorite epilogues of all time.

And yet, I was totally sucked into the story. Elkeles had me hooked and I have no idea how she did it. Well, maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration. I think Elkeles does emotion well, despite (or is it because of?) all the melodrama. Ultimately, though, there’s just something about her writing that that makes me need to keep reading, regardless of all the problems I may have with the book, though I cannot identify what that something is. I had to finish the book, had to find out if Alex and Brittany would end up together.*

There’s a lot of crude language in this book—I did mention Alex is in a gang, yes?—and, well, let’s just say this is definitely a romance for more mature teens. It won’t change anyone’s mind about romances, by which I mean girls looking for a romance will adore it and those with less patience for its bad boy/good girl setup and occassionally unrealistically (there’s that word again) sentimental dialogue, not to mention the way it romanticizes the bad boy and gives false hope about the possibilities of reforming them, won’t. If you don’t think much of romances to begin with, this is definitely not the book I’d recommend to change your mind. I have a hard time picturing this one in school libraries, and I think it will be one of those books readers either love or hate, especially judging by the other reviews I’ve read, at Teen Book Review and Semicolon (warning: spoilers!).

Perfect Chemistry will be published on December 23.

* Can I call this Diana Palmer for the high school set even though I utterly failed in my attempt to read a Diana Palmer book? Just based on this statement about a Palmer book: “it was crazy and insane and it made no sense and yet I still loved it”?

29 Comments leave one →
  1. September 26, 2008 12:06 am

    Hahahaha interesting to see this review, because you, Trisha, had a similar response to LEAVING PARADISE to mine, so I figure we’ll probably agree on this one, too. That remains to be see!


  2. September 26, 2008 9:04 am

    Wow. Quite the review. I may have to check this one out and see if I love it despite the overwroughtness. 🙂

  3. September 26, 2008 1:41 pm

    This book defines guilty pleasure for me. Really looking forward to seeing what others have to say. (Yes, that means you Steph!)

  4. Ada permalink
    February 14, 2009 6:33 am

    This was exactly how I felt about the “Twilight” series. there were some definite problems (“I decided it didn’t matter” says Bella concerning Edward’s being a vampire) but it had me hooked. I think it was a fair book, but the main problem was that the author’s purpose was to escape stereotypes, except the characters actually were stereotypes.

  5. Stace permalink
    March 16, 2009 11:02 am

    I completely loved it. It was so, so amazing and i couldn’t put it down once. I’m completely addicted to the book and the characters-it would make an awesome movie, it really gives people hope and inspiration (though this type of thing rarely happens)
    overall, i cried, i laughed, and my heart swelled with hope the entire time. Amazing, amazing, amazing book.

  6. elena permalink
    April 14, 2009 10:41 am

    i loovedd thiss book i couldnt put it downn onceee!!
    it would makee a really great movie! it is a really great book!

  7. Micayla permalink
    April 15, 2009 10:59 am

    I LOVED this book. Everyone should read it.

  8. marra permalink
    April 18, 2009 3:41 pm

    OMG I LOVED this book!!!!!!! It was SOOOOO good!!! I can;t even explain it it was so good!!!!! Also I think it would make an AWSOME movie!!! I would definetly go see it!!!:D Also it reminded me a little of Twilight… but I thought it was WAY better!!! (and I LOVED Twilight!!!)

  9. holly permalink
    April 22, 2009 4:23 pm

    i loved this with everything, i put it in the same catagories as twilightt it was that good!

  10. Madlenka permalink
    May 1, 2009 9:58 am

    I loved, loved, LOVED this book! It rivals for my favorite with The Hunger Games, which I have raved about for months on end and am actually going to wait outside a bookstore for the sequel. I am in love with Alex, and when I started reading the book I thought I would hate both of the characters. This book drew me in. I mean, the first line is “I know I’m perfect” or something like that, so you;d think it would be some boring chick lit, and I guess it kind of is, except it’s got that whole other level of depth. It’s crazy good, and I can tell this because when I finished it, I sat up and could not get the smile off my face for about twenty minutes. (The ending was the best part.) I immediately called the girl who lent me the book and talked her ear off about it for another twenty. Then I called another friend who read it and talked to her for another twenty. (I was still smiling intermittently.) I know it was somewaht stereotypical, but I thought was so amazing that a chick lit could touch me on so many levels, and I think the underlying reason was, it felt like it could actually be real.

  11. megan permalink
    May 15, 2009 6:31 am

    make it a movie!!

  12. Selena :] permalink
    May 28, 2009 10:28 am

    Ahhh!!!! This book Is the Best book Ever!!! Only if your into the lovey dovey awww how cute books :] I couldnt put this book down! I totally fell in love with alex! im jealous of brittany. Haha I actually think this is better than twilight. Shocker!!!!! But alex on the cover doeesnt look like a cholo Haha. Well yea…… i agree with megan! you should make it into a movie…..but in a way it is really similar to twilight……. :]

    • Ashley permalink
      November 29, 2009 1:40 am

      Omw, Alex on the cover of the book is so….*deep inhale/exhale*.

  13. Caroline permalink
    June 9, 2009 11:35 am

    i totally loved this book. while it was definitely a beach-read, i enjoyed the plot (though it was highly predictable.). i’m a sucker for the sappy, utterly happy-ending thing, so this book was exactly what i was looking for in a summer novel. *sigh* and alex’s character was totally swoon-worthy….just saying….

  14. Alison permalink
    July 16, 2009 11:27 am

    Absolutley LOVED it! Alex seems sooo hot! I agree im jealous of Brittany. I also agree they should make it a movie!!!

    • Ashley permalink
      November 29, 2009 1:38 am

      I think I fell in love with the Alex character. lol

  15. Ashley permalink
    November 29, 2009 1:37 am

    I am not a reader at all and when I decide to read a book and it is over 150 pages long it takes me a long time to read it. With this book, though, I read it in four days. Four days seems like a long time , but with having things to do it’s hard to read especially during Thanksgiving break. *I am thankful for Simone writing this book, it is absolutely amazing.* It had me on the edge of my seat the whole time, laughed throughout the whole book, even cried, and then at the end I was squealing and jumping up and down on the inside. (at 5 in the morning you shouldn’t do all that out loud) I absolutely love this book. personally I think it is WAY better than Twilight.

  16. lina permalink
    February 28, 2010 2:29 pm

    Omg!! am totally in love with alex..he is awsome..i never use to read books but this one i readed in 2 was awsome i love alex when he calls brittney mamacita hahahaha…woww it’s awsome..make it a movie;)

  17. April 20, 2010 6:25 pm

    i loved this book. When i was reading it it felt like i had a connection somehow even though im not a hot sexy mexican god, or a blond cheerleading white girl. loved it. cant wait till the 3rd perfect chemistry book comes out!! heard its about luis!! the youngest brother!!

  18. Ashlie permalink
    December 15, 2010 3:56 pm

    I really liked this book! I wrote a post about it on my blog. Check it out if you want!
    Nice review! 🙂


  1. links for 2008-09-28 « YA Fabulous!
  2. Trisha’s June-September roundup « The YA YA YAs
  3. Perfect Chemistry out today « The YA YA YAs
  4. Perfect Chemistry « Bookworm 4 Life
  5. 2010 books I can’t wait to read « The YA YA YAs
  6. 2010 RITA Nominations, and a bit of commentary « The YA YA YAs
  7. Rules of Attraction by Simone Elkeles « The YA YA YAs
  8. Review: Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles | The Book Memoirs
  9. 2012 RITA finalists for Young Adult Romance « The YA YA YAs

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