Publisher: Walker Books for Young Readers
Source of my copy: I bought it
Synopsis (from Goodreads)
A fresh, urban twist on the classic tale of star-crossed lovers.
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.
I picked up this book on a whim one day while browsing Borders, without reading any reviews, something I rarely do nowadays. I kept putting it off until last weekend when I was on my contemporary young adult high and all I felt in the mood for to read was contemporary young adult. While I enjoyed Perfect Chemistry overall, I wasn't... what's the word... impressed by it.
It's a plot we've all seen and read before: a guy (here we have Alex, a sexy Latino gangbanger) from the wrong side of the tracks falls for the rich, popular cheerleader, Brittany, who had a not-so-nice boyfriend. I liked Alex more than Brittany as he had more of a personality. To me, Brittany was just bland. The book is told by Alex and Brittany through alternating first-person point of view but it took a while for their individual voices to shine through--for many chapters, without the help of character names, it could've been either Brittany or Alex "talking" as I couldn't tell their voices apart. As for the romance between Alex and Brittany, it's okay but the ending was just a little too perfect even for my romantic sensibilities.
The parts I enjoyed the most in this book were the friendships: Alex and his best friend Paco, the friendship that began between Brittany and Isa (a girl from Alex's "world") and Brittany's friendship with her best friend Sierra. I also liked the Latin flavor the author incorporated in the book.
If you're looking for a light, teenage escapism read and enjoy the West Side Story/forbidden love plot with plenty of cliche family drama, boyfriend drama and school drama, this is your book. Twilight fans needing a break from paranormals are sure to eat this book up. 3 out of 5 stars