I sniff books like crack.

Perfect Chemistry (Perfect Chemistry Series #1)

Perfect Chemistry - Simone Elkeles MILD SPOILERS AHEAD. MILD.How do I even begin to explain how I feel about Perfect Chemistry? To be honest, I felt a bit turned off when I read the first two chapters of the book. It began with Brittany’s point of view in the first chapter, then Alex’s point of view in the next. Simone Elkeles showed a glimpse of Brit’s and Alex’s lives before they even met - their families, friends, school life. From the get go, I could easily predict how the story would unravel. To me it was all a bit too cliché; popular rich blonde who-you-think-is-perfect-but-isn’t falls in love with the Spanish bad ass from “da hood”. And to top it off, there’s the element of the bet made between Alex and his friends, the bet that says he has to get Brittany to sleep with him before Thanksgiving. The moment I read about it in the synopsis I just thought, “Oh I can already see how this will end.”True enough, I was right. The storyline is so formulaic I thought twice about finishing it at first. BUT I’M GLAD I DID! The story may have been predictable early on but Simone Elkeles wrote with such creativity that I was able to look past all the clichés.Brittany’s and Alex’s secret lives are so non-conventional that you’d sympathize with the characters as you go along the way. It didn’t make me want to bang my head on the book and yell at them saying, “Dude, it’s so simple! How can you not see it?!” (unlike some wildly predictable stories)What exactly is non-conventional about their secret lives? Although Brittany is Little Ms. Perfect in school, the truth is she’s anything but at home. She has a mother who constantly nags on her, her father is too workaholic they can barely talk to him, and her older sister whom she loves dearly, Shelly, has cerebral palsy. (And she’s pretty much the biggest part of who Brittany is) On the one hand we have Alex, a member of the notorious gang called the Latino Blood. After witnessing his father get killed when he was only 6 years old, he had to grow up to early to protect his mom and two brothers. (But there’s so much more to Alex’s history, I just don’t want to spoil everything for everyone)The way Elkeles brought her lead characters to life with their rich backgrounds appealed to me and made me forget about how predictable the storyline is as a whole. But Elkeles was able to polish the details of the book without going overboard and turning it into a crazy whirlwind love affair. (*coughs* Beautiful Disaster *coughs*)Even the minor characters added flavor to the book (how appropriate is “flavor” to a book filled with Latinos). Some characters are predictable but like I said, the details make all the difference. We have…-Shelley, Brit’s sister who has cerebral palsy - she’s such a delight to picture, always happy whenever Brittany’s around and always beating Alex at checkers. -Brit’s extremely unreasonable mother - she’s so uptight you’d wish Shelley would pull her hair out instead.-Paco, Alex’s bestfriend who plays-a-key-role-but-I-won’t-say-what-Alex’s mom - now I’ve taken a special liking to her in a weird way. I half expected her to be the usual doting mother who wants to straighten her boys out and is thankful for her son’s girlfriend who does the trick. But she’s not. (I didn’t spoil it much, I swear!)Other minor characters were so typical I won’t even discuss them.As for her writing style, she’s okay in that department. It’s not too sloppy ala EL James or Stephenie Meyer, but I wouldn’t say her technique deserves an A+ either. Enough of that. I think I would only dwell on this aspect if I thought her work needed a hell lot of proofreading and revising. But it doesn’t.And this is me nitpicking: I found that the book lacked vivid physical descriptions of the characters. I had trouble picturing a hot gangster Latino and a beautiful blonde who doesn’t look pasty. Or maybe it’s just my inability to appreciate blondes and the stereotypical gangster Latinos I’m used to. Or maybe it’s the people on the book cover that messed with my imagination. Maybe. Definitely the people on the cover. Side note: DON’T PICK BOOKS WITH PEOPLE ON THE COVER. Kidding.The winning factor for me is how Elkeles was able to provide an image of how Brittany and Alex’s relationship continued by writing about it briefly in the end, and in the epilogue. I easily get disappointed whenever a writer would make characters discuss a future together only to leave her audience hanging. It’s just this pathetic thing I go through whenever I finish reading a love story - I need to know what else happened to them after the The End in the last chapter. Some sort of follow through is necessary, and Simone Elkeles delivered excellently. TO SUM UP:1. The book may be filled with cliché but the details will make you fall in love with the story and the characters (including the minor ones).2. She’s a good enough writer, technique-wise.3. It lacks vivid physical descriptions but I guess that’s just me.4. You will definitely love the follow through in the end. *wink*

Currently reading

Marie Lu
Dream Caster
Najeev Raj Nadarajah
Eleanor & Park
Rainbow Rowell
Not Pretty Enough
Jaimie Admans