Book Review: Chain Reaction (Perfect Chemistry #3) by Simone Elkeles

Luis Fuentes has always been sheltered from the gang violence that nearly destroyed his brothers’ lives. But that didn’t stop him from taking risks—whether he’s scaling a mountain in the Rockies or dreaming of a future as an astronaut, Luis can’t stop looking for the next thrill.

Nikki Cruz lives her life by three rules—boys lie to get their way, don’t trust a boy who says “I love you,” and never date a boy from the south side of Fairfield. Her parents may be from Mexico, but as a doctor’s daughter, she has more in common with her north-side neighbors than the Latino Blood at her school. Then she meets Luis at Alex’s wedding, and suddenly, she’s tempted to break all her rules.

Getting Nikki to take a chance on a southsider is Luis’s biggest challenge, until he finds himself targeted by Chuy Soto, the new head of the Latino Blood. When Chuy reveals a disturbing secret about Luis’s family, the youngest Fuentes finds himself questioning everything he’s ever believed to be true. Will his feelings for Nikki be enough to stop Luis from entering a dark and violent world and permanently living on the edge?

Release Date: August 16, 2011
Age Group: Young Adult
Publisher: Walker Books for Young Readers
Source: Library

I really liked book one in the series, Perfect Chemistry, so I was excited to read Luis' story (my library did not have book two, so I had to skip Carlos' story).  I was hoping that Luis would not fall prey to the same things that mired Alex into the gang life, especially since Alex went through so much to keep his family safe.  But, pride and responsibility to keep his family safe weighed heavily on Luis and he made many of the same mistakes that Alex did.

I liked Nikki a lot and really felt for her, especially considering her past.  She was my favorite character in the story, and I loved seeing her walls come down as she grows and lets herself fall in love.

My favorite part of Chain Reaction was seeing Alex and Brittany's happily ever after.  I loved getting a glimpse into their lives.

Overall, Chain Reaction felt recycled.  The story seemed so similar to Alex's story (and I'm sure it was similar to Carlos' as well).  I got so tired of reading about gangs, drugs, and guns.  I don't regret reading this book, but I am glad that I got a library copy instead of buying it.  Fears that book two, Rules of Attraction will be the same as the other Perfect Chemistry books are keeping me from buying it.  If my library ends up getting a copy of Rules of Attraction, I'll read it, but I won't be buying it. 


  1. You know I tried this series once but her Hispanic voice that she tried to give the guys just didn't feel authentic to me.

    Great honest review.

  2. I loved Perfect Chemistry, but I never picked up the other two books in the series b/c the blurbs made them sound like more of the same.


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