Book Review: Perfect Chemistry (Perfect Chemistry #1) by Simone Elkeles

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.

Release Date: January 1, 2011
Age Group: Young adult
Publisher: Walker Books for Young Readers
Source: Library

I loved Elkeles' Leaving Paradise and Return to Paradise and I had a feeling I would like the Perfect Chemistry trilogy just as much.  I went into Perfect Chemistry expecting the things I loved about the Paradise series: complex characters falling in love despite major obstacles, a fast-moving alternating narrative, and an intense story.  And that was exactly what I got.

I did not identify with Alex, and to be honest, the whole gang mentality got old for me.  I just didn't get it.  I wanted to smack him upside the head several times.  I hated the bet and the way he treated Brittany at times.  But, I realized he was doing it for a reason, and that ended up making me like him even more. I loved the way Brittany treats her disabled sister.  That was the sweetest part of the book for me, the way Brittany always put her sister first.

While this book didn't have the same intensity or feelings as the Paradise series for me, I still really, really liked it.  Simone Elkeles writes excellent contemporary YA that I would recommend to anyone!


  1. Great honest review. You had me smiling when you admitted to wanting to smack him. That happens to me alll the time. :)

  2. I really liked the story of this one. I actually did like Alex. My main problem with the book was that I thought sex was too much a pinnacle of their relationship. Not the only thing of course but I didn't like the message it sent. But putting my personal opinions aside, I thought it was a great story.

  3. Aw, I love Perfect Chemistry. This was one of the first YA contemps that I read, so it has a special place in my heart. I love Alex Fuentes! Hottie! I haven't read the Paradise series, but I'm thinking I should!

  4. Oh gosh...this book sounds great. Just what I need at the moment. Heading to the beach for a weekend away and would love to get 'lost' in a great book. Thanks so much for sharing. I'm gonna get it on my Kindle.

  5. I'm glad you enjoyed this one. I read this book first, before Leaving Paradise and enjoyed LP a bit more than PC.

  6. I read this series first and then the Paradise books - I was the complete opposite!!

    The 2nd Paradise book seemed forced and an unrealistic situation, whereas I grew up going to school with gangs (not that I ever participated of had first hand knowledge, just what I saw)and this seemed pretty spot on.


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