Kirkus Reviews QR Code
PERFECT CHEMISTRY by Simone Elkeles

PERFECT CHEMISTRY

By Simone Elkeles

Age Range: 14 & up

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-8027-9823-7
Publisher: Walker

Sparks fly when cheerleading it-girl Brittany Ellis is paired with gang-banger bad-boy Alex Fuentes in chemistry lab. Soon enough, Brittany’s snaky quarterback boyfriend dumps her, and her friends spread rumors that she and Alex are hooking up. Meanwhile, she and Alex wage their own battles at home. He longs to escape gang life, and she, the clutches of her overbearing mother. In a sense, they’re right for each other: Neither fits the mold they were put in, so it feels natural when a fiery romance begins to brew. Elkeles pens plenty of tasteful, hot scenes—including one where Brittany loses her virginity to Alex—that keep the pages turning. The other elements come together as well, though they seem forced. Alex and his friends are not fully fleshed out, and their voices and dialogue definitely don’t capture their characters or their experiences. Brittany’s issues and dramas with her mother and her entourage come off like a groan-inducing after-school special. Still, as the title implies, the author definitely knows how to write romance, and that should help readers overlook some of the cheesier bits. (Fiction. YA)