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.
Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles is one of those books that has been on my reading list literally for years, but I just never managed to buy it and give it a read, probably mostly because of the fact that I never saw a copy of it in a Finnish book store. Now that I have moved to UK, it was one of the first books I bought from here. And I am so happy I did so, because it was AMAZING!
The description of the story sounds pretty familiar; a girl and a boy from totally different backgrounds are forced together. They fall in love and are the only ones who actually understand why they are together. But this novel so much more than just this quite stereotypical story pattern.
What made this story exceptional was the characterization of both Brittany and Alex. They are round characters; they have many sides to them. So Brittany isn't just a stereotypical popular girl. And Alex isn't just a bad guy from the hood. Brittany's family life sucks and she keeps up a role just to please her parents. Alex is intelligent and passionate, but he has been sucked into the gangs and thus sees that as his eventual end. But everything changes when they are paired up in a chemistry class. After actually getting to know each other, they notice they can be themselves around each other.
I just loved everything about this novel. It manages to be funny, heartbreaking, passionate and intelligent all at the same time. It really catches the attention all the way from the beginning and you just have to keep reading. (I did the mistake of starting this a night before a morning class and kept reading it throughout the whole night.... I must say I was quite tired at my morning class).
Definitely one of the best books I have read in a long time!