"Perfect Chemistry" – By Simone Elkeles

Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles. What first stood out to me about this book, I’ll have to admit was the cover. I was at Target, browsing the book sections and picked this up.

I loved the beginning chapter. Seeing the behind-the-scenes life of Brittany Ellis, with her nerve-stricken mom tapping a heel and expecting her to play the perfect daughter every second of the day, to Brittany’s constant care and attention she has for her handicapped sister.

I had to read on.

The next chapter was about Alex Fuentes, sharing a room with his two little brothers who fight, and a fiery Latino mother who knows how to set them all straight with a cold bucket of water.

What’s not to love?

The story is about these two characters. Their very different lives, and how they’re brought together from two perfectly different worlds (almost like West Side story) to love and help each other along their paths in life, even when it seems like the whole world is against them.

Now, the story may be cute. But “bad-wise” this story’s got it all: violence, language, sex. I’m assuming Elkeles pushed her limit in what’s supposed to be a Young Adult book.

VIOLENCE/GORE: Alex is part of a gang, which institutes violence, senseless beatings, even a murder.

LOVE/SEX: Alex has a reputation of never backing down and when his stupid friends push him into a bet to see if he can sleep with Brittany Ellis or not, he takes it. Thus making sex one of the main factors throughout the entire book.

DRUGS/ALCOHOL: Both characters don’t mind drinking. Both get drunk. And one gets high. No real temperance in anything.

Definitely do NOT use this book as a guide for your morals. Elkeles doesn’t have any message for the reader except “don’t be in a gang” and “use protection”. . Which both seem to be stupid “no duh”s in my opinion.

This is a series but I don’t know if I’ll pursue it, cute as the stories may be.

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