This post may contain affiliate links or I may be reviewing a book that I have received for free as part of a review program or as an advanced reader copy. That being said, all opinions are my own. The book cover, author photo, author biography, rap video, and plot summary for Perfect Chemistry are courtesy of simoneelkeles.com.
If you decided to be one of those super stalkers, which is totally okay by me, and read my biography on my about page, you’d have seen that Perfect Chemistry was the first romance book that I read, and I have Simone Elkeles to thank for introducing me to this beautiful genre. I hope you understand how important this book is to me and take the time to read both my review and the novel itself. Brittany and Alex won’t let you down.
Perfect Chemistry in 85 Characters or Less
Teenage princess and wrong-side-of-the-tracks guy bridge two radical worlds for love
Full Plot Summary
A modern tale of star-crossed lovers with a fresh urban twist.
At Fairfield High School, on the outskirts of Chicago , everyone knows that south-siders mixing with north-siders can be explosive. So when Brittany Ellis and Alejandro “Alex” Fuentes are forced to be lab partners in chemistry class, this human experiment leads to unexpected revelations – that Brittany ’s flawless reputation is a cover for her troubled home life, that Alex’s bad-boy persona hides his desire to break free from gang ties, and that when they’re together, life somehow makes more sense. Breaking through the stereotypes and expectations that threaten to keep Brittany and Alex apart, Perfect Chemistry takes readers to both sides of the tracks in a passionate love story about looking beneath the surface.
(This video is a gem. Please watch it.)
Epitome of a Stereotypical High School
If you’re looking for a classic high school romance – a modern Grease – Perfect Chemistry is the one for you. You get it all: racial discrimination, popular cheerleader-and-football-quarterback relationships, gangbangers, and this idea that an image as a mask keeps you safe. Reading this, you may think that it’s too stereotypical of a storyline for you or that the characters wouldn’t have any development because you can see the changes coming. I’m happily here to tell you that you’re wrong.
Elkeles writes those masks of perfection or danger, that fear of being known and being judged, in a way that’s easy for younger audiences to understand and that’s possible for adults to relate to. While the issues that she writes about take place in a high school on the suburbs of Chicago, they address underlying issues that we all face, no matter our situation. Brittany gives it all up for love. Eventually Alex does, too. Where will you stand with wherever your demons are? Will you take the risk?
Pulls The Heartstrings
I remember when my mom came into my bedroom one day and told me that she had read Perfect Chemistry. I’ll admit that I had a little internal panic attack because the novel does have its fair share of bad words scattered throughout and I didn’t know what she was going to say about me reading it. She asked me what I thought and I spouted something about how culturally important it was in regards to racial differences in high schools around the US. That’s all very true, and as a more mature person, I can see how accurate those words were. What I really value about this novel, though, is the simplistic and realistic romance that Brittany and Alex embark on.
Whether you experienced it or not, we all had this dream of meeting our true love in high school and being swept away on this magical romance. I’ll be the first to say that I wasn’t one of those people, so Perfect Chemistry allowed me to live out that romance in the lives of Brittany and Alex. I definitely got wrapped up in their emotions, their trials and tribulations, and their successes. I even shed a few tears at the all-is-well-in-the-world reunion that the novel concludes with. It’s pure, it’s simple, it’s passionate. What more could you ask for?
Ending Personal Anecdote
I want you to think of something you love. A passion of yours. Something that gets you through the rough days. Now I want you to think of when your love for that thing (or person) started. What was the moment that you knew you wanted more of that in your life? There are definitely more than one thing that I could apply to my question, one of them being my love of romance books.
As I said at the beginning of the post, reading Perfect Chemistry was the book that set off the love affair between me and romance novels. Therefore, it’ll always hold a special place in my heart. I can (sort of…) understand if you don’t like Perfect Chemistry. I can even (less so…) understand if you don’t particularly love romance books. But I still want you to find that rose, that one rose that kicked it all off for you. Sharing my rose in Perfect Chemistry today means a lot to me. Find your rose. Take a moment to understand it and why it meant so much to you. Then go share it with someone else.
Where to Buy
Simone Elkeles is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of novels for teens. Simone’s books have won many awards including being YALSA Top Ten Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers, being named to the YALSA Popular Paperbacks and Teens Top Ten lists, and added to the Illinois “Read for a Lifetime” Reading List. Simone also won the coveted RITA award from the Romance Writers of America for her book Perfect Chemistry. Simone is especially proud of the fact that the Illinois Association of Teachers of English named her Author of the Year. You can learn more about Simone’s awards by clicking on each of the book titles below.
Simone currently has eight teen books in bookstores:
- Perfect Chemistry
- Rules of Attraction
- Chain Reaction
- Leaving Paradise
- Return to Paradise
- How to Ruin a Summer Vacation
- How to Ruin my Teenage Life
- How to Ruin Your Boyfriend’s Reputation
Simone was born and raised in the suburbs of Chicago, where she still lives today. Simone went to the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign and received her Bachelor’s of Science there in Psychology in 1992. She continued her education at Loyola University-Chicago where she received her Master’s of Science degree in Industrial Relations while working for a manufacturing company creating diversity programs for their employees.
She loves animals (she has two dogs – a labradoodle and a German Shepherd), kids (she also has two of those) and her family. In her spare time she’s the Hockey Mom for her kids hockey teams and is an active Girl Scout leader specially trained in outdoor education. She also spends time mentoring other teen and adult authors. (She also loves sushi, which you can probably tell by reading her books.) Simone writes about teens because she was a teen in the 80’s (when spiked hair and blue eye shadow were “rad”) and she loves writing about those exciting teen relationships and romances.