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.
I’ll be a dork and admit that I love Shakespeare, in fact, I took an English class in college as an elective that was the first of two semester classes just about his various plays. While Romeo and Juliet is not a favorite of mine, I do enjoy it, especially for the forbidden love angle. In Perfect Chemistry, Ms Elkeles takes this take of star-crossed lovers and sets it in modern-day Chicago. I will have to admit I had been recommended this book many times over the last few months (after I started reading a lot more YA) but I kept putting it off and I don’t know why. Maybe because I was afraid of being disappointed since it had been so hyped up…but when I did decide to read (or in this case, listen), I wasn’t disappointed.
The main characters of Brittany and Alex were well-developed and I felt that through-out the book, I not only got to know them, but also see them grow and change as people (yes, I know that probably sounds a bit weird). The supporting characters of Paco (Alex’s friend), his brothers (who get their own books later on), as well as Brittany’s sister provided an interesting depth and development. Without them, I don’t know if the book would have been that good.
My recommendation for the audiobook came from a goodreads friend of mine and since I trust her recommendations (she hasn’t steered me wrong yet), I decided to go with that option. One of the things I did like about the book was that it was told in an alternating POV with each chapter dedicated to either Alex or Brittany, and the audiobook was the same. Roxanne did a great job as Brittany, I could see her in my head as I was listening to her narration. At first, however, I wasn’t so sure about Blas narration of Alex, he seemed almost too old for the teenager that Alex was supposed to be, but his voice grew on it. Especially as Alex’s background revealed itself and you realized that he had been forced to grow up too soon. I’m also not a spanish speaker, so I can’t really comment on the authenticity of the language used or how it is supposed to sound, but to my untrained ear it sounded good.
I’ll definately be reading more by this author in the future, especially the books about Alex’s brothers.