Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles
Alex, beautiful and brilliant and totally Bad A, is trapped in his own Gangland and going nowhere fast. Brittany is flawless and rich, but on the first day of senior year is paired with Alex in chem class to work on a project together. Amidst Spanglish and plenty of Misunderstandings, worlds collide when these two realize that perhaps they were MFEO.
**Probable Spoilers to Follow**
Perhaps I'm wrong, though it's a rarity, but I think I'm one of fifteen people on the planet who didn't really like this book. In so many ways it was All The Reasons YA Can Be Ridiculous. I'll tell you what though: That cover - it makes me want a Latino Lover of my own.
Brittany Beauty Queen has a crappy home life, her boyfriend only wants her hot bod, and she never lets anyone get to know the real Brittany. So she's something of a tortured soul, but no one knows it. Alejandro is protecting his family by thug life-ing it with the Latino Bloods, has a major Bad Attitude and secretly wants more out of life. He calls her chica and mamacita a lot, she does a lot of stomping and hair flipping around him to show her annoyance. It's all very angsty.
Then, as if that's not enough original characterizations to blow your mind, enter High School Science Class. Honestly, why did I never use Biology/Chemistry work as my secret weapon when I was a teenager? I think because I never did the, I Hated You When I Was Forced To Be Your Lab Partner But Then I Realized You Were My One True Love thing that I probably missed my shot at happiness in this life.
There's plenty of missumptions, stereotypes, swearing, sexual tension and forbidden love affairs. Generally these are all things I love and try to utilize in my everyday life, but it just felt so forced and trite in this story. While I liked the characters okay by the end, they were cookie-cutters stereotypes of any teen movie blended with no real plot and an anti-climactic fight scene. I think the author was going for a Romeo & Juliet theme, sans the Shakespearean poetry and tragic ending.
Consensus: 2.5 stars out of 5 for my excessive eye-rolling, an overused storyline and heavy situations treated too lightly. But a nice pool read if you have a sexy chicano lifeguard nearby.
Book source: A friend.