Review | Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles

Posted November 7, 2012 by Asheley in review, Uncategorized / 23 Comments

Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles
Series: Perfect Chemistry #1
Published by Walker BYR
Publish Date: December 23, 2008
359 Pages
Source: Tara from HobbitsiesThank you!

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. (Goodreads)

Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles

My Thoughts:  OKAY. SO. Perfect Chemistry was part of the giant box of contemporary books Tara from Hobbitsies loaned me to get me started on my love for YA Contemporary. (Tara is awesome for doing that, by the way.)

The first thing you need to know is this:
Perfect Chemistry is cheesy.
Perfect Chemistry is really cheesy. It’s also a story we’ve read before, sort of. We’ve read the classic Romeo and Juliet story, right? Rich girl, poor boy, two different sides of town. Her parents would never approve of him. She doesn’t even approve of him to begin with, but soon sparks fly and BAM! They’re seeing fireworks and the connection is oh-so-very-there. And of course, Alex Fuentes is in a gang. And of course, makes a bet that he can get Brittany Ellis. I could go on, but I won’t.

Despite the huge cheeseball factor of Perfect Chemistry, I loved it. It was easy and fun. And despite being a YA book, it was cough*ahem*cough older-YA enough that I blushed a few times. Sometimes I just want to read something that doesn’t require any thought at all. Pure entertainment. And this was perfect.

The second thing you need to know is this:
Every time I read the name “Alex Fuentes” in the story,
I had to say “Fuentes” out loud. 
Why? I do not know. (I even did it as I typed this blog post.)

Probably because I just liked the character, dangit. Why do I have to have a reason? You try saying it out loud. It sounds and feels quite lovely. Fuentes. See? 

ALSO: Let it be known that I don’t speak a word of Spanish. I have never taken Spanish classes. I took Latin in high school. So all of the little words and phrases thrown in here and there (there were plenty!) were completely lost on me. I’m assuming Simone Elkeles meant to spice up the story, and I’m totally sure that’s exactly what those words did. However, I can’t confirm that 100% since I actually don’t know what any of them meant.

Sometimes if I’m curious about something in a book, I’ll Google it. With Perfect Chemistry: I was devouring this book at an alarming rate. I didn’t stop reading long enough to Google anything! I basically ignored all of the Spanish in the book – and I’m willing to bet I’m not the only non-Spanish-speaking person to do so. It’s unfortunate – sure – but I’m just being honest.

The third thing you need to know is this: 

I very rarely look at book trailers, but I actually sought out the book trailer for this book. It was a monumental error and I cannot scrub my eyes hard enough or erase this song from my ears. And that stinks! Because there was such potential given that there was an Alex Fuentes character in this book.

It may be funny to some people – but y’all, I really liked this book. I cannot yet decide whether to laugh or cry.


Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles was one of those books that came to me at just the right time. It was exactly the perfect book for me when I read it, if that makes any sense at all. It was complete and total entertainment that required nothing of me, and I adored it. Sure, it was completely cliche and cheesy. Sure, I think the story is one that has been told before. But I will read this story in books over and over and over because WHO AMONG US DOESN’T WANT A STORY LIKE THIS? (I’m sure there are a few of you. And it’s okay. It really is.)

In terms of the story, this is not the most lyrical and beautiful writing that I’ve ever read. It just isn’t. It is to the point and it tells a story, period. I can completely respect that because lyrical prose isn’t necessarily needed to tell the story of Alex and Brittany. My favorite technical component of Perfect Chemistry is the alternating point-of-view structure because it is always favorable to me to have multiple perspectives on situations, particularly when the two perspectives are as completely differing as those of Alex and Brittany. These alternating POV’s were written well and the transition between the two was fairly seamless.

I loved Alex Fuentes. And despite not being too sure about Brittany Ellis in the beginning, I quickly found that I liked her too. These two characters are great – they’re just…cheesy and typical. They’ve had hard lives, and I have read where claims of character development is defended in other reviews – I suppose I can see development to a degree, because they both had to shed some preconceived stereotypes to be able to have a relationship. And oh that ending, so pretty! (Really, I did like it. But it was so doggone abnormally perfect.)

In spite of these things and the cheesiness of Perfect Chemistry, I completely loved it. I loved it to pieces and you bet I’ll be reading Rules of Attraction and Chain Reaction at some point. I recommend Perfect Chemistry to readers who love YA contemporary romance, particularly those who are looking for an easy-breezy read without too much depth. (I find that tons of my reading friends have already read this book. I quite possibly may be the last person left on earth that needed to read it.)

Perfect Chemistry will appeal to fans of:

YA Contemporary Romance
Alternating POV’s
Romance: slowly developing?

**Young Readers!
You need to make sure you’re mature enough for this one!**
Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles

is currently available for purchase. 



Did you walk around saying FUENTES like I did?

I love these easy-breezy, no-thought-required books…
even if they’re cheesy sometimes.

Any recommendations like this one?


About Asheley

Asheley is a Southern girl. She loves Carolina blue skies, Ben & Jerry's ice cream, and NC craft beer. She loves all things history but prefers books over everything.

You can find her somewhere in North Carolina, daydreaming about the ocean.

Find Asheley on Litsy @intothehallofbooks!


23 responses to “Review | Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles

  1. Aw, Tara's sweet. When your new to a genre, it can be a little tricky finding your next book to read and what suits your reading style, so to have someone direct you to some books sure is helpful.

    I read Perfect Chemistry last year and instantly fell in love. It's cheesy and predictable and definitely felt that to be true reading it the second time round but it was just the kind of book I was looking for at that the time when I first read it. And the Fuentes brothers? What's not to love! Alex ♥

    I've read Rules of Attraction and though I haven't yet got round to Chain Reaction, do plan to pick it up eventually.

    So glad to see you enjoying another contemporary!

    • Yes, when I started with the contemps back in early summer, Tara was helpful but so were a couple of other people. Now I love them.

      I definitely loved Alex Fuentes. I'm ready to read more from the other brothers but I do tend to try and space out my series/companion books so it may be a little while.

      I did love this one to pieces!

  2. Your review made me say 'Fuentes' out loud! Haha. It does sound good when you say it.

    I don't really read a lot of contemporary books, but I LOVED Perfect Chemistry. Probably because I cared for the characters since you're reading both their POV's.
    You should read Rules of Attraction soon, I liked it even more than Perfect Chemistry!

    • I've said 'Fuentes' all day today too!

      I used to read anything BUT contemporary, but I've really started reading a lot of it and I've found that I like it a lot. This one had been on my list for a long time and I'm glad I finally picked it up. It won't be TOO long before I'm ready for Rules of Attraction. 🙂

  3. I'm on hiatus this week but had to comment because I'm a fan of this book too! And Alex Fuentes. And all the Spanish words that just roll of your tongue (I love all the Spanish influenced names in The Fire and Thorns books too!)

    But mainly I wanted to comment to leave you this link, so that you can get that horrible trailer out of your head and have something infinitely better in it's place:)

    (It's the Fuentes brothers from the Perfect Chemistry book covers:)

  4. You're certainly not the last person, as I have yet to read it. It does sound like an interesting contemp novel, and I'm intrigued by the whole gang thing…

    • This book is fun! It does have the element of the gang and stereotyping, which kind of tries to push it into issues, but it really is just an easy, fun, slightly-cheesy, totally cliche YA contemporary romance that is super good. You will devour it and probably like it a lot – at least that's what I did. So glad I picked it up and read it!

    • I HAVE actually read Pushing the Limits, and it's funny you mention it because I actually thought of that book too while I was reading. They do have similarities.

      I like them both a lot and will continue both series. I think there was some silliness and cliche in both, but ultimately I think Pushing the Limits was just a little bit better in terms of the writing and story. Perfect Chemistry seems like one of those books you tuck away in your back pocket for when you need something quick and fun after a heavy book, while Pushing the Limits has a little more substance to it. At least, that's what I think.

      But I totally agree with you about the similarity and I love that you picked up on it too. 🙂

    • Ash, I think this is one of those cases where you put this on your list as a pick-me-up or a quick, easy, fun read between after a heavy or not-fun book. I enjoyed the heck out of it, but it wasn't the most mind-blowing story I've ever read because it is so cliche. But, yeah, I'm gonna keep going with the series. I loved it.

  5. I loved this book – we both reviewed indulgent reads today. HA! And I adore super cheesy, predictable Romeo and Juliet story lines. I mean these two meet because they're assigned to work on a project together in school. How often does THAT happen in YA! Still, I completely enjoyed this story and Alex Fuentes. Yes please. I like that it also had a bit of an edge – the Latino gang culture was fascinating. I've read the entire series, and it's all fun. But this one is definitely my favorite of the three.

    • Also, I watched that video and LAUGHED hysterically for several minutes. It's a spoof, right?????? That's how I took it at least. My Alex looks nothing like that one. He certainly doesn't wear tank tops like that.

    • Oh my goodness, I hope it is a spoof! It was posted by the author, though. AND it is on her website. While the other two books had more 'serious' trailers, this is the only one I found that had the author's name on it. WHY WHY WHY?! You know how things like this put me in knots! I was doing the Home-Alone-hands-on-my-face pose while I watched it and it wasn't pretty.

      Yes, indulgent! That's a better word than any I used. I loved this book and it came at the PERFECT time for me. I read it in the carpool line, I read it with my left hand while I cooked with my right hand, things like that. I couldn't get enough of it. The story was so fun and I'm like you, I always go for those cheesy HEA's, particularly the Romeo and Juliet ones.

      I actually laughed out loud at myself at one point because it took me a GOOD LONG WHILE to pick up on the pun of the title and the fact that they were paired up in chemistry class. It just made it cheesier, and of course, that meant I loved it more.

  6. Thanks for the cheeseball warning! Sometimes if something like that is unexpected when I read it can totally put me off a book. BUT I have really wanted to read this one and the fact that you still really liked it means that I'll keep it on the TBR 🙂

    • It was cheesy but worth the read. I read through it pretty quickly during a stressful time, so it was a good one to keep in my back pocket. And I did really love it. There are quite a few of these types of stories out there, but I love reading them.

  7. I have never heard of Perfect Chemistry before but I am definitely adding it to my TBR list right now. I've been feeling the need for a little bit of cheesy romance but, haven't been sure where to look. I think this might be the perfect one though! Especially with the multicultural diversity aspect. On a side note, what is up with that book trailer? It's awful! Definitely kinda takes away from the book from an outside perspective, and that's too bad. I'm still going to add it to my TBR list though because I do want to check it out after your positive review. Thanks Asheley! 🙂

    • Oh that book trailer is the pits! Even if it is supposed to be funny! I just can't deal with it!

      YES, add it to the TBR. This is indeed a cheesy romance, but it is a GOOD cheesy romance and YAY for diversity! It does get a little stereotypical in at times, particularly in the beginning, but there's a point to that and honestly, Allison, I DEVOURED this book. I can't believe I waited so long to read it!

  8. You are not alone! I still haven't started this series yet. But I obviously need to since, ya know, I'm kind of a YA contemporary junkie. 🙂 I'm a sucker for forbidden/starcrossed lovers. And although I took three years of Spanish in high school, I had a terrible teacher and therefore know very little Spanish, despite living and working in a town with a pretty high Spanish-speaking population. Anyway, even though I probably won't understand most of the Spanish, I loooove when authors include linguistic flavor in books (and by that I mean anything from another language to cooking terms or dialect. Love it all!). Also, I just finished the first two books (literally, finished them both today) in the Brenna Blixen series by Liz Reinhardt and I would TOTALLY recommend them if you haven't already!! (Double Clutch is first, then Junk Miles, then Slow Twitch which I also just had to buy today on my nook.) Not really all that similar in story line aside from both also being YA contemporary romance (and having some making-Randi-blush scenes as well!), but I think you might like it as well! Great review, Asheley.

    • 1) I took Latin! It did me NO GOOD with this book. There isn't a TON of Spanish in it – no long sentences or phrases, just words here and there. But I didn't know what any of the words meant, except for mamacita. Haha.

      2) I will read a starcrossed lover/Romeo & Juliet story allday, everyday. I just love them. I don't know why! This one is great, plus I love the minority aspect with Alex being Latino and in a gang. A little cliche, but the whole dang book is cliche and I don't mind that sometimes.

      3) I think I've seen Liz Reinhardt's name around. I'll have to check her out! Thanks for the recommend!

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