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Perfect Chemistry by Simon Elkeles

Posted by Sherry on 8/26/2008 in General, Young Adult Fiction |

I can’t believe I read the whole thing.

And now I’m going to write a spoiler review so that you don’t have to read it when it comes out in December, 2008. Or if you like stereotypical characters, a predictable plot, and lots of heavy breathing in your teen fiction, you can run out and grab a copy for Christmas. Just don’t give it to me.

Alex is a Chicano gang banger from the wrong side of town, and Brittany is the blond and beautiful leader of the pom-pom squad. Alex’s dad is dead (killed in a gang-related murder), and his mom is loving but overwhelmed. Brittany lives with an inattentive dad and a neurotic mom who pressures her to be perfect. In fact Brittany pressures herself to be perfect because her mentally handicapped sister can never be the perfect daughter that Brittany’s mom wants. This books is actually about perfectionism, gangs, and sex, with sex at the top of the list.

So Miss Perfect But Really Poor Little Rich Girl meets Chicano Gang Member from Down in the Boondocks with a Rough Exterior But a Heart of Gold –in chemistry class–and what do you think happens? Of course, they fall for each other, and after several mildly humorous cross-cultural misunderstandings and lots of heavy breathing, petting and foreplay, and not a little violence, they get together, have sex before marriage, and live happily ever after.

Again, any author has a right to tell whatever story he or she wants to tell, and I have a right to say that it’s not only unrealistic, but misleading to the teens to whom this book is being marketed. Bad boys are not usually changed into law-abiding citizens by the love of a good woman, no matter what the romance writers may say. If your daughter takes up with a gang banger who in his spare time is an enforcer for criminal enterprises, you had better do more than wring your hands and whine that he’s just not our kind of people. No one is beyond redemption, not Mexican American gang members and not perfectionist fake blondes, but redemption is the product of repentance and a change of heart, not lust and a lucky break, as it is in this novel.

And don’t even get me started on the stereotypes that fill the book: Mr. Macho, Miss Popularity, Mr. Sidekick, Tough but Fair Chemistry Teacher, Back-Stabbing Friend, Weak Lawyer’s Son Boyfriend, Distant Dad, etc.

Thanks to Walker Books for sending me a review copy of Perfect Chemistry, but no thanks.

Jocelyn at Teen Book Reviews has a completely different opinion from mine.

10 Comments

  • LOL! Thanks and I’ll pass. Whether you meant to or not, I appreciated the good laugh at the start of my day. ha!

  • DebD says:

    you said: Or if you like stereotypical characters, a predictable plot, and lots of heavy breathing in your teen fiction, you can run out grab a copy for Christmas.

    LOL! Nope, this is definitely not my type of book. Thanks for the warning.

  • […] Semicolon (Here, There Be Dragons)2. Semicolon (Abigail Iris The One and Only)3. Semicolon (Perfect Chemistry)4. Carrie K. (Guernica – Review & Giveaway)5. Carrie K. (The Devil’s Arithmetic)6. Janet […]

  • leslie says:

    aww really, darn it. i loved her other 3 books. but i guess this one wont be so great 🙁

  • […] love or hate, especially judging by the other reviews I’ve read, at Teen Book Review and Semicolon (warning: […]

  • Jessica says:

    I just finished with the book and I have to disagree with your assessment of it. yea it was super stereotypical, but that was kinda the point, breaking out of stereotypes(I mean come on, Brit is such classic snobby rich white girl name). I thought Alex and Brittney were really cute. they had everything going against them but they still fought for what they wanted. Alex never wanted the life he was in, so it wasn’t so unbelievable that he changed it when he saw a different path. as for it being unrealistic, well what good romance isn’t? I mean look at twilight. the book defiantly had it’s flaws but I though, that overall, the book was good. it held my interest all night till I finished it and had me giggling like a school girl. if your looking for a good escape and easy read, perfect chemistry is a great way too go.

  • dameris says:

    wel..im srry but i loved the book i agree wiff jessica.i just finished the book a couple of days ago and i just couldnot stop reading after the first couple of pages…it was one of the best book i read…..=)

  • Breauna says:

    yup,agree 100% with jessica. perfect chemistry was a wonderful book(and so was twilight). but i was a little disappointed in the ending. it felt like the author was writing the end of the book in 5 pages. but over all i loved it

  • imani says:

    I dont care what anybody else say’s about perfect chemistry. It show’s how you could find love in people or place you never thought it would be. I love this book and hope there would be a part two.

  • georgia:) says:

    i loved the book soooo much 🙂 xx

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