I think Simone Elkeles has created a wonderful, modern tale of those ever-popular star-crossed lovers, in Perfect Chemistry. Though I must say....I'm not a fan of the cover at all. Not one single bit. Loved the story though, so it's all good.
Brittany Ellis is rich, popular, beautiful, and puts her mask of perfection on every day when she heads to school. Her home life, however, is not perfect at all, with parents that can't get along and a mentally disabled sister she lovingly takes care of. When she is set to be chem lab partners with Alex Fuentes, a guy from the South side of town, one who always has rumors of drug abuse, gang violence floating around about him, the pair instantly clash.
Alex has some issues in his life....his dad was murdered right in front of his eyes, he has a less-than-stellar mother, and is forced to belong to a gang to insure the safety of his younger brothers. After taking a bet, Alex attempts to get Brittany to fall for him, but ends up truly falling for her instead. The couple that instantly hated each other is now falling in love, breaking stereotypes and boundaries as they go.
I really enjoyed this contemporary Romeo and Juliet story. In today's society, the plot is really not that far-fetched and the characters incredibly realistic. Brittany is, at first, portrayed as a spoiled brat, though the reader soon finds out she is a wonderful, caring, lovable girl. Alex is deemed the tough guy, the drug dealer, the gang member, but we learn how small he feels in such a big world, how much he wants to keep his family safe, and his determination to find his father's killer.
Elkeles is obviously very talented, giving us a great story, a memorable cast of characters, and a message that will stay with the reader for a very long time.
Again, I do not think the cover does this book justice, it makes it appear a romancy drama, missing out on all the depth Brittany and Alex have. The passion the reader gets once the cover is opened definitely makes up for it though.
To learn more or to purchase, click on the book cover above to link to Amazon.