Bennett's Book Nook

Hannah Heh

Perfect Chemistry

By: Simone Elkeles

Down in the Dumps

If I could remove one character from Perfect Chemistry, I would remove Brittany’s dad. My reasoning is simple, he barely played a role in the book or in his daughter’s life as it is. It would be an easy change because he was absent most of the book. He was a workaholic and never home. He probably made an appearance 2 or 3 times total during the entire story.

Fab Five's Favs'

-“But wishes are only granted in fairy tales.” These are Alex Fuentes's words and they are so relevant to the story line because Alex and Brittany both have their own problems that they are going through that nobody knows about. They both wish for things that are out of reach and impossible in that moment.

-“You are the one girl that made me risk everything for a future worth having.” This is what Alex said to Brittany when he surprised her at her sister's new home after not speaking to her for about a year.

-“We're actors in our lives, pretendin' to be who we want people to think we are.” Alex also says this in the book and it is a portrayal of the book, primarily for Brittany, because for most of the book she is trying so hard to maintain her "perfect" image.

-“I want to try making things right because picking up the pieces is way better than leaving them the way they are.” This is a quote from the book when Brittany and Alex get into an argument about Alex being in the Latino Blood. Brittany wasn't ready to be without Alex.

-“I want to know how to make this girl laugh. I want to know what makes her cry. I want to know what it feels like to have her look at me as if I’m her knight in shinning armor.” These are Alex's words when he started to fall in love with Brittany.

Best Seller/Discount Shelf

Perfect Chemistry written by Simone Elkeles is a modern book with a worldwide issue. It is the first in a trilogy of Rules of Attraction and Chain Reaction. This book has won eleven awards including: the 2012 YALSA Popular Paperback for Young Adults, the 2011 Abraham Lincoln Award List and the 2010 Top Ten YALSA Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Readers. This book takes place in Fairfield, a town on the outskirts of Chicago, near the author's home, where two completely different communities come together in one high school. The two main characters seem very different on the outside, but what brings them together is their problems at home and their image that they try desperately to maintain. Breaking through stereotypes and going against the norms, Brittany Ellis and Alex Fuentes looked beneath the surface and went against anything that threatened their relationship. Brittany, a "north sider" and captain of the pom squad and Alex, a "south sider" and a member of the Latino Blood are forced to be chemistry partners. Alex's friends make a bet that Alex can't hook up with Brittany before the end of the year and in the process of trying to take advantage of her, Alex actually starts to catch feelings for Brittany. As they get closer, they learn a lot about each other, for example, Alex is the provider in his family because his dad was killed in a gang related shooting and he has a dream of going to college and Brittany has a controlling mom, an absent dad and a sister that suffers from cerebral palsy. The book explains all the obstacles the two had to get through just to be together. I recommend this book for teens because the two main characters are seniors in high school and it is a love story that shows the struggle of going against ALL odds just to try to make things work. I enjoyed the book very much, it was hard for me to put down. I liked the fact that it was written from both Alex's perspective and Brittany's perspective to show insight to both of the main character's emotions and conflicts. I thought it was a very realistic and relatable plot especially for teens nowadays with such racially/culturally diverse school systems. One of the themes is "Opposites attract," because even though Brittany and Alex were two totally opposite people and grew up on opposite sides of town, they didn't give up on each other, but had to put in incredible effort to be able to make it work. Another theme is "Worry about your own happiness and don't care so much about what others think" because at first Brittany was resisting Alex to keep her friends, family and overall image, consistent and "perfect". She learned that at the end of the day, you only have yourself to please, so living your life in a way to only make others happy and not yourself,is pointless... It would be worth your while to read this book, you can surely learn a lot!

"B" Sides/Import

-“You once said you loved me. Do you still?"
My sister is watching this exchange between us. She smiles warmly at me, giving me the strength to tell him the truth. "I never stopped loving you. Even when I tried desperately to forget you. I couldn't.”

This conversation between Alex and Brittany took place at the end of the novel, right before he proposed to her. By this point in the story, there is so much emotion and love in the air and it really makes for the perfect happy ending.

Elkeles, Simone. Perfect Chemistry. N.p.: n.p., n.d. Print.

-“I put your books in my classroom library and it’s amazing how my female students have responded, particularly to Perfect Chemistry. It’s like crack. Girls who would rather bathe in acid than read go out and buy it and finish it in one day, and then come into my class all flushed and upset because they think they’ll never read anything as good again. It’s almost become like this transcendental rite of passage. In ten years I’ve never seen anything like it.”
• Adam Haynes, English Teacher, Glendale High School, Glendale, CA

-“Elkeles pens plenty of tasteful, hot scenes…that keep the pages turning. The author definitely knows how to write romance.”
• Kirkus Reviews

I always see great reviews for this book like these. I had a hard time putting the book down just like Mr. Hayne's female students at Glendale High School and Kirkus Reviews. This novel is an epidemic from coast to coast.

"Simone Elkeles :: NY Times & USA Today Bestselling Author." Simone Elkeles. N.p., n.d. Web.

03 Nov. 2015.

-“He has eyes so expressive they give a hint to more than what he portrays. He’s dedicated to his friends, family, and even his motorcyle. He touched me as if I were made of glass. He kissed me as if he’d savor it for the rest of his life.”

This is an excerpt from the book of Brittany's new blossomed feelings towards Alex. This is such a great example of direct insight to Brittany's feelings and what's in her head. These feelings of hers are totally opposite from the start of the book when she couldn't bare to even look at him in class.

Elkeles, Simone. Perfect Chemistry. N.p.: n.p., n.d. Print.

This is a podcast simply summarizing the story to get a closer look into the storyline of this novel.

"Podcasts." Booktalks Quick and Simple. N.p., n.d. Web. 03 Nov. 2015.