Monday, June 24, 2013

Review: Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles

Title: Perfect Chemistry (Perfect Chemistry #1)
Author: Simone Elkeles
Publisher: Walker Books for Young Readers
Release Date: December 23rd 2013
Source: Gifted

My Rating: 2.5/5

A fresh, urban twist on the classic tale of star-crossed lovers.

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.

In a passionate story about looking beneath the surface, Simone Elkeles breaks through the stereotypes and barriers that threaten to keep Brittany and Alex apart. (Summary from Goodreads)

I'm sad to say I was really disappointed with this one. I had been looking forward to reading it for a very long time, and have heard nothing but praise for Perfect Chemistry. I thought it was going to be one of those heart-melting, swoon-worthy books but it left me unsatisfied. I couldn't commit to the characters, the plot was nothing special, and I just generally didn't care for the book. I really wanted to love it, but I just couldn't.

Now, I expected some cheesy-ness. It is, after all, entitled Perfect Chemistry, has the cover of a Harlequin novel, and is about a gang-member and the golden girl falling in love. But I also expected a bit of creativity and I felt the book was seriously lacking that. There was just nothing particularly interesting about the plot. I didn't feeling emotionally invested in it at all. Instead, I was kind of bored. 

Alex and Brittany as characters were pretty flat. They were cookie-cutter "perfect girl" and "bad boy" types and I didn't feel anything special from them. I think one of the reasons for that was they weren't really developed. I think you learn about a character by what they do and say, NOT by what the author says about them. Cause that's what it really was. The author was telling us what kind of people they were but we never got to figure it out for ourselves. And I simply didn't care. I couldn't connect with them because they didn't seem real to me.

My biggest problem with this book by far was the writing. The first 75-pages had me questioning whether I even wanted to continue reading. It was beyond cheesy. It was cliche and unimaginative. I was rolling my eyes every other page because I found the dialogue and especially the internal monologues ridiculous. I understand the need for set up and background but it was more a statement of facts not character development. All the scenes with the gang members, and even Alex's own thoughts felt so forced. It was someone from the outside trying to write what it was like to be in a gang. And it felt fake to me. I did not believe a moment of it.

On a positive note (I really don't like that most of this review has been negative), Perfect Chemistry despite it's flaws, kept me interested. After the first 75-pages, I kept wanting to read it and to know what would happen next (even though I kind of knew what would happen next). I wanted to see what would happen to these characters, even if I wasn't invested in them. 

Overall, I was really underwhelmed by Perfect Chemistry. It just didn't connect with me like everyone said it would. In saying that though, I seem to be in the minority here. If you were planning on reading this book, I wouldn't let my review dissuade you. Maybe it's your kind of book! It just, sadly, didn't happen to be mine.

- Ciara (Lost at Midnight) 

Find This Book: Amazon | Chapters/Indigo | Goodreads | Simone Elkeles' Website 

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