Chain Reaction (Perfect Chemistry) by Simone Elkeles
|Chain Reaction (Perfect Chemistry) by Simone Elkeles|
|Reviewer: Robert James|
|Summary: While it's rather too similar to the previous book about the Fuentes brothers for my liking, Elkeles provides another fairly enjoyable gritty romance with some steamy scenes.|
|Buy? Maybe||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 320||Date: July 2012|
|Publisher: Simon & Schuster Childrens Books|
|External links: Author's website|
Luis Fuentes is a risk-taker who meets a feisty girl whom he falls in love with. Unfortunately, a gang called the Latino Blood are also interested in him for rather different reasons, and Nikki doesn’t approve of them. Who will win out – the gang, or the girl?
This was an entertaining read in many ways, but as fans of Elkeles will have noticed from the brief plot summary above, it has marked similarities to the earlier two books about the Fuentes brothers. I haven’t actually read Perfect Chemistry, but I got a rough idea of what happened in it when I read Rules of Attraction, and while Rules of Attraction was a really enjoyable read, this just seems to be more of the same but with less likeable characters. In particular, Luis himself can be a jerk, who seems to think he’s far better than his brother Carlos just because he’s more intelligent. In fairness, love interest Nikki is a much better character, and I enjoyed the chapters that she narrated significantly more.
Despite the repetitiveness of the plot, there are still some reasons to read this one. Elkeles writes some of the grittiest romance around, and this is no exception, with the gang parts feeling realistic and adding danger to the storyline. She’s also superb at creating really steamy scenes without ever being explicit, and slips in a strong message about safe sex without hammering it home too obviously. Fans of the first two books will be glad to know that both Alex and Carlos play big roles here, as well. Finally, just as in Rules of Attraction, her adult characters are really strong – particularly chemistry teacher Mrs Peterson and Reyes, the cop who becomes Luis and his mother’s landlord.
I think the strength of Rules of Attraction perhaps led to me having expectations for this one that were a little bit too high. If you’ve read the first two in the trilogy and are prepared for a book with a very similar plot, this is definitely worth your time. If you haven’t read any of them, I’d personally recommend picking up one of the other two first.
For another gritty contemporary read with a fabulous love story, try When I Was Joe by Keren David. The dual narration used here is also a feature of the wonderful Skin Deep by Laura Jarratt, which I seem to be recommending a lot recently - but it's hard not to, it's so brilliant!
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