Monday, September 10, 2012

Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles

There is more than geography separating the south and north sides of the Chicago suburb of Fairfield, IL.  On the north side, the houses are immense, the clothing gorgeous, the GPAs impeccable, and the pressure nearly suffocating.  There is a whole different kind of pressure on the south side, where poverty and gang warfare end lives far too early and protecting your loved ones often means giving up your future.  These two sides come together and often clash at Fairfield High School, where a tough chemistry teacher has partnered popular cheerleader Brittany Ellis with dangerous gang member Alex Fuentes.  Amused by this situation, Alex happily takes a bet that he can lure Brittany into his bed before the semester ends.  But as they cautiously grow closer, they both realize that under the stereotypes and the facades, they have more in common than they ever thought possible.  Will it be enough to save them from the futures everyone else has mapped out for them?

Told in both main characters voices, this fast-paced novel, full of realistic relationships and dangerous situations is a hit.  This title will appeal to readers looking for teen romance and gritty “real life” novels.  Although the epilogue pushes the boundaries of believability, sometimes a bit of a fairytale ending is just what a reader needs. -- Regan Schwartz

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