December 23, 2008
Walker Books for Young Readers
Perfect Chemistry is set in a Chicago area high school that brings together two very different groups of teenagers: the richy rich white kids with their houses on the beach and the Latino Blood gang members from a different neighborhood. The two groups rarely mix (and then not without scaring each other) but that's about to change when Alex and golden-girl Brittany are made lab partners thanks to their teachers forced seating chart.
It's the worst thing either of them can imagine at first (Alex just knows Brittany is all fluff and no substance and Brittany is sure Alex is going to stab her or shoot her at any moment), but things soon change.
Alex is more than just a gang member, more than just the oldest brother trying to do right for his siblings and more than just a really smart guy who can't quite stay out of trouble....And Brittany is more than the popular girl who has an older sister with cerebral palsy and expectations on her from everywhere. Because of all of that (and a certain bet)--and their insane chemistry, Alex and Brittany make this more than the typical bad boy meets good girl story.
Perfect Chemistry was told in alternating points-of-view, one chapter was told by Alex and then one by Brittany and so on so you got each of their sides of everything. And Alex's dialogue and chapters included Spanish which only made things feel more real.
Both characters having so much depth to them, from Alex's gang activity (and it not being downplayed, passed over or made to be really nice and light) or the storyline involving Brittany's sister really made Brittany and Alex more like people you cared about than book characters you were reading about.
I can't say enough about how much I loved this book.
Out of all of the books I've read in probably the last few years, this is probably the only one where I've really missed the characters once the book was over. There have been other books where I was truly sorry the book was over and books I've loved, but this is the only one where I can remember missing the characters like I did.
So, read this book-for serious.
so a 10/10 but a super huge bold faced 10
*and to think part of the reason I read this in the first place was because it was set nearish where I used to live. It's always fun to read about characters going somewhere and having been there, too (like Gilson)
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