Brittany. She is the exemplar of Barbie-ness.
Alex. He is the Mexican bad boy oozing danger and appeal.
When their two vastly different worlds are forced to clash with a loud bang, clap your hands together for some fizzling hot sparks that will beat the likes of Tony and Maria from the West Side Story.
And that is how she won me over with her tale of two teens falling in love from two different worlds.
Because her story is grounded in reality, because the authentic voices of Alex and Brittany could shine through the predictable storyline, because of all that and more, Perfect Chemistry was so much more special and touching than any other novel on a star-crossed pair.
Everything starts when Alex and Brittany are assigned as lab partners. From enemies to friends then falling in love, every step of their journey together is precious and heart-warming. From both of their perspectives, we see how their burning animosity turn to curiosity. We watch how they poke at each other's façade. We witness their precious friendship that is tested and challenged again and again by those around them.
Yet, against all odds, even when I thought that all that's going to be left will only be a distant memory of a bitter sweet first love, they made it to the end.
And Simone Elkeles teaches us a good ol' lesson, of looking beneath the surface, of daring to venture beyond your comfort zone, and most importantly, of never letting go of what is dear to your heart.
Special mention goes to Simone Elkeles for having the most conversational style of writing I've ever seen. She writes the ways teens talk, and because of that, Alex's painful decision to protect his family by joining the Latino Blood gang is all the more tangible and Brittany's strong love for her disabled sister below her icy princess exterior can touch our hearts. That is why I find myself involved in their lives, more deeply than I ever thought was possible.
So, in the end, Perfect Chemistry is a living proof that the age-old recipe of star-crossed love still tingles and delights. Well, as long as you can write like Simone Elkeles does.
Source: Birthday gift from Mother dear