Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles
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.
This book alternates between the POV of Brittany and Alex, which I’m not usually a fan of, but it worked here for me. I enjoyed being able to see what they thought of each other and certain situations. Brittany and Alex couldn’t be more different, but they also couldn’t be more similar. Each is living a life they want to escape, but can’t for the same reasons. I instantly liked Alex and warmed up to Brittany very quickly, especially when seeing her interact with her sister.
Although this is YA, it is very gritty and Elkeles does not hold back. The romance is a bit more mature than most YA. The characters face very serious situations and the outcome isn’t always sunny. I was expecting a fast, breezy read, this was anything but. I went through it quickly, but only because I couldn’t wait to see how their stories ended. I was not left disappointed.
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