Perfect Chemistry

Perfect ChemistrySimone Elkeles’ latest novel, Perfect Chemistry, is loosely based on a suburb near her home where 2 distinct neighborhoods share a high school.  In this novel, a perfect teenager, Brittany, with a perfect life expects a perfect senior year.  Things aren’t going to work out that way, however, when her chemistry partner is none other than the toughest Latino gang-banger in school, Alex Fuentes.  Immediately Brittany and Alex clash, as do the 2 distinct worlds that are forced to co-exist at this suburban Chicago high school.

What happens throughout their senior year is that Brittany and Alex both come to realize that the other is a real person with real problems and they are not as dissimilar as their social hierarchy and cliques would have them believe.  They are powerfully drawn together while everything and everyone around them is compelling them to stay apart.

Perfect Chemistrycontains many high school conventions about identity, class, and coming of age.  It’s definitely intended for high school readers, with violence, drugs, sex and language; older teens can relate as Alex and Brittany thoughts are revealed in alternating chapters.  I felt the ending was too neat and perfect – especially after both characters had struggled and challenged themselves throughout the novel to”be real.”

  • Posted by Cori

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