Monday, November 3, 2014

Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles

I added Perfect Chemistry to my library queue to satisfy the school subject part of the What's In A Name Challenge. While I didn't find it perfect, it was enjoyable.

Brittany is the most popular girl in school. She's dating the football star and everyone wants to be her. But Brittany knows she's living a lie. Her parents barely care about her. Her sister, Shelley, has cerebral palsy and is Brittany's best friend. Lately, Shelley has been acting out. Brittany's parents want to move her to a facility in Colorado. If Brittany can continue acting perfect until graduation, she can find a way to improve her and Shelley's lives.

Alex is the boy from the wrong side of the tracks. He joined a gang when he was young to help protect his family. He still tries to protect his brothers from joining a gang even though they think it will help them. Alex knows his future is set. He'll graduate college but never leave the Chicago suburb he was born in. Alex is willing to make these sacrifices to help his brothers get ahead. Even though Alex knows he's more than a thug.

Ok, the boy from the wrong side of town and the golden girl trope. The things that stood out in Perfect Chemistry were Brittany's sister and the racism that Alex felt. Those moments made the book more than just a tired story. I wish Elkeles could have focused on those parts more. Brittany and Alex jumped off the page when they were dealing with more real world things than when they were acting like Romeo and Juliet. Overall, it was a cute read but I really felt like Elkeles could have pushed things more at times. Others who shared their thoughts on Perfect Chemistry: A Little Shelf of Heaven, Howdy Yal, and Nose In A Book.
This read satisfies the school subject category of the What's In A Name Challenge.

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