Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles (2008)

As many other bloggers have pointed out, the strength of this novel is in its romance. Elkeles handles the uptown girl/downtown boy cliché with finesse. The attraction between Brittany and Alex is convincing, the scenes between then charged and unforced. The dialog (ok, foreplay) is excellent and keeps the book moving forward. I found myself eager to get to the next interaction.

What many have failed to point out are the weaker aspects: the prose (too much tell) and the plot (very sappy in parts). Booklist got it though, saying “An idealized epilogue drains away some of the book’s realism, but if the ‘romance’ angle isn’t pushed too hard, this is a novel that could be embraced by male and female readers in equal measure.”

The novel’s mystery surrounding the death of Alex’s father unfolds predictibly and seemed more like a sidebar until it forces Alex into great peril at the conclusion. I would have been just as happy if it had remained a mystery.

This is a good book to indulge in, though, and I’m sure many teens will. It’s highly readable and it has a great cover.

Library copy | December 23, 2008| Walker Childrens | ISBN 978-0802798237 | 368 pages | Ages 15-19 | $17.99

Read other reviews:
A Chair, a Fireplace and a Tea Cozy
Book Obsessed
Book Scout
Persnickety Snarkperfect-chemistry

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