Perfect Chemistry


Title: Perfect Chemistry

Author: Simone Elkeles

ISBN: 9780802798220

Publisher: Walker

Copyright Date: 2009

Plot Summary:

Brittany Ellis has a seemingly perfect life.  She is beautiful, smart, and popular with a studly boyfriend and a stellar grade point average.  The only thing is, the perfection she tries so hard to maintain is all a façade to cover up a terrible home situation.

Alex Fuentes is the school bad boy.  He struggles to cope with the brutal murder of his father, and protect his brothers from the gang members that are always trying to draw them into their fold.

When Alex and Brittany are paired as chemistry partners, sparks fly.  Brittany is attracted to Alex, but wary of his assumed gang affiliations.  Alex is equally attracted to Brittany, but he thinks she is stuck up and prude.

Despite their misconceptions, Alex and Brittany begin to fall for each other.  Unfortunately it isn’t long before outside forces seek to tear them apart and they struggle to keep their fledgling love alive.

Critical Evaluation:

This book is steamy and formulaic. It is essentially a modern day Romeo and Juliet with the quality of a dime store novel. I have read other books by this same author and they all follow the exact same story line: boy meets girl, boy and girl don’t get along, sparks fly between boy and girl, boy and girl fall in love, something separates boy and girl, boy and girl ultimately end up back together. There are many readers who enjoy this kind of predictability, and I would certainly recommend this book to such individuals. I personally would prefer to save this sort of book for light beach reading.

Reader’s Annotation: She is a perfect beauty queen. He is a boy from the wrong side of the tracks. Their chemistry is undeniable.

About the Author:

“Simone was born and raised in the suburbs of Chicago, where she still lives today. Simone went to the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign and received her Bachelor’s of Science there in Psychology in 1992. She continued her education at Loyola University-Chicago where she received her Master’s of Science degree in Industrial Relations while working for a manufacturing company creating diversity programs for their employees.

She loves animals (she has two dogs – a labradoodle and a German Shepherd), kids (she also has two of those) and her family. In her spare time she’s the Hockey Mom for her kids hockey teams and is an active Girl Scout leader specially trained in outdoor education. She also spends time mentoring other teen and adult authors. (She also loves sushi, which you can probably tell by reading her books.) Simone writes about teens because she was a teen in the 80’s (when spiked hair and blue eye shadow were “rad”) and she loves writing about those exciting teen relationships and romances.”

Genre: Young adult, romance, realistic fiction

Curriculum Ties: N/A

Booktalking Ideas:

  • Talk about Brittany’s attempt to hide the truth about her home life behind a façade of perfection.
  • Read the excerpt describing Brittany and Alex’s first kiss.

Reading Level/Interest Age: Grades 9-12, Ages 14-18

Challenge Issues: teen sex, objectionable language, gang violence

Defense File:

Violence in the Media: A Joint Statement: 2000-2001 CD #19.3

Chapter 5 of Youth, Pornography, and the Internet (2002)

Challenged Materials: An Interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights: 1989-;90 CD #61.2

Justification of Selection: This book demonstrates the danger of gang affiliations. Its steamy romance will definitely appeal to teen girls who love the traditional Romeo and Juliet storyline.


Elkeles, S. (n.d.). About Simone. Simone Elkeles. Retrieved from

Perfect Chemistry

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