Thursday, May 1

Series Summaries #1: Perfect Chemistry Trilogy

I’m writing this post firstly because these three books made me a total Simone Elkeles fan, she’s one of the few authors I’ve read all books from. Secondly because so many of you visited my post about her newest book Wild Cards, which is the starter of her new series.
Lately someone made a page on Goodreads to the fourth book in this series but as far as I know Simone Elkeles didn’t confirm this so far.  
Keep reading, hope you’ll enjoy this post. :)

I wrote this review to those who've already read this trilogy or at least one or two books from it so it contains some major spoilers. 

When I first heard about Perfect Chemistry I didn’t think much of it. I started the book because I didn’t have anything else to read so I guessed it would do, this was in 2012 and I still remember how bad I felt that I didn’t start it sooner. It blew me away, it was sweet and I couldn't put it down.

“You are the one girl that made me risk eveything for a future worth having.” 
The two main characters in the first installment were Brittany and Alex who made me look at other people differently. I don’t live in the USA haven’t been there (unfortunately) so I can’t tell if Simone stayed realistic while writing about the conflict between the Mexicans and Americans or not but I can tell that she didn’t just draw attention to the racism, she made the clichéd quote: “You can’t judge a book by it’s cover” believable again.

Brittany has the façade of a perfect girl starting with the ideal family, next to that she’s one of the most popular girls in school while having the star football player as a boyfriend. Unfortunately for her nothing is what is seems: her family is far from perfect, her mother is a mean bitch who doesn’t care about anything but the appearance, her father is always working and neither of them takes time to get to know their older daughter Shelley who’s suffering from major health problems. Brittany and her boyfriend spent the summer apart from each other, rarely speaking but when the school starts everything seems normal between them for a while.

Things start to fall apart when Brittany gets Alex Fuentes for lab partner in Chemistry class. They hate each other, Alex thinks Brittany is just an uppity girl who doesn’t have a brain while Brittany thinks Alex is the kind of bad boy who’ll die soon or end up in prison. They are arguing all the time but when they start to get to know each other they realize - to the surprise of both of them - they are quite similar. 
“We're actors in our lives, pretendin' to be who we want people to think we are.” 

How Brittany took care of her sister was unbelievable, she fought with her parents to protect Shelley from their hatred she was the only one in that family who truly cared about her. She could easily dump Shelley and let them take her away but it was obvious she would fight until her last breath for her. She fought for Alex too, when she got to know his real self she started falling for him and wanted to help him, she was the kind of girl who wanted to take care of everyone. 
“I don't want to end up like my mom. That's my biggest fear in life.” 
Alex made a lot of mistakes in his life, joining to the Blood wasn’t a good decision but it was necessary to protect his family. When he met with Brittany he knew that she'll be his end so he made a stupid bet. Anytime when he started to feel something for her or questioned why he's spending time with her he could think it's because of the bet while in reality nothing was done because of that. 
“Alex, Add it up. No matter how much you want her in your life, she doesn’t belong. A triangle can’t fit into a square. Just pointing out the facts”   
“Gracias” I don’t point out that if it’s a big enough square, a small triangle can fit inside perfectly. All you have to do is make a few adjustments.” 
“Alex kneels down to Shelley's level. The simple act of respect tears at something suspiciously like my heart. Colin always ignores my sister, treating her as if she's blind and deaf as well as physically and mentally disabled.”
He never wanted Brittany to end up dead like his father so he pushed her away and broke up with her. He felt like shit after it and finally decided to get out of the Latin Blood for good. Problem is, you can get out just in a certain way, by letting the others beat you up completely. Alex made it by thinking about Brittany so in the end they could get together again. :) 
After two years they are still one of my favorite couples. 
"For the record, I thought you were untouchable. But now that I know you think I'm a hot, sexy, Mexican god ..."
"I never said the word 'god.'"I put my finger to my lips.
"Shh, let me enjoy the fantasy for one minute."I close my eyes. Brittany laughs, this sweet sound that echoes in my ears.
Other likable characters were Dough and Sierra, they were such supporting friends and - just like Brittany - they proved Alex's opinion about rich people wrong. 

"She's only doing it because she wants everything you had. It's a competition thing with her. First taking your position on the squad, now putting her claws into Colin. Next thing you know she'll want to change her name to Brittany."

"Very funny."

"You say that now," she says, then moves in close and whispers, "it won't be so funny if she wants Alex next."

"Now that's not funny."

I loved Isa and Paco too, I'm so sad they couldn't be together, they would could be such an cute couple. 
“The reason I want you to put a shirt on is, well, because, um..."
"You've never seen a guy with his shirt off?"
"Ha, ha. Very funny. Believe me, you don't have anything I haven't seen before."
"Wanna bet?" he says, then moves his hands to the button on his jeans and pops it open. Isabel walks in at that exact moment.
"Whoa, Alex. Please keep your pants on. 

Mrs. Peterson was the most incredible teacher ever. She could see through everything, no one could bullshit her and there was zero tolerance in her classes. Even if she didn't have to she went to Alex when he was in the hospital and made him somehow stronger. 

"Can we help you, Alex?" a voice bellows through the speaker. 
"I'm bein' tortured." 
"I beg your pardon?"
“I'm in deep shit Alex, 'cause I think I'd like nothin' better than to wake up with her every mornin'.”
This was Caleb's and Kiara's story. In so many levels this was different from the first one, still the concept was pretty much the same. The bad boy who's a gang member falls in love with the good girl who makes him somehow better. It may be very similar to Perfect Chemistry but it was just as awesome or maybe even more. I never got bored reading it but I was a bit afraid if the third book won't compete to these two if it'll tell the same story again.  

I loved Kiara more than Brittany, they were both fighters but Kiara's situation seemed more everyday, if I can say that. She just got dumped by her boyfriend and she had to defeat her stuttering. Even if she didn't quite believe in herself, she had the kind of courage what surprised Caleb. She played pranks on him and saw right through his armors and defense, just like Brittany and Alex in the first book. She was the kind of girl who stayed strong even in the worst times of her life. 

What I can't get is her father who didn't just let a teenager boy live in a house with her daughter but he wasn't angry when he thought that the two of them had sex in the living room while they were upstairs sleeping. Is anyone has or know parents like him? (Tell me in the comments.)
“Carlos, are we in complete understanding with each other?”
“Yeah,” I say. “As long as it’s not in your house and you don’t know about it, you’re okay with us messin’ around.”
“I know you’re joking with me. You are joking with me, aren’t you?”
Caleb made mistakes, he joined to a gang back in Mexico so when he arrived to Colorado the gang there has already heard about him, soon they 'asked' him to deal drugs with a threat of hurting the people he loves if he won't do it. He gets involved with them but he has a supporting brother and girlfriend next to others whose help he pulls himself out of the deep shit. 
“You’re dangerous,” he says.
“Because you make me believe in the impossible” 
I didn't like that he joined to the army, it was really sad that Kiera and him had to separate this fast for such long times. Even when Caleb proposed in the third book I kept wondering about how heartbroken Kiara must be when her love has to leave her behind again and again. 

Other amazing characters were Kiara's parents who supported Caleb through everything and became his second family. I loved Brittany and Alex too they were different now, they were strong together and I was so thankful for the epilogue in the previous book because if it hadn't been for that I'd have cried like a baby while reading about their breakup in this one. In the end what mattered was that Alex got himself together and trusted Brittany enough to meet with her parents. 
I adored Tuck, he was the most amazing gay characters, he always tried to protect Kiara from everything, he would even fight with Caleb for her. 
“If no words come, you can always give him the finger.” 
“Okay, seriously, I dont know if this is true or not, but I heard people who use profanity are trying to compensate for their lack of you know... size"
Favorite part: 

As Tuck talks, I take close inventory of my teammates. Dennis, a guy who looks mighty feminine. The guy who hit me on the ass is now biting on his lower lip as if he wants to get with me. And the pink shirts . . . “This is a team of gay dudes, isn’t it?”
“What gave it away? The pink shirts, or half our team drooling over you?”
"What’s the name of our team?”
“Ultimate Queers,” Tuck says, then starts laughing. 
I, on the other hand, am not laughin’.
“What, you don’t like our team name? You’re one of us now, Carlos.” 
I’m still not laughin’.
He catches a practice toss from one of the other guys, then tosses it back. “Oh, and just so you know, before we go out on the field we all get in a huddle and yell ‘Go Queers!’ really loud.”
That’s it. “I’m quittin’.”

“You make me believe in love, which I'd give up on. Thank you for proving to me it's not just a fairy tale.”
The two main characters are Luis and Nikki. I had a hard time liking Nikki in the beginning, she was way too cold. She burnt herself once but that doesn't mean she has to go bitching around and act like she knows everything about love. Just because it didn't work out for her with the biggest asshole ever doesn't mean it won't work out for others. The worst was she couldn't keep in her stupid, sracastic comments even when she hurt her best friend with it. Let me show an example.

I decide to put my two cents in the discussion for a reality check. “The percentage of couples who stay together after high school is, like, less than five percent, you guys.”
“Thanks for the vote of confidence, Nikki,” Derek says sarcastically.
“Just being real,” I tell him. “No need to have you guys living in Fantasy Land.”

And she thinks she's being kind! After she starts liking Luis she's expecting Kendall to support her and when she had the great idea of messing with Luis she freaked out when Kendall told her it's dumb! What? I don't know why Luis ever liked her... she was so selfish in the beginning but after half of the book I started to root for the two of them. They were far from perfect but they were kind of better together. 

I loved Luis more than his two brothers, he was so amazing, he kind of kept his good boy attitude without being boring. My only problem was the concept which repeated itself again... besides the romance which was a bit different. We saw another Fuentes brother as he tries to protect his family at first but in the end when Luis realized who his real father is, he got angry and felt like his faith was already written so he made lots of bad decisions. In the end though, his brothers saved him and we even got an epilogue which told us how all of them will live a happily ever after. 
“Ben walks in the room and asks, “What were you guys doing?”  Nikki says “Nothing” at the same time I say, “Your sister and I were just makin’ out.”
This was kind of cute too, but after two books this whole gang thing started to rub me in the wrong spot. How come didn't they learn from each others mistakes? Anyway I didn't like Luis hanging out with Marcus, the guy said that Nikki is a bitch right into her face and Luis could tell he hurt Nikki in the past so then why the hell did he become friends with him?

Alex joined Latino Blood because he had to if he wanted to protect his family, completely fine even generous. Carlos was pretty young when they moved to Mexico, he joined a gang and after that there was no turning back, even when they moved the local gang knew him so I can accept that he had to do this. Luis... he could have do something sooner and after he got crazy because he realized who's his real father? Stupid. I mean it must have been really hard to know you were lied to all your life but sending your brothers to hell because of this is a little bit harsh, isn't it? 

Caleb was a total disappointment for me, he didn't wanted Kiara to realize he's going to propose so when his ex came he flirted with her and told her he's still a bachelor and they should meet up while his girlfriend was right there standing dumbstruck! After, he didn't know what was Kiara's problem, he couldn't fucking see it! It's not like they met two days ago, they were together for years than how come he didn't realize he was hurting her? Kiara hasn't got tons of self confidence and her boyfriend goes around hurting her and then PROPOSING. What the hell is wrong with you? This is not cute... this is bad, I mean if he had introduced Kiara would that really have given away his grand plan of proposing? 

Anyway he had a few good parts too, here's an example: 
“Holy shit, bro. That’s deep. Alex, I would’ve bet that you were the sappiest one in this family, but I was wrong. Luis beats you, hands down.” Carlos rolls the notebook back up and hands it to me. “Who’s the lucky girl?”
Aww Alex's and Brittany's child... how cute he must be!

I would have given five stars if not for Nikki's pessimism and the very same story as the first two because it was entertaining, sometimes funny, sometimes sad all in all it was (nearly) just as great as the first two. 

Finally I put in an order all the characters: 

Fuentes brothers: Alex than Luis than Caleb
The three girls: Kiara than Brittany than Nikki
Favorite supporting role: Tuck than Isa than Siera than Dough 

What is your order? Let me know in the comments :)

I recommend the whole trilogy for those who like light read romances and are up for Mexican (bad) boys falling in love with the girl they never thought they would. Sometimes it's a bit cheesy but it never crossed the limits of cute and it has some deep stuff in it too. 

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