Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles
I have read this book during the last week of July, and I already wrote the review but I was not able to post it because I didn’t have the time to type it due to our PT licensure exam last August 2 & 3. Now, I am free and so here it is:
I have been so reluctant to read this book ever since i saw it in the bookstore because of its cover. I mean, can you see those pictures? They are screaming steamy romance and I just, you know, don’t bask in the idea of that as a main theme in a book. I did not even bother reading the summary of the book and the reviews written by my friends.
And so how did I come upon reading it? Well, it was a last resort of some kind. During the last week of July, there was a mad storm that hit our country, and lucky me was stuck in my dorm. There was a power outage that lasted for 3 days and my both my Kindle and my phone were dead. Also, I did not have any books with me that time because I already brought them home as preparation for my moving out after the board exams. The only available reading material that time was this book and my textbooks. Of course, who would choose textbooks? So I guess you can say that me reading this book was a lucky mishap. I finished it overnight and oh how thankful was I that I read it.
Okay, enough with my babble and into the story.
In the book, you will get Brittany Ellis, the all-perfect blonde girl who is on top of the social ladder of their high school. She created this perfect facade and aims to maintain it as long as possible. And then you also have Alex Fuentes, the typical bad boy, a gang member from the other not-so-popular part of town. These are two characters so unlikely to cross paths until that one day in Chemistry where they were assigned as lab partners. This became the turning point of their lives. Soon, Brittany’s wall of flawless reputation starts crumbling down and Alex got to take a peek at her hidden side. On the other hand, Brittany was also able to learn more about the seemingly good-for-nothing guy and realize that there’s more to him than his affiliations.
Not a very unique plot, isn’t it? I mean, I don’t know with you guys but for me, this is a typical storyline of most of the TV dramas we have locally. You know, the perfect-rich-girl-plus-the-poor-bad-guy-equals-weird-love-story. That is so cliche. But hey, I really enjoyed the book!
I was so wrong to think that this book just sports romance. It was so much more than that, and the depth of the characters’ personalities is just one point to focus on that would prove that this is a great story. One moment you were given characters that were so shallow that you’d even wonder if you’ll bother finishing the book. But then all of a sudden, all their secrets were revealed and thrown out in the open, leaving you to contemplate & have second thoughts about the people around you.
This book tells us that no one is one-dimensional and that we should not just easily classify others into one category/stereotype. As I’ve said, I know that this is not the first book to point this out but I think it shout outs to a lot of readers because it was so realistic and it shows how much difficult it really is to try to break the mold and get out of the expected norm. Also, it doesn’t hurt that the characters are close to my age.
Another thing I love about this book is its focus on people with disabilities. Shelley, Brittany’s older sister, has cerebral palsy. Being in the field of physical therapy, I have dealt with a lot of children burdened with this condition. I know how difficult it is for them and their family. The struggle is not just physical, but also mental and emotional. This book showed us exactly that and at the same time, tells us how we should treat people with disabilities. The book tells us that they should be given as much care, love and patience as we do with people who don’t have disabilities. The story showed us an insight, a tiny glimpse inside Shelley’s head, that tells us that people like her are also capable of understanding, feeling and showing emotions though it may be in a different way.
The relationship between Brittany and Alex was also one that I can consider ideal. We get a lot of stories wherein the couple just fit in easily with each other. But what Alex and Brittany had to endure was so much more. Their differences not only lies in their beliefs, but also extend to their families, personalities, and experiences. The contrast between the two was so great that it reached a point in which their lives could have been in danger with one wrong choice. Most couples I know would not be able to withstand such challenges, hell, they won’t even be caught in those kinds of mess in the first place. But in this story, Brittany and Alex struggled to learn about their mistakes, made unbelievable choices and surprisingly, were able to push through all the shit they faced. And I think that this is the kind of relationship that I would like to be in. They know that they needed time to heal and they did not force things when they know that it was not right for both of them just yet. I like that. Most of the people these days either rush through thing or just give up when they cannot handle the situation. It’s a breath of fresh air reading about these characters.
The main theme of this book isn’t actually romance. It’s about bridging the gap between diversities. Reading it, I guess it encompasses not just difference between race and culture, but also diversity in a sense that one person can be a whole lot more than what they want us to perceive. I think that the most important lesson we can learn from this book is that no one is just plain simple. We are all complicated beings with stringing complicated webs in life. We don’t have to judge anyone when we don’t know their whole story.
Woooh, that was a loooong review. But what can I say, a true 5/5 book deserves it. The only problem I had while reading this was that I had to look up Spanish phrases on the internet because I don’t speak it and I don’t understand what the characters were saying sometimes. Other than that, I’d recommend this book to everyone!