Rules of Attraction by Simone Elkeles

Summary: Carlos Fuentes doesn’t want any part of the life his older brother, Alex, has laid out for him in Boulder, Colorado. He wants to keep living on the edge, and carve his own path—just like Alex did. Unfortunately, his ties to a Mexican gang aren’t easy to break, and he soon finds himself being set up by a drug lord.

When Alex arranges for Carlos to live with his former professor and his family to keep him from being sent to jail, Carlos feels completely out of place. He’s even more thrown by his strong feelings for the professor’s daughter, Kiara, who is nothing like the girls he’s usually drawn to. But Carlos and Kiara soon discover that in matters of the heart, the rules of attraction overpower the social differences that conspire to keep them apart.

As the danger grows for Carlos, he’s shocked to discover that it’s this seemingly All-American family who can save him. But is he willing to endanger their safety for a chance at the kind of life he’s never even dreamed possible?

My thoughts: Rules of Attraction is the sequel to Perfect Chemistry, and continues pretty much in the same style as its prequel. Teen romance about overcoming obstacles and finding true love, etc.

Will probably appeal to the middle school/high school set, and is a pretty fast and entertaining read.

Author Website:
How did I get this book?
From my local public library
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Romance


Leaving Paradise by Simone Elkeles

Summary: Nothing has been the same since Caleb Becker left a party drunk, got behind the wheel, and hit Maggie Armstrong.

Even after months of painful physical therapy, Maggie walks with a limp. Her social life is nil and a scholarship to study abroad—her chance to escape everyone and their pitying stares—has been canceled.

After a year in juvenile jail, Caleb’s free… if freedom means endless nagging from a transition coach and the prying eyes of the entire town. Coming home should feel good, but his family and ex-girlfriend seem like strangers.

Caleb and Maggie are outsiders, pigeon-holed as “criminal” and “freak.” Then the truth emerges about what really happened the night of the accident and, once again, everything changes. It’s a bleak and tortuous journey for Caleb and Maggie, yet they end up finding comfort and strength from a surprising source: each other.

Review: It’s been several months since I’ve been able to read a book for pleasure. Leaving Paradise was a short, quick read; although it veered into cheesy and slightly overdramatic moments at times, it was entertaining and hit all the good emotional spots. Instead of the usual boy meets girl, boy and girl fall in love, we have boy hits girl with car, boy and girl forced to work together, boy and girl become slow friends, boy and girl become more…?

It was a nice way to get back into reading fiction. I’m fairly eager to read the sequel, Return to Paradise (how clever).

I think I enjoyed this one more than Perfect Chemistry, Elkeles’ other teen romance novel.

Rating: 7 out of 10

Author Website:
How did I get this book?
From my local public library
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Romance

Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles

COVER perfect chemistry by simone elkelesRating: 6 out of 10
Summary: When Brittany Ellis walks into chemistry class on the first day of senior year, she has no clue that her carefully created “perfect” life is about to unravel before her eyes. She’s forced to be lab partners with Alex Fuentes, a gang member from the other side of town, and he is about to threaten everything she’s worked so hard for—her flawless reputation, her relationship with her boyfriend, and the secret that her home life is anything but perfect. Alex is a bad boy and he knows it. So when he makes a bet with his friends to lure Brittany into his life, he thinks nothing of it. But soon Alex realizes Brittany is a real person with real problems, and suddenly the bet he made in arrogance turns into something much more. In a passionate story about looking beneath the surface, Simone Elkeles breaks through the stereotypes and barriers that threaten to keep Brittany and Alex apart. 

My Thoughts: A modern update of the Romeo & Juliet story. It was a little contrived and improbable at times, but it was entertaining and had a good message.