Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles - 4/5 stars
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.
Rarely have I seen alternating POVs done quite as effectively as in this book. Brittany and Alex are from such different worlds that it's easy for them to dismiss the other as rich and snobby or a gangbanger loser. It could be easy for the reader to do likewise except then you see into the other person's life and it's clear that they're not a two-dimensional stereotype.
[spoilers here on in]
It was easy to fall in love with the building chemistry between Brittany and Alex and then when they actually kiss for the first time - phwoar! I haven't read about characters with this much chemistry in a long while. While the ending might have been a bit cheesy and over the top, it was exactly what I wanted for them.
Overall, I really loved Perfect Chemistry. It gave a really interesting look into latino gangs and the importance of not judging a book by its cover.
(reviewed from a library copy)