Saturday, September 3, 2011

Review: Chain Reaction (Simone Elkeles)

AUTHOR: Simone Elkeles
SERIES: Perfect Chemistry, book 3
PUBLISHER: Walker Books
PUBLICATION DATE: August 16, 2011
PAGES: 308
SOURCE: borrowed from a friend
GENRE: Romance, realistic
OVERALL RATING: Recommended, especially for high school girls or those who loved Perfect Chemistry and Rules of Attraction
SUMMARY: Sparks fly when heart-broken Nikki and perpetual flirt (and youngest Fuentes brother) Luis meet by chance at a wedding. When Nikki meets Luis for the second time two years later, Nikki wants nothing to do with boys or dating or relationships, especially not with hot boys like Luis who could easily crush her fragile heart again. Luis falls hard for Nikki, who pushes him away as much as she is able, but things get complicated when the gang that killed Luis's father and nearly killed his oldest brother begins to pursue Luis as a member. Chapters alternate between Luis's and Nikki's perspectives.

WHAT I LIKED: I definitely LOVE me some Fuentes brothers! This series has been an obsession with me since I read Perfect Chemistry a couple of years ago. All the books have memorable book trailers and steamy front covers.

The three Fuentes brothers, each a major character in his own book, all make sexy, dangerous, romantic leads that will make female readers swoon. All of the Perfect Chemistry books are packed with page-turning action and romance. If you are looking for a book to give to a high school girl, this is a great choice, especially for non-readers. I would bet that many high school girls who say they don't like reading will become just as obsessed with this series as I am. This is the kind of book non-readers will read over and over again, which may turn them into readers.

Elkeles does a great job explaining the previous books and characters, so the books in this series are more parallel reads than sequels. About six years passes from the first novel to the third, and I loved seeing how the Fuentes brothers and their love interests mature in that time.

WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE: While I really liked Chain Reaction and read it obsessively, I didn't love it (or Rules of Attraction for that matter) as much as I loved Perfect Chemistry. Maybe it is because Perfect Chemistry took me by surprise when I read it (I had heard barely anything about PC when I first read it). With Chain Reaction, I just didn't feel the chemistry between Luis and Nikki that I felt with Alex and Brittany or even with Carlos and Kiara. While the situation Luis finds himself in is just as dangerous as Alex's in Perfect Chemistry, I knew he was going to find some way out of it because that's just how the PC series goes. They are all so much alike that there was really nothing new or fresh, save that one last surprise regarding Luis's family history.

The front cover is a little misleading. Yes, there are definitely some steamy romance scenes, but I was really, really hoping for a better shower scene than what it was. If you look carefully at the front cover, it looks like Nikki and Luis are joined by some sort of chain or handcuffs up by the shower head. They are not. The shower scene is perfectly chaste and safe. Like the rest of the book, I loved the idea of it more than the execution, probably caused by my too-high expectations after reading the first two.

  • Language: high (but not as high as the other two in the series)
  • Sexuality: high; two intercourse scenes; intense kissing
  • Violence: medium; gang murder (not described), one very violent assault (described in detail)
  • Drugs/Alcohol: medium; teen drinking, drug dealing, talk of drug use

STATUS IN MY LIBRARY: We do not have it; it is very much a high school book.

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