Thursday, June 28, 2012

Review: Rules of Attraction by Simone Elkeles

Title: Rules of Attraction 
Series: The Perfect Chemistry Series
Book #: Two
Author: Simone Elkeles 
Release Date: April 13, 2010
Source: Local Library 
Format: Hard Cover

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When Carlos Fuentes returns to America after living in Mexico for a year, he doesn’t want any part of the life his older brother, Alex, has laid out for him at a high school in Colorado . Carlos likes living his life on the edge and wants to carve his own path—just like Alex did.

Then he meets Kiara Westford. She doesn’t talk much and is completely intimidated by Carlos’ wild ways. As they get to know one another, Carlos assumes Kiara thinks she’s too good for him, and refuses to admit that she might be getting to him. But he soon realizes that being himself is exactly what Kiara needs right now. (taken from 
Simone Elkeles possesses an amazing skill- within the first few pages of her novel, she had me melting like the teenage girl that I am. Her books are hot. Somehow, she has been able to combine deep, realistic characters with a swoon-worthy romance in a way that appeals to almost every reader. Not only does she conjure up spicy love stories, but she also examines the road to self-discovery and the dangerous temptations present in teen life. I can't help but devour her books. 

At first, I was a tiny bit skeptical about the continuation of the Perfect Chemistry series. How could Rules of Attraction continue the series without copying it's prequel? Sure, Perfect Chemistry was a flipping amazing romance, but could Elkeles create another best-selling book with such a similar plot? The answer is yes, yes she could. Many of the same elements are present in the second book (drug dealers, gangs, Mexican heritage, forbidden romance), but the actual story is entirely new and beautiful. Brittany and Alex, the couple from the first book, are present, but their story never takes center stage. 

Kiara is the opposite of the heroine you'd expect. She wears baggy t-shirts and hikes for fun instead of shopping. Her best friend is gay, and she's a straight A student with a spotless record. She's been plagued by a stutter her entire life, and as a result, she's kept her distance from other classmates and boys. Now, is that the kind of girl you can see falling for the dangerous criminal from Mexico? I think not. However, her feelings for Carlos are believable thanks to Elkeles' magic writing.  I never once doubted the authenticity. 

Carlo's point of view is even more adorable and emotional than Kiara's. Up until this point, his life has been no walk in the park. He still struggles with his feelings of abandonment caused by his father's death, and he's been trying to fill Alex's shoes ever since they left America. His young shoulders bear the weight of adult responsibilities, and it has left him hardened. However, Kiara's influence instigates a sort of personal reformation. It was both heartbreaking and exciting to watch Carlos change his ways. 

Despite its accurate label as a teen novel, Rules of Attraction contains a large amount of adult content. Colorful swearing, drugs, sex, and other iffy topics proliferate the novel. While I appreciated the realism, others might take offense. Just a little warning. 

Elkeles' tales of first love never fail to enchant. Combine her fantastic writing with lovable characters and voila! You've got yourself another passionate romance. If you're a fan of Perfect Chemistry, don't wait another minute. Go get your hands on this book NOW. While you don't have to read the first book to understand Rules of Attraction, I'd definitely recommend doing so. 

Rating: 4.5 Stars