Friday, December 23, 2011

Rules of Attraction by Simone Elkeles (Perfect Chemistry #2)

From GoodReads: "When Carlos Fuentes returns to America after living in Mexico, 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 out his own path- just like Alex did. Then he meets Keria Westford. She doesn't talk much and is completely intimidated by Carlos' wild ways. As they get to know one another, Carlos assumes Keria 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 Keria needs right now."

I absolutely loved this series! I'm actually kicking myself for not reading them sooner. I was a little weary of reading this story, because  I was afraid it would be the same as Perfect Chemistry, just with different characters. I was wrong. The characters in Rules of Attraction are completely different from those in Perfect Chemistry. They're each uniquely their own. The plot, while having some similar qualities of PC (girl meets boy, boy is too tough for girl), is totally different. While Perfect Chemistry is more about overcoming physical barriers (ex: being in a gang), Rules of Attraction is more about overcoming mental barriers (deciding who you want to be). This book can be read as a companion to PC or it can be read as a stand alone. I personally recommend reading PC first, only because it gives the full history of the Fuentes brothers, but Rules of Attraction gives enough history to where you wouldn't be lost. 

What I really love about Simon Elkeles is the point of view changes she does. Each chapter is alternated between Carlos and Keria as the narrator. I thought at first I would find this distracting, however it actually made me more immersed in the story. There was never a time I felt like saying "No! Go back to Carlos'/Keria's head!" It just flowed very naturally, and give me more insight into what was really going on. I don't think I would like this if just any author tried it, but Simone Elkeles can pull it off.

The relationships in this story are incredible, and not just between Carlos and Keria. I'm always looking at the "side-kicks" in a story to see how well written they are. If they feel fake and plastic, only there to force the story along, or if they are just as real to me as the main characters. In Rules of Attraction each characters is as realistic as the next. I particularly love the relationship between Keria and her gay best friend, Tuck(er). Tuck has some of the best lines in the story and really lets you know he exists too, without over shadowing the main story. The relationship with all of the Westford family and Carlos is so touching and wonderfully done. You can really feel the connection they all have. 

Besides love overcoming all obstacles, their is also the lesson of carving out your own path and finding out who you truly want to be in life, overcoming all barriers. The saying "You can be anything you want to be" is strongly weaved in these words. I think this is the perfect lesson for the audience this story is geared for. 

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone interested in the YA genre!

Rating: 4/5 stars

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