How My Stomach Got Pumped: The Rest of the Perfect Chemistry Series by Simone Elkeles

I used to think I had a high tolerance for garbage.  I read twelve of the House of Night books.  Finished Collen Houck’s stupidity that was before I read The Perfect Chemistry series.

Maybe part of the problem was that I binge read the last two books in the series, but it’s not my fault the library decided to put both of these gems in my box the other day.  And I thought it might be better not dragging this little experiment out for a couple more months.  Of course, now that I’ve actually read them my brain and my liver sort of hate my logical sense of self.

 

 

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.

Source: GoodReads

Carlos Fuentes is probably the biggest asshole out of the Fuentes brothers.

In fact, if you want to have a drinking game for Rules of Attraction, more than likely it would be him being an asshole.  Though you’d probably be dead.

Funny thing, Simone Elkeles drinking games have a tendency of doing that.

Killing any participants of drinking games.

Because everything she does wrong is so over the top wrong.  I almost think she’s unintentionally trolling with these books.

While not as overt with the stereotypes as the other two books in the series, it’s probably the most covert of using horrible stereotypes.  Mainly the fact, that Carlos Fuentes is the definition of a stereotypical Latino Alpha male.  And it sucks big time.

He reminded me a lot of Ramon.

Ramon if he was French and a Disney character.

Who is Ramon, might you ask?  The most egotistical and offensive  contemporary romance novel character I’ve ever made.  But at least Judith McNaught had the excuse of the time period she wrote her book in.

Elkeles doesn’t.

I wondered if she was trying to have an even more jerk of a character than Alex, because if that was the case oh how she did succeed.

Carlos makes Alex look like a gentleman.  And if you’ve read my previous review…well, you know how I feel about Alex.

Apart from Carlos though, this book was better than its predecessor.  Though bland, Kiara wasn’t terrible.  I did think she caved into Carlos a little bit fast, but at least she wasn’t an outright idiot and racist like Brittany.   I also have to begrudgingly say that I liked her family and b.f.f.  Elkeles didn’t completely fail on that part of the novel.

But the whole gang aspect.

It’s just a rehash of the first one.

And it happens again in a more ridiculous fashion in the third book.

Is it really that hard to think that other social issues might exist amongst teens of Latino origin besides gang violence?

You know, Katie McGarry contemporaries-though somewhat repetitive all have different issues to explore.  I’m sure that there are just as many issues to explore with Latino teens as there any other teens.

Though try telling that to Elkeles.

Overall Rating: D+ I liked Kiara and her family.  Carlos and the plot though…sucks big time.

 

Like his brothers, Luis Fuentes is a risk taker; whether he’s scaling the Rocky Mountains or dreaming of a future as an astronaut, Luis is always looking for the next thrill.

Nikki Cruz lives her life by certain rules ― don’t trust a boy who says “I love you”, boys lie to get their own way and never date a boy from the south side of Fairfield. Then she meets Luis at his brother Alex’s wedding and suddenly she’s tempted to break all her rules.

Getting Nikki to give him a chance is Luis’s biggest challenge, until he finds himself targeted by the head of the gang that nearly destroyed his brothers’ lives. Will Luis’s feelings for Nikki be enough to stop him from entering a dark and violent world that could prove to be the ultimate risk?

Source: GoodReads

 

By this point you’d think that that asshole Carlos had probably whipped out any sort of sensibilities I might’ve had.  But even though I might make a joke about how reading these books could send a person into liver failure, I don’t actually drink when I read them.  I just don’t have enough money to pay the hospital bills and more importantly I have to sort of review them for you.  But if you thought Carlos was bad…well, Luis is just as bad as worse.

Well, it really depends, do you prefer out right in your face assholes or sneaky bastards.

If you hate sneaky bastards more than this book is really going to piss you off more than Rules of Attraction.

It’s also going to piss you off if you hate generalizations that fuel stereotypes.

Oh yeah.

With Rules of Attraction  I got annoyed with Elkeles’s little remarks about Mexican American culture, but compared to  Chain Reaction this was nothing.

The female lead, Nikki, is Latina.  Which should be instant points for Elkeles its not based on the poor generalizations the character occurs:

1) She must be saucy because she’s Latina.

She might claim she’s a full blooded American, but I’d bet my left nut she’s got some Mexican blood running through her feisty veins. (25)

2) She must know Spanish because she’s Latina.

In regards to knowing Spanish: “All the Mexicans I know do,” he says. “Hell, a majority of Mexicans I know don’t even speak English.(213)

3) Because  Nikki lives in a fairly affluent neighborhood, doesn’t know Spanish, and doesn’t know how to make tacos she’s dissing her heritage.

Yeah…

I wish I could say that despite the gross generalizations the rest of the book made up for this.  But it didn’t.

Not at all.

Oh, where do I begin?

Okay, I know what I’m going to do.  I know that she’s a fictional character, but I’m going to advise Nikki to seek out a divorce lawyer when she marries Luis because girl-he’s lying to you now and he’s not going to change his mind.

Seriously.  I mean, if you really wanted to get drunk you could just take a drink every time Luis did something semi-douchey to Nikki.

Actually, you’d probably be dead so that’s not a great idea.

But maybe if you divided it by lie….

Yep, dead.

So, how can you possibly get through this installment having a drinking game and not killing yourself.

Not possible.

Because every bothersome detail, it’s going to drive you crazy.

The good news is that this book is mercifully short.

Though I really wish Nikki would’ve kicked Luis’s ass to the curb. Or at least yell at Mama Fuentes for being a horrible mother (really, someone needed to do that).

Oh, and did I mention that there was a painful Lifetime message of not having sex before marriage thrown in there complete with an over the top life time event.

Yeah.

Don’t even bother with this one.  Your sanity will thank you.

F

 

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Sober vs Drunk Review: Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles

 

 

 

A fresh, urban twist on the classic tale of star-crossed lovers.

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.

Source: GoodReads

I don’t get it.  I really don’t get the hype over this book.  Sober or drunk.  Usually, if you’re inebriated you like something more than you would if you were sober.  I mean, look at that book trailer.  I’d hate it if I was sober, but when I’m drunk it’s hilarious.

However, the actual book, not so much.  In fact, I’m going to write this review from the perspective of a sober reviewer and a drunk reviewer to prove this to you.

Sober Reviewer: Well, If You Wanted Something to Get Rid of a Boggart…

You can’t read this book sober.

Well, you can.  But unless you have a filter to be unbelievably oblivious you’re going to get annoyed, offended, and your eyes are probably going to get stuck with the amount of rolling they’ll be doing.

It’s always best if you pour a glass of wine at this point (it’s hard to stay sober long while reading this book).

It is obvious that Elkeles has never lived in an area where there is a large population.  Or if she did she never listened to these people talk.  I’m laughing at the sort of Spanish the characters are speaking and my Spanish is horrible.  The whole depiction of the Latino culture is laughable.  Oh yes, everyone and their mother from Mexico must be in a gang or work in the service industry….rolls eyes.

Just like every white person, according to Elkeles, must be rich.

Both Brittany and Alex are racist towards each other.  Brittany looks down at Alex for being a gang banger and makes some less than politically correct remarks and assumptions about him because he’s Latino.  And at one point, Alex calls Brittany Snow Girl just based on the color of her skin and makes other innuendoes about her becuase she’s white (he out right says that’s the reason he’s saying these things too).

It’s stupid. And stupidity seems to fester in every aspect of the novel.

For example, at one point of the novel Brittany gets tired of being sexually harassed she asks her teacher to switch partners.  And the teacher tells her no and basis Brittany’s disdain for Alex on his race/socioeconomic class. When there’s no such mention (at least on this particular point) about race or socioeconomic class.

That’s how best to describe this book: ridiculous.

Every single plot point, character, and even description was ridiculous.

Take for example the fact that the first description of Alex is of an Abercombie model.

Ridiculous.

And at this point a sensible person would’ve slammed the book shut and  if they wanted to read a contemporary romance in the vein of Perfect Chemistry without the offensive-ness they’d  pull out a Katie McGarry novel.  However, an person who lacks sense (like yours truly) would continue to read the book but with a glass of wine.

Final thoughts (while I still have brain cells), this isn’t how diversity in YA should be.  Diversity is something that we should influence in YA.  However, the sort of diversity (if you can call it that) in Perfect Chemistry  should be something we never try to achieve.  It’s stereotypical and sort of disgusting with the way Elkeles portrays Latino culture. It sets stigma.  And that’s the last thing that publishers should want to achieve when creating diverse books.

 

Smashed Reviewer: I Need Another One

You know what’s funny, this book isn’t really looking better after a few glasses of wine.  The shots of tequila and margaritas really didn’t help too. Neither did the wine.  Or the hot sauce.  Though I had to be helluv drunk to think hot sauce was alcohol.

At least I’m not frowning as much.

Though it’s probably difficult to actually pay attention to the book.

I don’t think Alex is cute.

Well, for one thing he’s not a real person.  But as a book crush, he sort of blows.

He was a dick.

I mean, insulting poor Brittany like that.

But she was really stupid too.

Maybe two stupid people make a smart person (look this up).

Actually, that probably goes against some law in Physics.

I guess I really shouldn’t care about them being together because they’re so obnoxious.  But I do have to read about it.

Much like I had to read about gang violence that didn’t make sense, even though I was drunk.

Must pour another glass of tequila.

Ah, that’s better.  So, let me get this straight you can wear gang regalia to a zero tolerance school and not get called out on it.

Man, my mom’s school is going to get sued then.

Another shot of tequila.

And how can one believe they’re not going to have to sell drugs if they’re in a gang?

Who cares more drinks?

Better.

Better.

Damn it.  It’s still not working.  Logic is still there, god damn it, even with all of the booze.

And it’s still making me crazy too.  Like I don’t understand how Alex came back even though he was out of the gang and could’ve moved anywhere but had to go through the branding thing.

Then again, I don’t know gangs.

But clearly neither does Simone Elkeles.

Well, her knowledge of gangs is about as much knowledge as she has on Spanish.

That’s not saying much.

Okay, it’s actually a big insult since Ms. Elkeles believes that anyone who speaks Spanish uses the word mamacita every other sentence (obviously not reading this article).

I’m getting bored right now and could really use another drink so I’m just going to sum this up for you in one (okay, maybe a couple) of sentences:  This book sucks.  Es muy malo.  The end.

In other words, it blows man.

The (F)ucking end.