Rules of Attraction (Simone Elkeles)

Rules of Attraction (Perfect Chemistry, #2)Rules of Attraction by Simone Elkeles
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Recommended for: Fans of YA realistic fiction; The Secret Year, for example.

From Amazon: "Carlos Fuentes doesn't want any part of the life his older brother, Alex, has laid out for him in Boulder, Colorado. He wants to keep living on the edge, and carve his own path—just like Alex did. Unfortunately, his ties to a Mexican gang aren't easy to break, and he soon finds himself being set up by a drug lord. When Alex arranges for Carlos to live with his former professor to keep him from being sent to jail, Carlos feels completely out of place. He's even more thrown by his strong feelings for the professor's daughter, Kiara, who is nothing like the girls he's usually drawn to. But Carlos and Kiara soon discover that in matters of the heart, the rules of attraction overpower the social differences that conspire to keep them apart. As the danger grows for Carlos, he's shocked to discover that it's this seemingly All-American family who can save him. But is he willing to endanger their safety for a chance at the kind of life he's never even dreamed possible?"

Simone Elkeles is a new find for me this year. I first heard about her on the blogs, due to a staggering amount of extremely positive reviews for her first book, Perfect Chemistry.

Oh, Simone. Her stories are gritty, her teen romances (appropriately) steamy, but, most importantly, her characters resonate. They are real, and it's hats off to Simone Elkeles for writing them that way. That, to me, is the magic of Rules of Attraction - Elkeles' writing flows perfectly and effortlessly. Her main characters, Luis and Kiara, both have quirks and prejudices, and their interactions are a pleasure to observe in the way they entertain. (This, of course, from my firmly post-high school seat.) Her prose is excellent - there was never a time I was dragged out of the story by a clumsy turn of phrase; instead, the writing sucked me deeper into the action.

My one tiny complaint would be the ending. The epilogue seemed forced and altogether too saccharine - I could have done without it completely. But honestly, it didn't detract very much at all from my enjoyment of this book.

If you think you're over the whole high school/girl meets boy YA book, think again. Simone Elkeles writes them better than I've ever read them, and I can certainly say that after these, I plan on reading every single book she's written.

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