Wednesday, November 30, 2011

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

Title: Rules of Attraction (Perfect Chemistry #2)
Author: Simone Elkeles
Publisher: Walker Books for Young Readers
Pages: 324
Release date: April 13th 2010
Genre: Contemporary YA; romance
Source: Bought
Find out more: Amazon ; Goodreads

Goodreads description:
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.

First sentence:
I want to live life on my own terms.

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

I loved Perfect Chemistry (review), but I wasn't sure whether I'd enjoy Rules of Attraction, since it's pretty much the same story. But Simone Elkeles managed to make these characters different, so I ended up really liking Rules of Attraction, too!

I thouhgt it would be hard to make Carlos different from Alex and Kiara different from Brittany, but that was not a problem - they both work as independent characters. At first I didn't like Carlos and was annoyed by his huge ego, but I grew to understand and love him. His cockyness is pretty funny, actually. When he got into trouble, I got frustrated with him and how he didn't want to let anyone help, but overall I liked him and think he's a good and entertaining character. Kiara, I loved from the start. She's different from the type of characters I usually relate to. She's athletic, loves hiking, knows how to repair cars, and is just generally a tomboy, which isn't me at all. But she's also shy and quiet and stutters, and that part of her made me really feel for her and like her.

Carlos and Kiara's relationship is great. Yes, it's predictable, but I loved how Carlos and Kiara interacted. Their fighting in the beginning is hilarious. I think the switch between hating each other and developing feelings for one another happened too quickly, but after that the ups and downs of their relationship are realistic again. The way they treat each other is just so much fun to read about.

The secondary characters are great too. I loved Kiara's family - Brandon is adorable, and Westford is the perfect dad, definitely the type of parent I'd like to see more of in YA. Tuck is a fun character, too - I loved every scene that included him. And then, of course, there's Brittany and Alex. I liked seeing what happened to them, and I really enjoyed reading about Carlos and Alex's relationship. Their fights are hilarious, but the way they care for one another is sweet. I especially liked seeing how Carlos and Alex influenced one another in their relationships with Kiara and Brittany.

My main problem is the same one I had with Perfect Chemistry - the way Simone Elkeles uses Spanish. It doesn't seem authentic, more like the author wanted to use some Spanish but was too focussed on making the reader understand it - she either said something in Spanish and immediately repeated it in English, or she said words everyone knows in Spanish but the rest in English. While I understand that she wanted to let everyone understand what the characters are saying, that just doesn't seem realistic to me - why would anyone in real life speak like that? I think I would have preferred it if either the whole sentence had been in Spanish (you can probably get what they're talking about from the context even if you don't know any Spanish), or if she'd written the sentence entirely in English and then written something like "...," Carlos said in Spanish. That lack of authenticity just really annoyed me.

Another thing I disliked is the ending - it seemed rushed and somewhat unrealistic, and I just generally hate epilogues.

While I think I still liked Perfect Chemistry better than Rules of Attraction - simply because the idea was new, and I liked Alex a little better than Carlos - Rules of Attraction is a great companion novel, and I'm excited for Luis's story, Chain Reaction!


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