Sometimes we meet people in our lives who change us, sometimes so profoundly that we are not the same afterwards, and we carry a piece of them with us. And if we’re really lucky, they’ll change us for the better. Make us want to be better. And that’s the point, isn’t it? To meet someone who makes you want to be a good, better version of yourself because they believe in you enough to make you think you can be.
Simone Elkeles shows us exactly what can happen when we meet the right people in our lives in her beautiful, romantic YA fiction novel, Perfect Chemistry. She cleverly uses character development and themes in the book to show just what you are capable of when you meet someone who inspires you and is equally inspired by you.
Brittany Ellis has created the “perfect” life for herself for her senior year – she has the perfect friends, the sweet boyfriend and the good grades. However, her perfect life is about to unravel in front of her eyes on her very first day. She’s forced to be lab partners with gang member Alex Fuentes from the other side of tome, and he’s about to threaten everything she’s worked so hard for – her flawless reputation, her relationships, and the secret that her home life is far from perfect.
Alex is a bad boy and knows it all to well. So he doesn’t think anything of making a bet with his friends to lure Brittany into his life. But soon Alex realises that Brittany is a real person and has real problems. Suddenly, the bet he made in a moment of arrogance, turns into something much more than he could ever of had foreseen. In a passionate story about looking beneath the surface, Elkeles breaks through the stereotypes and barriers that threaten to keep Brittany and Alex apart.
Perfect Chemistry is the first novel in the trilogy, with Rules of Attraction and Chain Reaction the follow ups. It has also been said that Elkeles is currently writing a fourth novel to add to the series but it has not yet been said what the title or plot is about yet.
Brittany and Alex are in one way, star-crossed lovers. Her parents don’t approve, its difficult to see each other. He’s the bad boy from the gangs and she’s the good girl from the rich part of town. But in this love, is doesn’t matter. When she looks at him she sees past the gang colours and attitude. She sees the boy who can have a good future, should he chose to take that road and urging him to do so. When all he’s ever been told is that he’s not good enough, the fact that she, of all people, believes that he can be more than he lets on, inspires him.
He tells her that, because of the faith she has in him, he wanted to change himself to be better – to be the better version of himself she believed she saw. Alex wanted to make his place in the world better and because of that, make the world better. He says:
“If you think you can’t change the world, then go on and follow the path already carved out for you. But there are other roads to choose, they’re just harder to trudge through. Changing the world isn’t easy, but I sure as hell am going to keep trying.” – Simone Elkeles, Perfect Chemistry.
He also tells her that she’s the only girl he has ever met, that made him want to risk everything he has for a better future.
“You are the one girl that made me risk everything for a future worth having.” – Simone Elkeles, Perfect Chemistry.
Not only does Brittany make him want to be a better man. Alex also makes her want to be a stronger woman. A braver woman. Someone who isn’t afraid to break out of the perfect facade that she created for herself. With him, she feels stronger, like she can find a way through the impossible; survive the unsurvivable. That she can be who she wants to be and not have to suffer the consequences for it.
The effect that he has on her is much the same as what she has on him. Brittany learns that she can stand up for herself, to her parents, to her friends and anyone else who wants to stand in the way and anything else that gets in the way. Near the end of the novel, she says:
“Every time I break out of what is expected of me and do what feels right, I feel stronger.” – Simone Elkeles, Perfect Chemistry.
This is kind of effect that finding the right person can do. they can change you, change your life. And sometimes, it can be in the best, most unimaginable way possible. If only you take the risk to find out. Here’s what I know, what I learned: if you’re willing to take the risk, you might find that the person you become is who you’ve always wanted to be.