Monday, May 17, 2010

Review: Rules of Attraction, by Simone Elkeles

Rules of Attraction, by Simone Elkeles

Release Date:  April 13, 2010

Publisher:  Walker Books for Young Readers

Pages: 336


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 off, don't you just love that cover?!)
Rules of Attraction is the second novel in the Perfect Chemistry trilogy, by Simone Elkeles. If you haven't read the first in the series, Perfect Chemistry, I strongly recommend you do, however it has been quite some time since I read it, so I won't elaborate too much on it. Rather, I'll be focusing on the sequel.

Perfect Chemistry features the relationship of Alex and Brittany, while Rules of Attraction focuses on Alex's little brother Carlos and a girl named Kiara.

   I loved following the budding relationship between the characters. The entire book is one long back and forth between the two characters, who are exact opposites, and yet exactly the same. The thing I love about both of these books is, Simone Elkeles focuses the majority of the story on the two of them, and doesn't focus too much on subplots. While I see how subplots are important, sometimes they take away from the story, and these do not.
  Carlos is definitely a character you'll fall in love with. He's a bad boy with a soft side, who doesn't love that? Elkeles does a fantastic job of writing these bad boys!
   I loved Kiara. She was a normal sensitive girl, with stuttering problems. She didn't care about looks or what people thought of her. I loved that. She the exact opposite of Brittany from Perfect Chemistry, which was a plus for me, because Brittany wasn't the most likable character. Something about a girl who has it all, no matter the circumstances at home, takes away from my ability to sympathize with the character. Kiara on the other hand, has her brain and nothing more, which is closer to reality than I ever thought the book would deliver.
    There are some hot makeout scenes. And let's be honest, we all love makeout scenes, especially when they're well written!

   There were a few scenes in the book that felt a little too much like a rewrite of Perfect Chemistry, rather than a sequel. They were better written, so I will say Elkeles is definitely getting better with her writing (not that there were any problems with it to begin with!).
   As with the first book, I found the ending a little unbelievable. I won't go into detail obviously, don't want to give anything away! But in the real world, I just don't think there would've been such happy endings where gangs are involved. But hey, that's what fiction's there for right?!
   My only other con would be, it took me a while to like Carlos as a character. I wouldn't say this is a bad thing necessarily, because when we finally saw the soft side of Carlos, I was smitten! (They just don't make 'em like that in real life.)

I have a love/hate relationship with the epilogues. On one hand I think they're incredibly corny, (the first time was one thing, but this one was...too much.) On the other hand, I find myself hoping the third book of the series has it's own corny epilogue! In fact, I'd probably be pretty disappointed if it didn't.

Would I recommend it? I'm honestly considering reading it a second time before it's due back at the library. Does that answer that question?

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