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Rules of Attraction: A Perfect Chemistry Novel – Simone Elkeles
Book Reviews
June 4, 2010 posted by Nikki

Rules of Attraction: A Perfect Chemistry Novel – Simone Elkeles

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 and his family 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?

Carlos Fuentes is a lot like his older brother, Alex, used to be. He’s got the hot Mexican look working for him, the gang affiliations, and a whole lot of bad boy ‘tude to go with it. On first glance, Carlos looks a whole lot like you’re average trouble maker, and he does absolutely nothing to dispel such ideas, either. But then Carlos’ mother ships him off to America to live with his brother, hoping and praying that such a change will give Carlos a better chance in life, and everything Carlos knew to be true about himself comes crashing on down.

Alex is different now. He’s cleaned himself up and managed to pull right away from any gang affiliations that he was previously linked to. He’s dating Brittany and going to college. All in all, Alex is making a good, honest life for himself. As irrational as it sounds, Carlos feels betrayed by Alex and his attempts to step away from his familial roots. What Carlos can’t seem to understand, though, is that Alex made those changes for his family.

Not surprisingly, Carlos instantly gets mixed up with the wrong kids at school and lands himself in trouble with the law. Through circumstances that are beyond his control, Carlos winds up unable to live with Alex and – begrudgingly – ends up rooming with a teacher. It’s here, in this house, that Carlos develops an infatuation with his fellow classmate, and daughter of the professor, Kiara.

Kiara is everything Carlos isn’t. She’s plain, modest, and a good, wholesome teenager. She holds responsibility and academic achievement in his esteem, and abides by the natural order of right and wrong. Although she’s not a typical ‘leader’, Kiara knows who she is and is confident in her sense of self and character.

And she completely wipes Carlos off his feet. He knows its crazy. He could have any girl he wanted. Why her? His attraction to a plain, goody two shoes makes no sense to him at all and he does everything in his power to fight it. But if we’ve learned anything from Alex and Brittnay’s tale in Perfect Chemistry, we know that Fuentes boys can only deny the sound of their thumping hearts for so long.

Lucky for Carlos, Kiara is also seriously taken with Carlos. Although she’s completely surprised by her feelings for him, she processes the whole thing in a mature way. She accepts their differences and opens herself to the possibility that something could develop between them.

In true Fuentes fashion, though, Carlos lands himself in a whole lot of hot water. His gang affiliations catch up with him and Carlos is forced into a situation that he can’t say no to. His life, and the lives of those he loves, depends on his participation in a high risk, illegal activity.

You’ll never believe who swoops in and saves the day…

Although Rules of Attraction follows a similar formula to Perfect Chemistry, Carlos has enough personal differences to Alex to make this story unique enough. The relationship that develops between Carlos and Kiara is different to the relationship readers are exposed to in Perfect Chemistry.

Like everything Elkeles does, Rules of Attraction is an easily digested novel, and I read the whole thing in just a handful of hours. This novel has all the good stuff – romance, action, suspense, humor and good, colorful writing. As is everything she produces, this instalment from Elkeles was a joy to read. I can’t wait to see what she does next.

Rating:: ★★★★☆

Teaser Quote: “As long as you’re talking to Brittany,” I say as I bite off the end of an egg roll, “why don’t you ask for your huevos back.”