February, 07, 2010

7 Feb

Read: Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles

At Fairfield High School, on the outskirts of Chicago, everyone knows that south siders and north siders aren’t exactly compatible elements. So when head cheerleader Brittany Ellis and gang member Alex Fuentes are forced to be lab partners in chemistry class, the results are bound to be explosive. But neither teen is prepared for the most surprising chemical reaction of all–love. Can they break through the stereotypes and misconceptions that threaten to keep them apart?

This book ended my string of “books started, books put down after one or two chapters” so it’s a good thing I finally found it again in early January after looking for it for months. Of course, I found it accidentally and also in a place I’m sure I looked at least twice.

Perfect Chemistry tells a story that has strong shades of West Side Story. In fact, it has strong shades of nearly every cliché found in high school romances. Or at least, it has enough of them it would have been turned into three Sweet Valley High books back in my day. There’s The Bet, a year-long school project that brings two people together who normally wouldn’t have any contact, and there’s the good, perfect cheerleader and the bad boy gangsta. What keeps it all together is the look beneath the surface, some sweet and touching moments, and two young people finding their own identity. That’s why I enjoyed reading Perfect Chemistry. Quite a lot and nearly up to the ending. Especially the epilogue pushed it too far into fairy tale territory whereas the whole gang business, let’s just say I had trouble buying it completely in the setting of that story. But up until the last few chapters, I was caught up in the story. I even had to sniffle a time or two. (4/5)

Currently Reading: Ice Blue by Anne Stuart

Museum curator Summer Hawthorne considered the exquisite ice-blue ceramic bowl given to her by her beloved Japanese nanny a treasure of sentimental value-until somebody tried to kill her for it.

The priceless relic is about to ignite a global power struggle that must be stopped at all costs. It’s a desperate situation, and international operative Takashi O’Brien has received his directive: everybody is expendable. Everybody. Especially the woman who is getting dangerously under his skin as the lethal game crosses the Pacific to the remote and beautiful mountains of Japan, where the truth can be as seductive as it is deadly….

I’m maybe halfway through and the more books I read in this series, the harder my time gets with the idea behind the Committee. It’s just too “James-Bond” to me – a private organization that’s out to save the world without any involvement of authorities.

With Ice Blue I also have the problem to understand why Summer still lives. Takashi claps eyes on her and he can’t do what he’s send to do: kill her. Especially because the first time he looks her in the eyes, it’s a situation conducive to just pull the trigger and be done with it – his assignment and saving the world. But he doesn’t. I guess I would have less trouble believing that if he’d spent some time with her. But after looking her in the eyes for the first time – a cold-blooded killer? – uhm, not so much.

What’s even more puzzling to me, the Committee deemed Summer expendable for the greater good from the start but they go and gather information about her right down to her bra size (they are able to produce a near identical wardrobe to her own for her in the matter of a few hours later in the story). Why do that when they wanted to off her from the get-go? Why go to all that trouble?

All this leaves out my impression that I’m basically reading the same story again as in Cold As Ice. Different names for the main protagonists and villains, different locations, but more or less the same situations between the main protagonists, the same conflicts. But all this also leaves out the fact that I still find the conflict – falling for the one you’re ordered to kill – compelling.

I’ll continue reading.

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4 Responses to “February, 07, 2010”

  1. Christine Monday, February 8, 2010 at 10:34 pm #

    So glad you’re out of your reading slump thing! Yay!

    I had to laugh, because I most definitely know exactly what you mean about the ending and epilogue of Perfect Chemistry, but I fell for it hook, line and sinker. LOL.

  2. Taja Tuesday, February 9, 2010 at 9:40 am #

    Christine – yeah, me too!

    The epilogue, well, it seemed like a participant at a beauty contest got her wish for world peace granted. 😛 But I appreciated that Mrs. Peterson showed up again.

  3. nath Wednesday, February 10, 2010 at 6:16 am #

    Yay for you reading the whole book without putting it down!!

    That’s the problem with contemporary YA novels in my opinion… believability. That’s why I tend to usually read more fantasy YA.

    As for Ice Blue… I remember reading and thinking meh. I’m really tired of organizations that work in the background. It’s getting overdone.

  4. Taja Wednesday, February 10, 2010 at 9:32 am #

    nathPerfect Chemistry is one of the very very few YA novels I’ve read since I left school so I don’t know how it compares. But it was like a trip to my reading past which I liked. 🙂

    Ice Blue – I’ve finished it yesterday and “meh” sums it up well. It took me several days to read it so that might be the reason I also thought it “disjointed” in parts, but then again the fact that it took me several days is a rather sure sign I wasn’t really drawn in. (3/5; or maybe even 2,5/5)

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