Aug 15, 2011

Review: Chain Reaction by Simone Elkeles

Title: Chain Reaction
Author: Simone Elkeles
Publisher: Walker Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: 8.16.2011
Pages: 336
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Series: Yes (Perfect Chemistry #3)
Copy: Bought from | Buy your own copy HERE

Rating: A-

Summary (from Goodreads):
Luis Fuentes has always been sheltered from the gang violence that nearly destroyed his brothers’ lives. But that didn’t stop him from taking risks—whether he’s scaling a mountain in the Rockies or dreaming of a future as an astronaut, Luis can’t stop looking for the next thrill.

Nikki Cruz lives her life by three rules—boys lie to get their way, don’t trust a boy who says “I love you,” and never date a boy from the south side of Fairfield. Her parents may be from Mexico, but as a doctor’s daughter, she has more in common with her north-side neighbors than the Latino Blood at her school. Then she meets Luis at Alex’s wedding, and suddenly, she’s tempted to break all her rules.

Getting Nikki to take a chance on a southsider is Luis’s biggest challenge, until he finds himself targeted by Chuy Soto, the new head of the Latino Blood. When Chuy reveals a disturbing secret about Luis’s family, the youngest Fuentes finds himself questioning everything he’s ever believed to be true. Will his feelings for Nikki be enough to stop Luis from entering a dark and violent world and permanently living on the edge?

For the record, I fully blame Simone Elkeles for my obsession with the young adult genre. Before I got my hands on a copy of Perfect Chemistry, I thought YA novels were strictly PG rated and the most passionate displays of affection received was a line saying, “We made out last night.” Nothing was ever discussed in detail, let alone the smoldering way Elkeles writes a love scene. As if that wasn’t enough, she doesn’t flinch when tackling tough subjects like gang violence and teen sexuality.

I fell in love with this series three years ago, and this final installment was just as hot and sultry as the previous two books. Luis, being the youngest, was so much fun. He didn’t have the jaded cynicism his older brothers had going into this book. He was a reckless, fun guy who liked to make people laugh. This is what made the revelation about his past all the more saddening (sorry, that’s all I’ll say – read the book to find out what happens).

I wasn’t all that crazy about Nikki. I understood she got hurt in a major way by a major creep, but I felt some times she took her mistrust in Luis too far. Towards the end I warmed up to her, but for a little while I thought she needed a good slap. I did, however, adore her friends Derek and Kendall. For some reason I looked forward to any scene they were in.

I felt parts of this book, especially the end, moved too fast. I would have liked a little more filling in the Latino Blood storyline and Luis’s reactions to what he discovered. I felt that came and went too fast. Then again, it might just be me with a serious case of the Oliver Twists, making grabby hands and begging for some more because I knew this series was coming to a close.

It could be argued that Elkeles’s books in this series are formulaic. After reading the first, the other two play out the same way, but I went in expecting that. There are no real surprised, but I recently saw on the news that people are almost 40% happier when they read a book or see a movie already knowing how it will end. This book is a classic example of that: I love knowing that in the Simone Elkeles’s world love truly can conquer all.


  1. Omg I love this series too, I cannot wait to read it! I love your review too because it makes me even more excited to read the book! <3 the Fuentes brothers :)

  2. The cover is pretty sexy! Steamy romance sounds pretty good!

  3. I definitely can't wait to read this one. Simone Elkeles's books are so, so addicting, even though they do follow a certain formula like you said.

  4. I cannot wait to read this book! It's been on my list for a while now!

  5. You have been trying to get me to read these books for so long...and I haven't. Heh. Don't lose hope, though. Your enthusiasm has me intrigued. Plus, you know how I love YA novels that depict teens as they actually are, as opposed to how they're supposed to be.

  6. I´m like your review, I´m addicted to Simone Elkeles books (Perfect Chemistry series and Leaving Paradise duo).

  7. I've only read Perfect Chemistry by this author and thought it was such a cute book, and even without reading the next ones, I had the feeling they would resemble Perfect Chemistry. But it's true, we only read a series we know will be formulaic because we need it, because we want happy endings :)

  8. I'm dying to read Chain Reaction- I wish I had my copy already, but hopefully I'll get it soon. I love your review and I agree that the series can be regarded as formulaic but I'll read just about anything by Simone and the Fuentes brothers are irresistible. Nikki seems like a character I wouldn't like very much either... Anyhow, I've decided that I want a Fuentes brother for my birthday:)


  9. Man, I totally am looking forward to reading this one,

    I'm pretty curious about the youngest in the Fuentes family.


  10. I LOVE Simone Elkeles!

    And it will be great reading about the youngest Fuentes guy - especially since he's less jaded.

  11. great review.. i like the first one haven't read the second one.. i'm really looking forward on reading this one.. :)

  12. I have been interested in this series, now I must pick it up

    Carla C

  13. omg..this is my fav books after perfect chemistry..i love luis...this is a great story..i like it..

  14. I have this series on my wishlist. Thanks for sharing your thoughts in the review!.

  15. my fav series... i love all the series especially the book one.. hehehhe

  16. I so need to read this one! I loved the others in this series.

  17. whoa,,this is my fav book,,i like luis,,
    great riview..thanks ^^


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