May 6, 2010

Rules of Attraction by Simone Elkeles

Potential mild-spoilers may follow if you haven't read Perfect Chemistry. Be sure to check my review of that here before continuing. Just in case.

Carlos Fuentes likes to think he is nothing like his brother Alex. Carlos is tougher, is taking better care of the family in Mexico than Alex did in Chicago, and Carlos is a one-man show with no extra baggage to worry about. So then why is it so hard for Carlos not to follow in Alex's footsteps.

After getting in trouble with the local gang in Mexico, Carlos is sent to Alex in Colorado to be straightened out and finish up his last year of high school. Carlos of course has no intention of listening to his brother's warnings and decides to continue living his life on the edge and doing whatever makes his feel numb. Unfortunately those activities land him on the local drug lord's radar. When Carlos is caught with a substantial amount of drugs, he's sentenced to completing an after-school enrichment program and living with a guardian, who just so happens to be Alex's former college professor.

The professor has a lovely home with a tea-house-running wife, a rambunctious six-year-old son named Brandon, and a frumpy-looking senior-in-high-school daughter named Kiara. Things are starting to look up for Carlos. As he continues to rebel and push those nearest to him away, Kiara dares to push Carlos back. She's certainly not afraid of him and manages to pique Carlos's interest. Too bad the local drug lord isn't letting Carlos go easily. Can he protect those he cares for without having to destroy everything?

This is the exciting second volume in the Perfect Chemistry trilogy starring the mesmerizing and scrumptiously yummy Fuentes brothers. While each book can be read as a stand alone novel, it helps to have read the first one for the back story that is referenced in this book. Simone Elkeles really knows what she's doing with this series. The characters are hauntingly accurate and enticingly fascinating. They are all very unique individuals with their own hidden talents. Believe me, there were a few surprise abilities that were showcased in this novel.

The storyline was along the same lines as the first novel with a change in setting and ending mostly. I found that, while basically the same, Carlos was more ardent in his need to prove himself to everyone than Alex was in the first novel, but the girls were opposites. Kiara was much more personally vulnerable than I ever imagined Brittany. Yet in a way, Kiara's vulnerability made her more accessible to the reader. The strength that emanates from the main characters is just phenomenal and something that I think more people should possess.

While there were a few plotlines that dropped off and left me wondering what happened to them (the obligatory mean girl went poof, etc) I found that they didn't bother me as much as usual because they allowed Simone to focus more on the important part of the story. A pleasurable read that I'm sure I'll visit time and time again, Rules of Attraction is a wonderfully pleasant book that I think fans of Sarah Dessen and Jennifer Echols will appreciate. Be sure to check out my thoughts on Perfect Chemistry if you haven't already.

P.S. I LOVE this cover so much. I really want a poster size version of it, but haven't managed that yet. Next on my to-do list after moving. :)


Sara said...

Great review! I'm dying to read this book!!

Nishant said...

I need to read it.
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