Friday, March 12, 2010

Book Review: Rules of Attraction by 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?


When I first heard there was going to be a sequel to Perfect Chemistry, I was unsure. First off, it ends with an epilogue set 20ish years in the future- the what's next is pretty obvious. This is a sequel, but only somewhat. While Alex and Brittany make their appearances, Rules of Attraction focuses on Carlos. The basic idea, however, is the same- the gangbanger Fuentes boy thinks he's far too good for some little white chica only to start falling for her and because of that, I didn't enjoy this one as much as Perfect Chemistry. And yes, I will be making comparison's between the two books in this review but it is not a spoiler for either book.

Carlos was a cocky jerk, to put it nicely. He grated me far more than Alex ever did because with Alex, I could see why he acted like he did and that sweet side was always lurking underneath from the start. Things weren't the same with Carlos. He was rebellious to be rebellious which certainly did set him apart from Alex and turn me off from him. Carlos is not a younger version of Alex even if they share the same culture, beliefs, affliction for rough situations and a high sex drive. I did enjoy getting to know Carlos and watching his interactions with Alex but I felt his growth throughout the book wasn't as strong as it could have been.

Kiara is an interesting character. It definitely takes a strong willed woman to handle the Fuentes men and though she and Brittany are both strong, just like Carlos was just another version of Alex, Kiara is not another version of Brittany. She had her own definable personality and she was very easy to relate to, side with, and appreciate. Kiara has some unique traits and interests and she certainly kept things interesting and she was my favorite character in this book.

This book focused very much on Carlos and Kiara falling for each other with the other issues falling a little more in the background until closer to the end. The final climax, however, was most definitely worth it, making this one a great mix between sexy romance and action/drama. I enjoyed the plot and the crap Carlos finds himself in is most definitely it's own thing with great twists thrown in that I definitely didn't see coming.

As with Elkele's other books, the writing was great in Rules of Attraction. That woman most definitely knows how to write teenagers and has Carlos slip into Spanish at all the right moments to drive the reader crazy. While I didn't think the sexual tension matched that of Perfect Chemistry, it was still palpable and a strong driving point of this one. Elkeles has a way with words and easily pulls the reader in and despite the alternating viewpoints between Carlos and Kiara, I never felt as though things were choppy or I was missing out on things. She transitions smoothly, giving a different mindset at just the right moment.

Overall, I did enjoy this one and read it in a short period of time. It kept me interested and if I didn't have Perfect Chemistry in mind, I would have still loved it. Yes, it's part of this set but I think you can read Rules of Attraction without having read Perfect Chemistry first because this is Carlos' story, not Alex's. It might spoil a few things from Perfect Chemistry but not enough in my opinion. Elkeles has another hit on her hands between her strong, very amusing characters, her fantastic writing, and her humor, banter and sexual tension.

Source: ARC sent to me by Eleni at La Femme Readers because she loves me
Reading level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: Walker Books for Young Readers (April 13, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0802720854
ISBN-13: 978-0802720856

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  1. OH MY GODDNESS - I can NOT wait to read this book...I LOVE HER!!! EAK, your review has me salivating...thank you...EAP!! :) yep cant wait...ok enough gushing! Thanks for the awesome review!

  2. I still have not read perfect chemistry..Blah behind behind

  3. I love the cover! I haven't heard of these. I must be out of the loop. Must.catch.up. :-)

  4. I found the character of Alex annoying, so maybe I'd better stay away from Carlos. :-D It does sound like this book has some great attributes though. I'm glad you enjoyed it. Simone Elkeles is a talented writer.

  5. Thanks for the detailed review! It sounds like if I go in with proper expectations everything will be swell. :) I can't wait.

  6. Great review Kari, great sequel <3

  7. Oh, awesome review! You definitely answered my questions about how similar/different Rules of Attraction is going to be from Perfect Chemistry, and it does sound like a small step down, but still just as Simone Elkeles-awesome. *o*
    And, lol, it DOES take a strong woman to handle a "Fuentes Man." Eek about Carlos, and yay about Kiara. :D

  8. Brilliant review! I have yet to read Perfect Chemistry.
    I hope to read it soon to move along to
    this one. It sounds really great! Your review
    was excellent and it made me want to read this
    book even more. Can't wait! Thank you =)

  9. I was just wondering how appropriate these young adult (teen) books are for my rather naive 13 year old. How detailed are they on the sexual nature? I let her read twilight and didn't have a problem with it, is this the same or what values am I allowing in my home? Not trying to sound like a helicopter parent just fighting for her childhood. :D
    Is this a good book to start a conversation about pre-marital sex?