Eighteen-year-old Brittany leads a perfect life with her perfect hair and figure, perfect boyfriend, and perfect family…or so she wants everyone to think. Her dad is barely at home, her mom is obsessed with keeping up appearances, her sister is mentally disabled, and her boyfriend only wants sex. No matter what, Brit has to maintain the perfect image, but her world is turned upside down when she meets her chem partner. Everyone fears Alex Fuentes. He’s dark, dangerous, and part of the gang Latino Blood. Maintaining this dangerous image it’s important to keep his family safe, to keep his brother’s away from gang life. But meeting Brit has made him to wish for more, a better life, even though when he knows it’s hopeless. Class, race, reputation are all put on the line when these two get together, but they survive the oncoming tide of gossip?Simone Elkeles Perfect Chemistry sizzles with romance, and breaks the stereotypes that rule high schools everywhere by teaching us that sometimes people are not what they seem.Brittany strives to maintain the typical ice-princess facade, first because it’s what her mom wants, and second because she doesn’t want anyone to know and make fun of the situation of her family. I really wanted her to grow a backbone in those first chapters. She’s so fearful of her mom, and she’s eighteen for shits sake! But that’s alright, because it’s thanks to Alex that she relizes life’s too short to be living it like another person wants you to, instead of how you want to. “If there’s one thing I learned, it’s that nobody is here forever. You have to live for the moment, each and every day…the here, the now.” – Alex Alex’s situation broke my heart. All he does is to protect those he loves, his mom, his brothers, and eventually Brittany. He doesn’t believe he can better the conditions of his life, and every time he said so, I just wanted to give him a hug. You know you can do more, but everyone expects you to quit. ~ What is the use in fighting for a lost cause?It’s Brittany’s perseverance in believing in him, in showing him things didn’t need to be that way, that makes Alex work to get out of the messy life he leads.The moments between these two were very exciting and sizzling. I love how they kept assuming things about each other and then discovered things weren’t what they seemed. The moments they got to know each other were sweet, and hot, and all kinds of right. But I would definitely label this a new adult, due to content both sexy times and alcohol and substance abuse.Now, though I loved how these two found each other, I didn’t like the comment Brit made about changing Alex so one day they’d be the perfect couple. Changing another person so he fits with you, it’s so not the right way to be in a relationship, though Alex did in fact need a little adjustment in his life. I also found Brit to be very naïve in thinking Alex would change the minute she gave herself to him. Le sigh.A little pet peeve of mine, and the reason why I stay away from stories with Latino characters, is that I hate it when they use the wrong Spanish word or phrase. Authors, if you’re going to use lingo at least use it well. Get real Latino’s to check the phrases and that way you avoid the rest of us cringing in horror when we read them. Otherwise, great job on portraying that macho attitude. It was spot on. Seriously.Overall, I love these types of YA Contemporary novels. They have no reservations, they don’t pull any punches, they show things how they are and tell things how they are. There’s no ‘perfect’ ending without a lot of struggle before, and that’s exactly how life is. The themes of race and class are very real anywhere you go, and Perfect Chemistry does an excellent job or building bridges between them.