There are so many published series out there and I know you wonder…which ones are worth the read? In this feature, we tell you which series you should start and which ones you shouldn’t. As a ground rule, series in this feature must have at least 3 books published and the reviewer must have read at least 60% of the series. If you want us to feature a series in the future, please ask in the comments.
What Is This Series About? Each book in the trilogy follows one of the Fuentes brothers as they fall in love with girls that are very different from them and battle their “destiny” of belonging to a gang.
Why Shouldn’t You Read It? The first book – Perfect Chemistry – is simply amazing, but the next two books are almost carbon copies of the first but with more outlandish plots and less appealing main characters. The next two brothers follow almost the same path as their older brother, almost as if the author was afraid to deviate from a successful formula. Although Rules of Attraction is not bad, Carlos has a chip on his shoulder the size of Boulder and Chain Reaction is simply maddening, with a soap operaish plot.
The Plots: Each book has an “opposites attract” theme. The Fuentes are poor Mexican teenagers, living in the wrong side of the tracks while Brittany, Kiera and Nikki are well off, American girls who outwardly have it all – they are popular, smart with a great future ahead – but have other challenges. The Fuentes are still steeped in their culture which these girls discover as they get to know them.
Perfect Chemistry is the best of the lot and I wholeheardly recommend it. Thing start to falter in Rules of Attraction where we have almost the same plot: poor Mexican kid falls for rich white girl while being pressured by gang. The second book is saved by a good cast of secondary characters but the third one, Chain Reaction, falls apart at the seams: there’s the same Mexican kid falls for rich girl plot – in this case, she’s Mexican American but so far removed from her Mexican heritage that she may as well have been white – Luis is really unnappealing, with a penchant for doing stupid shit; there’s a ‘who’s the father’ plot out of a soap opera, with Mrs. Fuentes acting like she doesn’t have two brain cells, and it has the worst epilogue in the history of epilogues (in general, the epilogues in this trilogy are bad but this is the worst of the lot.) If I had been reading a paper copy of Chain Reaction, I would have chucked it out of a window.
The Romances: If I can say something about this author, is that she has a way of writing about young love. In the first two books, I found myself fighting smiles because I thought they were so freaking cute (not in the last book…I kept yelling at Nikki to run away from that stupid ass.) There’s no insta-love or endless descriptions of their eyes or pecs – there’s some ogling but hey, that’s part of the romance too. Each couple falls in love as they get to know each other, so you get the feeling that they will have a long lasting relationship (even without those trite epilogues.)
Settings: Suburb of Chicago, and Boulder, Colorado.
The Audiobooks: As the books are told from both main characters POV, the audioboooks are narrated by a male and female narrator: Roxanne Hernandez and Blas Kisic. I’m a huge fan of their narration, specially of Blas’ – I developed a huge crush on his portrayal of Alex (yeah, yeah…it happens to me often.:) If you’ve never listened an audiobook and would like to try one, this is a great place to start.
Series Tips: Just read Perfect Chemistry (book #1.) The book is terrific and it can definitely be read as a standalone. The way it ends, you don’t need to read further and neither of the brothers were so appealing in that book that you must read what follows. I really wish somebody would have told me that.
About the Author: Simone Elkeles is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of novels for teens. Simone’s books have won many awards including being YALSA Top Ten Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers and the coveted RITA award from the Romance Writers of America for her book Perfect Chemistry. Simone is especially proud of the fact that the Illinois Association of Teachers of English named her Author of the Year.
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