Rules of Attraction by Simone Elkeles
This great title is the second in Elkeles Perfect Chemistry trilogy. In this book, Alex’s little brother Carlos moves from Mexico to live with him in Colorado, where he’s at college with his sweetheart Brittany. (These were the main characters from the first book Perfect Chemistry. You don’t have to read that book for this one to make sense, but it is a fabulous story; in fact, I liked it better than the second one.) Carlos is a smart aleck who enjoyed his life la vida loca with one of the Mexican gangs. He can’t believe Alex is trying to mold him into a “whipped” college boy like he is, studying and taking long walks with his Gringa girlfriend. After getting to some serious trouble with the law, Carlos is forced to move in with one of Alex’s professors, and his life goes from bad to worse. What’s crazy to him is that he can’t get the professor’s straight-laced, hiking boot-wearing, independent daughter named Kiara off his mind, no matter what he does. Sound familiar? Yes, this book reminded me a lot of the first in the trilogy, but that won’t stop anyone from being totally involved the the on-again, off-again relationship between the two seemingly opposite teens. To this mix, throw in a drug lord who wants to use Carlos’ Mexican connections to further his business and the plot can’t get more complex.
I really enjoyed this book and recommend to all types of readers. Even though it might seem like a typical good girl falls for the bad boy romance, it has deeper themes that will keep you engaged to the end – family, making choices, acting responsibly. Elkeles writes well from the teen perspective, using lots of current slang sprinkled with Spanish from Carlos. She alternates chapters from both characters perspectives, really letting the readers get into their minds and see the conflicts first hand.