Friday, January 25, 2013

Review: Perfect Chemistry (Perfect Chemistry 1) by Simone Elkeles


A fresh, urban twist on the classic tale of star-crossed lovers.

When Brittany Ellis walks into chemistry class on the first day of senior year, she has no clue that her carefully created 'perfect' life is about to unravel before her eyes. She's forced to be lab partners with Alex Fuentes, a gang member from the other side of town, and he is about to threaten everything she's worked so hard for: her flawless reputation, her relationship with her boyfriend, and the secret that her home life is anything but perfect.

Alex is a bad boy and he knows it. So when he makes a bet with his friends to lure Brittany into his life, he thinks nothing of it. But soon Alex realizes Brittany is a real person with real problems, and suddenly the bet he made in arrogance turns into something much more.

In a passionate story about looking beneath the surface, Simone Elkeles breaks through the stereotypes and barriers that threaten to keep Brittany and Alex apart.


Published December 23rd 2008 by Walker Books for Young Readers  

The Elliott Review:

Yes, I am super late to the party on this one... Try five years too late! I was in the mood for some hot and spicy romance, and that is definitely what I got! This book an engrossing, lightning fast read that had me so strongly rooting for both characters I didn't even know what to do.

First of all, Alex is hot. Period. He is a typically sexy Latino with a haunting bad boy image to go along with it. Both of these things together are ... lovely! And what I like about him even more is that, while being a dangerous character involved in dangerous things, that's not all he's about. He has a smooshy, soft side to him that he keeps hidden due to being hurt in the past. Plus, a gang member showing vulnerability is not the smartest idea. 

The romance is hot. When Alex and Brittany begin to realize they have feelings for each other, the results are both emotionally and romantically satisfying. Both of them have to sort through their issues, remove the societal and personal barriers that they have in place keeping them from letting the other see who each truly is. Dios mio, there are some fireworks between them, both good and bad!

This book is another case of two individuals who learn to be their best selves because of what learning to love the other one taught them. This was the first book I read by Simone Elkeles, but it definitely won't be the last!

Source: Won

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Review: Uses For Boys by Erica Lorraine Scheidt


Anna remembers a time before boys, when she was little and everything made sense. When she and her mom were a family, just the two of them against the world. But now her mom is gone most of the time, chasing the next marriage, bringing home the next stepfather. Anna is left on her own—until she discovers that she can make boys her family. From Desmond to Joey, Todd to Sam, Anna learns that if you give boys what they want, you can get what you need. But the price is high—the other kids make fun of her; the girls call her a slut. Anna's new friend, Toy, seems to have found a way around the loneliness, but Toy has her own secrets that even Anna can't know.

Then comes Sam. When Anna actually meets a boy who is more than just useful, whose family eats dinner together, laughs, and tells stories, the truth about love becomes clear. And she finally learns how it feels to have something to lose—and something to offer. Real, shocking, uplifting, and stunningly lyrical,  Uses for Boys  is a story of breaking down and growing up.


Published January 15th 2013 by St Martin’s Press  

The Elliott Review:

I expected this book to be sweet and interesting - your average fare for a girl-doesn't-wanna-lose-boy story. My mind was blown by this novel in a lot of different ways. First of all, and I think most notably, the writing in this book is amazing. Every scene is so sensory and emotionally raw, all in the sparest of words. The prose feels so poetic that it almost hurts, all with not one ounce of overwriting or melodrama. The reader experiences the events of Anna's life with her, just the way she feels them... and nothing more.

And onto the events of Anna's life. It's sad and lonely even though it's filled with boys, and she herself feels so much.. yet it's under the surface. The choices she makes are all about breaking that loneliness and boredom inherent her life. Her mom has her own issues, her father is nowhere to be found, and even her one true friend isn't up front with her. The decisions she makes hint at a lack of value that Anna places on herself and her body and her life in general. They are not the pretty type of decisions that one always looks for in the heroine of a story, but they are so realistic in regards to what her life has been like.

I just feel like this book is pure writing without any crap, or even the author's own feelings toward Anna, thrown in. It's art, plain and simple. I don't love or agree with all of the choices Anna makes, but the writing leaves that decision up to me. I'm not sure how things will end up for her, but I feel that this writing is like a snapshot that truly and beautifully depicts the changes in Anna's life and thinking that take place in 240 short pages we get to follow her story. I really wish I could write like this!!!

Young Adult Notes:

A lot of sensitive themes - promiscuity, rape, abortion, substance use, etc.

Source: Thanks to St. Martin's Press for making this title available at NetGalley in exchange for a fair review.


Friday, January 4, 2013

Review: The Lies that Bind (Liar Society 2) by Lisa and Laura Roecker


Just when Kate Lowry thought she had life at elite private school Pemberly Brown figured out, she cracks open a fortune cookie to find a message from her best friend Grace--who's supposed to be dead.

Another Sister Gone

A classmate has gone missing, and Kate soon realizes that the disappearance is tied to the secret societies that rule her private school. Her best friend died for their secrets, and there's no way she'll let them get away with it twice. It's up to quirky outsider Kate to get some answers, but in a school where every answer leads to more questions and nothing's as it seems, who can she trust?


Published November 6th 2012 by Sourcebooks Fire
The Elliott Review:

This book is a perfect continuation of The Liar Society! I was sucked into it just as fast as I was in the first. Even though Kate has some answers about Grace's death, she is still mourning, still not over the whole thing. And in the midst of the campus trying to move on, another Sister disappears. This book develops the layers that the secret societies have at Pemberly-Brown, the way the Sisterhood and the Brotherhood are at war with each other. Even though she is not directly involved in either group, Kate is sucked into it all, trying to help find Bethany because she knows what it feels like to lose a friend.

My FAVE part of this book is the guy factor. Kate has, well, a lot of guys in her life be they hot or not. I love the continuation of her relationship with Liam ... but what's up with his not understanding her quest for justice? Will they be able to work it out? And then there's Bradley. Amazingly, he seems kind of sincerely like a decent guy... or is he?? And Seth. So loyal and sweet and always there for Kate. This would be so enthralling if he weren't always eating smelly Cheetos and being so unattractively going through puberty... Will he still be so semi-gross when he's done with the process? I just don't know how I feel about any of these guys. I like them all a lot, though, so I think it's, like, a love square??? I don't know. It definitely keeps me guessing.

The conclusion of the book is satisfying, yet some of my questions about the guys are still unanswered, leaving me basically crazy until the next book comes out.... At least, there better be!!! Ahh! So fun!

Source: Thanks to Sourcebooks Fire for providing a copy of this title in exchange for a fair review.