Rules of Attraction by Simone Elkeles

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Rules of Attraction by Simone Elkeles

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Category: Teens
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Robert James
Reviewed by Robert James
Summary: In the follow-up to Perfect Chemistry, Simone Elkeles creates a compelling romance with two brilliant lead characters and has me hungry to read more of her writing.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 336 Date: January 2011
Publisher: Simom & Schuster Children's Books
ISBN: 978-0857070432

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Carlos Fuentes isn't interested in living in America with his over-protective brother Alex, but his mother sends him there for his senior year of high school to try and keep him out of trouble. Kiara Westford is happy to help a new guy settle in - at least until the shy stutterer actually meets the bad boy. Despite their initial dislike of each other, they're thrown together when Carlos has drugs planted on him and her well respected father takes him in to stop him being sent back to Mexico. Will these two headstrong youngsters find love?

What do you think? It's not winning too many prizes for unpredictability, but the way the romance develops between the two leads, and the subplot of just why Carlos gets set up, raise it far above the run of the mill books in this genre. Also, while it's not particularly unusual to see well written and developed main characters, the supporting cast here, particularly Professor Westford, Kiara's dad, does stand out as being much more realistically depicted than by most authors.

My favourite thing about the book was the dual narration by Kiara and Carlos. They're both, as mentioned above, really good characters, and Elkeles writes with a great style and quickly sucks you into both of their lives. I also liked the pace with which their romance developed – it really seemed to be well-judged and genuine.

I should point out that this is actually the second book of a trilogy, by the way, the first being Perfect Chemistry. The reason I didn't mention it straight away is that I hadn't known it myself when I picked up the book; I generally avoid starting midway through a series. However, it's a fairly loose trilogy - one book featuring on each of the Fuentes brothers - and while the first book tells of Alex and Brittany's relationship, I really enjoyed this one without needing to read the original, so I'm glad I didn't pass this one up! Having said that, the first and third books are now high on my 'to read' list!

Overall, this is a high recommendation for all fans of teen romance – and there’s enough depth to it and action, coupled with a fairly gritty feel, that I can also see it appealing to many people who normally wouldn’t look twice at this genre.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag.

Further reading recommendation: Sea Change by Kate Cann is another fabulous teen novel which should appeal to readers of this book.

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