Friday, September 23, 2011

review: Chain Reaction by Simone Elkeles

pub date: August 16, 2011
publisher: Walker Books for Young Readers
pages: 308
source: library
appeals: romance, street fiction, realistic, gangs
content: sex, violence, lots of swearing (lots of it the f-word)

I was excited for this book for such a long time, but in the end I was disappointed. 

1) I felt like it was the same story as Perfect Chemistry and Rules of Attraction. Boy is involved in gang, girl wants to save him. They have a connection with each other that they've never felt with anyone else. Girl sleeps with boy the night before some big gang thing goes down so that he'll have a reason to leave the bad boy life and stay with her. It was great the first time. Okay the second time. The third time all I could say was, Really? What happened to that book rumor I heard at the beginning of the year about the girl being a gang member and Lois trying to get her to leave the bad girl life for him? I miss that book that never was.
 2) This also seemed cornier than the other two. They all, at times, have corny elements and dialog, but this one took the cake. Or should I say cob. (yes, this book was as corny as that joke).

3) I am a reserved person and I hate big scenes in life, I loath them in books. There are two of them in this book. The first was an embarrassing wedding scene where Alex and Brittany have a personal conversation just before being pronounced man and wife. The second was just in front of family, but it was still horribly embarrassing (to me as the reader) and that was between Carlos and Kiara. Both were seriously cringe worthy. And very corny.

4) Content was toooo much. I just wasn't in the mood for all that swearing. Sometimes I can handle it without a problem, but this time it jarred me out of the story.  And the sex in it seemed much more than the other two in the series, though I could be wrong because it has been a while.

On the plus side, it was fun to read about Alex and Britney and Carlos and Kiara. I love the family dynamic. It was also a fun romance, though it would've been more enjoyable if I hadn't felt like I'd read the main plot twice before. All three girls that fall for those trouble-making Fuentes boys, are different and original, which I really love. And the epilogue made me laugh, just like the other ones did.

This is a really harsh review of this book. I feel a little bad about it, but what can I say? I just wasn't feeling the attraction to this story. This is definitely the weaker of the three.

I remember reading an interview with Simone on someone's blog a long while ago (don't remember where or when exactly), and Simone said that the covers are stock photos and in Rule of Attraction she added a bit about kissing between cars so that the cover made sense with the story. Well, I think she did the same with this one. The shower scene in Chain Reaction didn't blend in as well with the plot, it didn't even really matter. It looks a lot sexier on the cover than it actually was. Which isn't really a critism, just an observation.

Luis Fuentes has always been sheltered from the gang violence that nearly destroyed his brothers’ lives. But that didn’t stop him from taking risks—whether he’s scaling a mountain in the Rockies or dreaming of a future as an astronaut, Luis can’t stop looking for the next thrill.

Nikki Cruz lives her life by three rules—boys lie to get their way, don’t trust a boy who says “I love you,” and never date a boy from the south side of Fairfield. Her parents may be from Mexico, but as a doctor’s daughter, she has more in common with her north-side neighbors than the Latino Blood at her school. Then she meets Luis at Alex’s wedding, and suddenly, she’s tempted to break all her rules.

Getting Nikki to take a chance on a southsider is Luis’s biggest challenge, until he finds himself targeted by Chuy Soto, the new head of the Latino Blood. When Chuy reveals a disturbing secret about Luis’s family, the youngest Fuentes finds himself questioning everything he’s ever believed to be true. Will his feelings for Nikki be enough to stop Luis from entering a dark and violent world and permanently living on the edge?

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