And now for something completely different, a YA romance! Rules of Attraction, by Simone Elkeles (Bloomsbury, 2010, YA, 304 pages), is a companion book to Perfect Chemistry, a lovely little confection of teen love that I enjoyed very much last year (my review).
Rules of Attraction tells of Carlos, a Mexican teenager with a big attitude and a past tied to drugs and gangs, who moves to Colorado to live under the watchful eye of his big brother Alex (the hero of Perfect Chemistry). Alex arranges for Carlos to live with one of his professors...and there Carlos finds himself under the same roof as the professor's daughter, Kiara.
Kiara is a mountain climbing, car fixing, independent girl. Carlos is determined not to fall for her, but to keep his a***** persona firmly in place. But behind that facade, he's actually a caring, loving person.
And the two of them fall hard for each other. But can Carlos put his past behind him? And can he finally believe in love? Yes, well, it all sounds a bit stereotypical romancy. But it is pleasantly diverting as all get out, with Elkeles creating characters that one can care about, and I found it an enjoyable read, even though I couldn't exactly believe in the story qua story...Added interest comes from Kiara's best friend, who's gay, and some reflection on what it means to be a Mexican teen aged boy in America.
It is not at all necessary to have read Perfect Chemistry before reading this book, but I'd recommend it, simply because that is a stronger book. With that one, I had to check the ending multiple times to make sure it was happy; with this one, there was never much doubt....
(Rules of Attraction gets rather hot and heavy, so although younger teens might well enjoy reading it (it's not quite as explicit, say, as Forever, but there is sex), it might not be quite "suitable").
At Green Bean Teen Queen, you can enter to win (through April 28th) a copy of Perfect Chemistry, a copy of Rules of Attraction and a Perfect Chemistry/Rules of Attraction bookmark!
(disclaimer: review copy received from the publisher)