Review From User :
This novel was fantastic, it was wonderful, it blew me away! After I finished reading it, I wanted to read it again... something in the story just really got to me. If I had to describe it I'd say it's like Pretty in Pink meets West Side Story. You know Pretty in Pink, awesome 80's movie starring Molly Ringwald, rich guy falling for the poor girl on the other side of the tracks... West Side Story, forbidden love in the most extreme.
It's obvious that Elkeles did her homework with this one. The gang dynamic is terrifyingly real. I will admit that initially I was worried. I didn't think there was any way that she could spin a character that's a gang member to be likeable, a hero even. I mean when I think of gangs, it's drugs, drive-by's, you know extremly shady things, how can that be appealing at any level. And yet Alex was. He was a "good" guy, he was that tragic hero.
And Brittany, her character was even more complex that I think the novel even revealed. She seemed so real, it felt like I knew her, or someone like her. And despite the apparent differences between the two characters, they were so much more alike than I would have ever guessed. It still seems impossible and yet I've seen it!
The chapters are alternated between Alex and Brittany, and I was so happy for that. I loved being able to glimpse into each of their heads and really understand what they were thinking and how they were effected by each other. Had the story not been told that way, I don't think I would have enjoyed it as much. I think that is what won Alex over for me, because I got to see how he struggled with the life that he didn't want.
Elkeles writing was so smooth.... like butta. It just flowed right of the page, it was like I wasn't even reading... I was there. I was Brittany, I was Alex. It was powerful. *goose bumps*
On the surface it may read like a love story but there is so much more going on. It's a story of life lessons. Don't judge a person by the color of their skin, don't judge a person by the way that they look, talk, where they live.... I could go on. But I'll stop there, and leave you with the recommendation to pick it up.
I'm really looking forward to what Elkeles has in store for us next.
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.