Chain Reaction (Perfect Chemistry #3)
by Simone Elkeles
Summary: Luis Fuentes is a good boy who doesn't live with the angst that his big brothers, Alex and Carlos, have always lived with. Luis is smart, funny, and has big dreams of becoming an astronaut. But when he falls for the wrong girl,
Luis enters a dark world he's never known, and just when he thinks he's got life all figured out, learns some disturbing news about his family that destroys his positive outlook on life. Will that Fuentes bad boy streak come out with a vengeance and lure Luis to live on the edge like his new girlfriend and his own father?
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Source: I borrowed a Kindle copy from my local library
No. Just.. No.
Like, the first two books were cute and kind of interesting if I just ignored the logistics and lack of depth. I still don't understand why people rave about this series like it's the best thing since sliced bread. Have any of them heard of K.A. Tucker? Colleen Hoover? Katie McGarry? Was this only all the rage before those authors were writing things?
I hate to sound harsh, especially after rating the first two books fairly at 4 stars. But I just could not do it anymore.
Book one deals with a gang member and a rich girl in Illinois. They both went to college in Colorado at the end, which was a nice change of pace. Because of the gang presence in their previous area, Alex arranged for his mom and brothers to move to Mexico when he moved to college. And then Carlos was dealing with some craziness in book two. So he moves to Colorado to be with his brother and get some good influence. Somehow, he also gets involved with a gang, but it's still like, not the way of life for that particular area.
Two brothers in the same family have been involved with gangs and have suffered the consequences of their choices and have tried to be better influences on their younger brothers. The only way for book three to even have had Luis be remotely involved in a gang is for him to literally not be on planet earth for his entire childhood and to be utterly unaffected by anything. Or, he's part of a family that doesn't ever talk about anything ever. I'm sorry, but Luis would have to be dumb and completely unaffected by his childhood, family, and surroundings for him to have chosen gang life. And even then, people join gangs because they are affected by their surroundings. We've already decided that Luis is completely blind to anything happening around him so what would make him join or even participate in gang activities? Family? Please. They obviously don't speak to each other about anything that matters. Loyalty? To what? He literally has no idea what color the sky is if he's that unaware of his surroundings.
I already watched two brothers cling to a gang in order to be loyal to themselves, their race, and their family. And I watched what happened, I watched them learn their lessons. I couldn't do it again. Luis was Alex if Alex was also given a million ways out and just didn't bother to pay attention.
Also, why on earth would this family ever move back to an area with gang problems when they lived in a nice area? And if they did, why would they move into the SAME HOUSE is same bad neighborhood. I'm not saying they should have moved to the rich side, but Illinois has to have "slightly ghetto, but still an upgrade" neighborhoods. Why would Alex ever go back to the town with the gang he was jumped out of? I'm pretty sure if you get jumped out of a gang, they still don't want to see your face and the active gang members are not allowed to talk to you and I know that from like handful of prison and gang documentaries.. So, it feels like a dump plot device to create the same situations as book one and two to give the reader the SAME story with different characters that are actually mostly the same.
I thought it would be good because the first two books dealt with unaware white girls who had no idea about anything Mexican or poor. Nikki was Mexican and she also knew about the poor side of the town since her dad was a doctor and operated on Alex (and probably a gazillion other gang members if they are so prominent). But Nikki was just like a Mexican version of the other two love interests in that she had no idea what it was like to have culture, be poor, understand Mexicans, or have a clue as to what is happening. It was disappointing enough to not have the author explore the culture divide and class divide in the first two, but to have a character ignore her heritage and the only real thing that showed it bothered her was when she screwed up homemade flan? Ugh.
Not only did Nikki and Luis irk me, but the OTHER brothers decided to be terrible, too. Alex moved his whole family to the town for no real reason and didn't tell his wife first. Carlos flirted with a girl IN FRONT OF his girlfriend and told the girl he was a bachelor?! Not only was I done with this book, it made me basically dislike everyone else.
If you enjoyed the first two books, but kind of thought they were far fetched, this book is like the icing on the cake. It's too much.
This review is harsh, I know. But it was agony to sit through the author regurgitating the formula of all of the other books. In the first two books, I thought perhaps the author just chose to keep things light and not delve into gang, race, or social issues. But the events of the third book show me that she didn't just want to keep things light, she just wanted to ignore the effects of all of the hard hitting things she inserted into her books and just keep using a formula that worked for her. The books have gangs in order to create a conflict, not because the author wanted to have characters who were affected by their situations or to say anything real about anything.
I don't recommend this book unless you just want a light romance that has cookie cutter characters. I expected too much by wanting anything deeper than that. #sorrynotsorry