I used to be the blogger called YAL Book Briefs, but I grew bored of the handle and changed my name to Howdy YAL. I also respond to MJ. I like to read, write, eat truffles, and watch bad Lifetime movies.
I don’t get it. I really don’t get the hype over this book. Sober or drunk. Usually, if you’re inebriated you like something more than you would if you were sober. I mean, look at that book trailer. I’d hate it if I was sober, but when I’m drunk it’s hilarious.
However, the actual book, not so much. In fact, I’m going to write this review from the perspective of a sober reviewer and a drunk reviewer to prove this to you.
Sober Reviewer: Well, If You Wanted Something to Get Rid of a Boggart…
You can’t read this book sober.
Well, you can. But unless you have a filter to be unbelievably oblivious you’re going to get annoyed, offended, and your eyes are probably going to get stuck with the amount of rolling they’ll be doing.
It’s always best if you pour a glass of wine at this point (it’s hard to stay sober long while reading this book).
It is obvious that Elkeles has never lived in an area where there is a large population. Or if she did she never listened to these people talk. I’m laughing at the sort of Spanish the characters are speaking and my Spanish is horrible. The whole depiction of the Latino culture is laughable. Oh yes, everyone and their mother from Mexico must be in a gang or work in the service industry….rolls eyes.
Just like every white person, according to Elkeles, must be rich.
Both Brittany and Alex are racist towards each other. Brittany looks down at Alex for being a gang banger and makes some less than politically correct remarks and assumptions about him because he’s Latino. And at one point, Alex calls Brittany Snow Girl just based on the color of her skin and makes other innuendoes about her becuase she’s white (he out right says that’s the reason he’s saying these things too).
It’s stupid. And stupidity seems to fester in every aspect of the novel.
For example, at one point of the novel Brittany gets tired of being sexually harassed she asks her teacher to switch partners. And the teacher tells her no and basis Brittany’s disdain for Alex on his race/socioeconomic class. When there’s no such mention (at least on this particular point) about race or socioeconomic class.
That’s how best to describe this book: ridiculous.
Every single plot point, character, and even description was ridiculous.
Take for example the fact that the first description of Alex is of an Abercombie model.
And at this point a sensible person would’ve slammed the book shut and if they wanted to read a contemporary romance in the vein of Perfect Chemistry without the offensive-ness they’d pull out a Katie McGarry novel. However, an person who lacks sense (like yours truly) would continue to read the book but with a glass of wine.
Final thoughts (while I still have brain cells), this isn’t how diversity in YA should be. Diversity is something that we should influence in YA. However, the sort of diversity (if you can call it that) in Perfect Chemistry should be something we never try to achieve. It’s stereotypical and sort of disgusting with the way Elkeles portrays Latino culture. It sets stigma. And that’s the last thing that publishers should want to achieve when creating diverse books.
Smashed Reviewer: I Need Another One
You know what’s funny, this book isn’t really looking better after a few glasses of wine. The shots of tequila and margaritas really didn’t help too. Neither did the wine. Or the hot sauce. Though I had to be helluv drunk to think hot sauce was alcohol.
At least I’m not frowning as much.
Though it’s probably difficult to actually pay attention to the book.
I don’t think Alex is cute.
Well, for one thing he’s not a real person. But as a book crush, he sort of blows.
He was a dick.
I mean, insulting poor Brittany like that.
But she was really stupid too.
Maybe two stupid people make a smart person (look this up).
Actually, that probably goes against some law in Physics.
I guess I really shouldn’t care about them being together because they’re so obnoxious. But I do have to read about it.
Much like I had to read about gang violence that didn’t make sense, even though I was drunk.
Must pour another glass of tequila.
Ah, that’s better. So, let me get this straight you can wear gang regalia to a zero tolerance school and not get called out on it.
Man, my mom’s school is going to get sued then.
Another shot of tequila.
And how can one believe they’re not going to have to sell drugs if they’re in a gang?
Who cares more drinks?
Damn it. It’s still not working. Logic is still there, god damn it, even with all of the booze.
And it’s still making me crazy too. Like I don’t understand how Alex came back even though he was out of the gang and could’ve moved anywhere but had to go through the branding thing.
Then again, I don’t know gangs.
But clearly neither does Simone Elkeles.
Well, her knowledge of gangs is about as much knowledge as she has on Spanish.
That’s not saying much.
Okay, it’s actually a big insult since Ms. Elkeles believes that anyone who speaks Spanish uses the word mamacita every other sentence (obviously not reading this article).
I’m getting bored right now and could really use another drink so I’m just going to sum this up for you in one (okay, maybe a couple) of sentences: This book sucks. Es muy malo. The end.
In other words, it blows man.
The (F)ucking end.