Rules of Attraction by Simone Elkeles

When Carlos Fuentes returns to America after living in Mexico for a year, he doesn’t want any part of the life his older brother, Alex, has laid out for him at a high school in Colorado . Carlos likes living his life on the edge and wants to carve his own path—just like Alex did. Then he meets Kiara Westford. She doesn’t talk much and is completely intimidated by Carlos’ wild ways. As they get to know one another, Carlos assumes Kiara thinks she’s too good for him, and refuses to admit that she might be getting to him. But he soon realizes that being himself is exactly what Kiara needs right now.

Perfect Chemistry was one of my favourite novels last year. I really loved it so I was thrilled Simone Elkeles was continuing the series with Alex Fuentes’s younger brothers, Carlos and Luis. Rules of Attraction is the second novel with Chain Reaction being the third. Rules of Attraction wasn’t as good as Perfect Chemistry, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. It’s fairly similar to Perfect Chemistry – two people who are complete opposites find they might actually be attracted to each other despite their differences. Then come the difficulties which will put the couple to the test and to see if they can get past it all.

Carlos Fuentes is the middle Fuentes brother, 17 and can’t believe he’s being dragged back to America after a couple of years in his native Mexico with his family. When he goes to his new school in Colorado, Kiara Westford is his peer guide, but the two are like rubber and glue, constantly playing pranks on each other and driving each other crazy. I thought the rapport between Carlos and Kiara took a little while to really dig in – it wasn’t as fluent as that of Alex and Brittany in Perfect Chemistry, but it did eventually become a novel I found hard to put down. Carlos was the ultimate bad boy, though I’m still not entirely sure he beat Alex out, because well, Alex was the original bad boy… I did warm to Kiara really quickly, though, I loved her stutter and her being a bit of a geek and a loner. The banter between her and Carlos eventually gets going and I loved their interactions.

Gangs are again prevalent in the novel, though not as much in Perfect Chemistry, the gang stuff mainly occurs during the last quarter of the novel. Elkeles must have, again, done a lot of research into getting it all correct and I like that her novels are a bit different to most books on the market as not many novels have gangs in them. I think Elkeles has really found a bit of a niche with her novels and I’m looking forward to seeing if Chain Reaction also features gangs and things like that.

Rules of Attraction wasn’t perfect but it was an incredibly quick read. I eventually got so into it that I could barely put it down. I didn’t love it quite as much as I loved Perfect Chemistry, but it was still a fantastic read. I loved Carlos and Kiara and despite Carlos’s tendencies to be a bit too OTT with the bad-boyishness, I did eventually like seeing his softer side at certain turns. I loved how the whole Westford family took Carlos in and let Carlos into their family without a second thought. I loved seeing Alex and Brittany again, too, I loved their story and it’s always nice to catch up with past characters. I can’t wait to finish the “Perfect Chemistry” trilogy and see what happens in Luis’s story.

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