This is the Perfect Chemistry trilogy conclusion and should absolutely be read in order. This review assumes that you have read Perfect Chemistry (Book 1) and Rules of Attraction (Book 2).
Perfect Chemistry blew me away, so much so that I was not pleased to find out it was becoming a trilogy. How could Elkeles top that? Just leave my perfect book alone!....But I was mistaken. In the same way that Suzanne Collins’ Catching Fire topped The Hunger Games, Rules of Attraction did just that. It’s no surprise that at one point last year, The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, and Rules of Attraction held the TOP 3 spots on the New York Times bestseller list for YA. Yes, this series is awesomesauce :)
But sadly....just like the Mockingjay trilogy conclusion, this final installment fell a little short for me. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed it, but I had some moments where I was furious (see below). And that’s a first for me where this series is concerned. Hence the 4 stars.
Luis Fuentes is just as cocky and gorgeous as his brothers, though not as funny as Carlos. He’s still the smartest and youngest Fuentes brother, a straight A student with his sights set on obtaining an aeronautics engineering degree from Purdue University and becoming an astronaut. The story begins with a younger, 15 year old Luis, getting lots of attention from the girls and being a daredevil. Then he attends Alex and Brittany’s wedding *yay!!*, which was just as juicy and entertaining as a telenovela. There was drama and passion with our lovely pair from book 1, but this IS a romance series, so you can guess how that all turns out. It’s at this point that Luis first meets Latina beauty Nikki Cruz. (I think it’s great that at least one of the Fuentes brothers’ heroines is Latina). Nikki has just suffered major heartache courtesy of her 1st love, so she has a LOT of baggage in the area of trust. She’s very prickly, but Luis likes a challenge :) Unfortunately for Nikki, her personal issues take a deep, traumatic dive...and then we flash forward about 3 years.
After their brief but memorable encounter 3 years ago, Luis and Nikki are thrust back together as seniors attending Fairfield High School, in the outskirts of Chicago. Luis begins to wear down Nikki’s resistance, but it’s not easy, despite the fact that she’s been fantasizing about him naked for the last 3 years :) But the gang drama begins when Chuy Soto gets out of prison and puts the pressure on Luis join the Latino Blood.
In the middle of the budding romance and gang drama, we catch up with my favorite trilogy couple, Carlos and Kiara, several times. They had a little drama, too, but I loved how it ended. A little nitpick, but I thought Kiara only stutters when she’s nervous. I loved that she was stuttering in Rules of Attraction. She was so quirky and endearing, and her stutter just added to her layers. I did think it was odd that she stutters in nearly every
line she has in this book, although she’s not nervous in all of them.
My problem....why I occasionally SCREAMED at my book-->Luis’ handling of the situation with the Latino Blood. I’m sorry, but I could not see a straight A, top athlete senior, with his sights set on one of the toughest engineering disciples (aeronautics), and with an ultimate and realistic goal of becoming an astronaut...doing or saying the stupid stupid STUPID things this kid did. Luis may have had the above-average grades, but his brothers were killing him when it comes to street smarts. The risks he was taking...and the justifications for them? Maybe it’s my ignorance because I don’t live in a tough, gang-infested neighborhood near Chicago....but for whatEVER reason, I could not see such an ambitious young man doing the things Luis did.
An observation on sex in YA....something that happened in books 2 and 3 of this series. And also both of the romance books from another favorite YA author of mine (Jennifer Echols)....I don’t like that the “almost” sex scenes are really hot and pages pages long (these were VERY hot by the way!). But then the actual sex happens later in the story, and it’s so fast, you’ll almost miss it if you blink. My sister read this book at the same time as me and said she had to re-read the sex scene immediately, because she didn’t realize it had just happened. It was kind of vague. Look, I get that is is YA. I do NOT expect a Kresley Cole or Erin McCarthy sex scene up in a YA book. But if the makeout scenes are going to be super hot, is there some rule in YA publishing that the actual deed can’t be? If so, I don’t like it.
This is still one of my favorite YA series, and I did enjoy this read, but the characters fell a little short compared to Alex/Brittany and Carlos/Kiara, so this is the only installment that doesn’t get 5 stars.