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Thursday, April 12, 2012

Review: Chain Reaction by Simone Elkeles (Audio)

Posted by Irish in Review3 Comments

Publisher: Brilliance Audio (Audio);  Walker Books for Young Readers (Print)
Source: Publisher
Publication Date: 15 Jan 2012  (Audio);  16 Aug 2011 (Print)
Series or Standalone: Series
ISBN:  (Audio), 0802720870 (Print)
Format: Audio
Audio Length: 7 discs (~8 hrs)
The Author on the Web:
Simone Elkeles – Blog
Place(s) Traveled to: Boulder, Colorado // Fairfield, Illinois

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Perfect Chemistry  Series Order

Book 3 – Chain Reaction
First Line: Being the youngest of three boys definitely has its advantages.

 After reading the first two books in Simone Elkeles’s Perfect Chemistry series I was curious to see how she would handle the story of Louis, the youngest of the Fuestes brothers. Louis’s upbringing was very different from his older brothers and he was really kept out of all the gang stuff so I was kinda looking forward to a story without that storyline. I thought it would be something different from the two stories that came before and breath some life into this series. However, this hope was to end in disappointment. 
Shortly after the book starts the Fuestes family moves back to Fairfield, Illionis ( the setting of Perfect Chemistry) and its still filled with gangs and most of Louis’s childhood friends are part of one. So it should come as no surprise that this good kid who was mostly raised in Colorado was soon initiated into a gang and starts doing dangerous things that jeopardize his relationship with Nikki, his freedom and even his life. *insert heavy sigh here* At this point in the series the gang storyline stopped being something dangerous and suspenseful and an obstacle to overcome. But instead its this cliche and I just never fully understood why Louis felt the need to become a part of it. His motivations just seemed so….false.
Even Nikki was a bit of a cliche and I found it hard to relate to her. She had one bad relationship experience and she uses that to turn into a royal witch….but she meets Louis changes her mind and then when he starts up with the gang turns into a bit of a shrew. She fluctuated from one extreme to another that it was really hard to put my finger on who she really was. I also felt that the whole relationship between Louis and Nikki was too fast and just never felt real. 
And lets not even get me started on the train wreck that was the epilogue. Once again Elkeles tries to tie everything up in this super neat and tidy bow and just kills what little of the story that I was enjoying. I seriously doubt that in three very different stories that all these characters would grow up, leave high school and then marry their high school sweetheart. One brother I could see….but all of them? That just isn’t the norm for high school relationships in this day and age. Heck…its becoming more and more rare that an adult relationship lasts more than a couple of years. So the epilogue just left me making heavy sighs. The only part that I liked about it was seeing my last name in print. Its not a super common one so it was cool to see it used.
But other than that, I am glad that this series is over as I’m not sure I could take another story with a gang story line as it was just getting so forced. I haven’t read Elkeles other books but after reading these I’m not entirely sure that I want to. Have you read them? Are they worth the time?
About the narrators:
I think that the only thing that kept my interest in this story was the narrators. They were engaging and felt right for the two main characters. There were times when they each had trouble with doing voices of the opposite sex but as that can be difficult it was easy to overlook. These are both narrators that I would listen to again.

3 Responses to “Review: Chain Reaction by Simone Elkeles (Audio)”

  1. Sarah

    You know, I’ve never actually read any of Elkeles other books. I want to read the series where the main character travels to Israel (I believe) for the summer but just haven’t gotten around to it.

  2. Tasha B.

    Totally agree. The motivations of all the characters were totally lacking (moving your youngest son back to the ghetto, really?! Someone’s not winning Mother of the Year) and I hated the heroine. I’m just happy this series is finally over so we can all move on with our lives.

  3. Liyana

    Aw, I’ve heard rave reviews about this series. This is the first I’ve heard of anything negative about it. I’ll try the first book to see if it’s the brother who’s most likely to have a long term relationship with his girlfriend, and how the author does it.