Chain Reaction – Simone Elkeles

A third in the ‘Perfect Chemistry’ series, Chain Reaction is a YA novel that follows the story of Luis Fuentes and Nikki Cruz as they fall in love in Chicago.  The previous two books, Perfect Chemistry and Rules of Attraction, follow Luis’ older brothers Alex and Carlos as they deal with love and gang alliances as young adults.

Luis enters high school and meets Nikki, he knows she’s something he needs in his life. They are from different neighborhoods and have very different lives.  Nikki is from an affluent family with parents who care about appearances and reputations.  Luis is from the rougher side of town, both of his brothers were previously involved with gangs and push him to stay on the straight and narrow.  Luis knows something is going on with the gangs and he wants to have a chance to take them down once and for all to end their association with his family.  Nikki is drawn to Luis but is very hesitant because she fell in love and had a miscarriage with another guy who ended up joining the gang and neglecting her.

As the story builds, Luis is forced by the gang leader to be more and more involved.  One one hand, he knows this will get him closer to bringing them down, but on the other hand, he knows Nikki will have nothing to do with him if he’s a banger.

Okay, it’s mush, but admittedly, it was a fun read, as were the others in this series.  I liked how the novels are set in alternating chapters as both main characters tell their side of the story.  It has the love for the girls and gangs for the boys so even though it’s a love story, I have male students that enjoy reading these books.

Rating:******* 7/10

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