Tuesday, June 12, 2012

E-Reading: Book Review of #2 Rules of Attraction by Simone Elkeles

Name of Book: Rules of Attraction

Author: Simone Elkeles

ISBN: 978-0-8027-2230-0

Publisher: Walker Publishing Company

Part of a Series: Perfect Chemistry Trilogy

Type of book: rebel, perfect family, Mexican male/white female, gangs, interracial romance, sacrifices

Year it was published: 2010

Summary:

When Carlos Fuentes returns to America after living in Mexico for the past year, he doesn't want any part of the life his older brother, Alex, has laid out for him in Colorado. When he meets Kiara Westford, a good girl totally unlike any of the girls he's usually drawn to, Carlos assumes Kiara thinks she's too good for him. But will he put his pride aside when he realizes that being with Kiara might finally allow him to be his true self?

Characters:

In theory Kiara and Carlos should have been perfect for each other, but unfortunately I felt that Carlos's character was very undeveloped. Yes, he was extremely similar to Alex as in being a rebel, part of a gang, as well as loyalty, but I wanted to see more of the Mexican culture in the book; that is something beyond stereotypical as well as gang related. (Carlos mentioned few times that he will refuse to be Americanized and hated how Alex became that way.) Perhaps more about the food or parties that Carlos celebrates with his family? It would have been interesting bonding over that, especially when Carlos would correct Kiara's misconceptions about it. The culture feels very superficial. I also would be interested in more of development of Tuck's character. (Kiara's gay best friend,) or the group that Carlos was forced to participate in.

Theme:

I honestly have no idea what the theme should have been. There are options in life perhaps?

Plot:

This is written in first person narrative from both Carlos' and Kiara's chapters. I felt that Carlos' change didn't ring truly and somehow the message felt disturbing: somehow I felt the whole "white savior" complex within the plot and story. Basically Kiara's family saves Carlos from trouble, which caused him to change ways. I think Carlos had a potential to be a far more interesting and fascinating character than his brother, but I felt that the author didn't give him a chance to develop that complexity. This novel will have sexual situations and foreplay descriptions, but no actual description of intercourse. The change also felt unnatural for me, and I would have wanted to see more of the Mexican culture that Carlos is proud of.

Author Information:

(from simoneelkeles.net site)
Simone Elkeles is the NY Times & USA Today bestselling author of over seven teen romance novels. She has won various awards and recognition for her books, including the coveted RITA award from the Romance Writers of America for her book Perfect Chemistry and being named Author of the Year by the Illinois Association of Teachers of English. She was born and raised in the suburbs of Chicago. Her funny way of looking at life and the world around her has an effect on the people she hangs out with. If you hear people laughing, you’ll probably find Simone not far away.

Simone has seven teen books in bookstores:

Perfect Chemistry
Rules of Attraction *** New York Times and USA Today Bestseller***
Chain Reaction coming Spring 2011

Leaving Paradise
Return to Paradise *** New York Times Bestseller****

How to Ruin a Summer Vacation
How to Ruin my Teenage Life
How to Ruin Your Boyfriend’s Reputation

Simone has also been voted the Illinois Author of the Year by the Illinois Association of Teachers of English.

Simone went to the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign and received her Bachelor’s of Science there in Psychology in 1992. She continued her education at Loyola University-Chicago where she received her Master’s of Science degree in Industrial Relations while working for a manufacturing company creating diversity programs for their employees.

She loves animals (she has two dogs – a labradoodle and a German Shepherd), kids (she also has two of those) and her family. In her spare time she’s the Hockey Mom for her kids hockey teams and is an active Girl Scout leader specially trained in outdoor education. She also spends time mentoring other teen and adult authors. (she also loves sushi, which you can probably tell by reading her books).

Simone writes about teens because she was a teen in the 80’s (when spiked hair and blue eye shadow were “rad”) and she loves writing about those exciting teen relationships and romances.
Simone does inspirational talks at schools, libraries, and conferences. If you are interested in booking Simone for a speaking engagement, please contact her assistant Melissa at melissa@simoneelkeles.net.

Opinion:

Is it possible for an author to make the theme of bad boy falling in love with a good girl work again in a new novel with brand new characters? Unfortunately in this novel, not the case. I felt that the personality of Carlos, while intriguing, wasn't explained or explored properly. With Alex it was explained why he joined the gang or why he was the way he was. (Not mention I found it cute when he began to fall for Brittany.) But with Carlos no explanation existed. The novel also struck me as peculiar, and there barely seemed any fights or arguments between Kiara and Carlos. At least Brittany and Alex guaranteed arguments and delightful scenarios. While the book is well-written, it didn't grab or hold me as Perfect Chemistry had. For me personally the novel was predictable and hard to believe.

3 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)

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