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Review: Chain Reaction (Simone Elkeles)

Title: Chain Reaction
Author: Simone Elkeles
Genre: YA Romance Fiction
Pages: 308
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Challenges: PoC
FTC Disclosure: I borrowed this book from my school library
Summary (from the back of the book): Luis Fuentes has always been sheltered from the gang violence that nearly destroyed his brothers' lives. But that didn't stop him from taking risks--whether he's scaling a mountain in the Rockies or dreaming of a future as an astronaut, Luis can't stop looking for the next thrill. Nikki Cruz lives her life by three rules--boys lie to get their way, don't  trust a boy who says "I love you," and never date a boy from the south side of Fairfield. Her parents may be from Mexico, but as a doctor's daughter, she has more in common with her north-side neighbors than the Latino Blood at her school. Then she meets Luis at Alex's wedding, and suddenly, she's tempted to break all her rules.

Getting Nikki to take a chance on a south sider is Luis' biggest challenge, until he finds himself targeted by Chuy Soto, the new head of the Latino Blood. When Chuy reveals a disturbing secret about Luis' family, the youngest Fuentes finds himself questioning everything he's ever believed to be true.

Review: I loved the first two books in this series and this third (and final?) installment did not disappoint! I was afraid it would be a rehash of old issues (Mexican boy, white girl, he's not as bad as he seems, etc) but Elkeles manages to make each book in this series connected to the previous books while bringing out new material.

The story is told alternately from two viewpoints: Luis Fuentes and Nikki Cruz. Luis is eighteen, smart (he wants to be an astronaut) and has great ambition, but he also loves an adrenaline rush. This need for adrenaline is what fuels him to make the choices he does and they are usually not the wisest choices. Nikki is also smart, but is attracted to "bad boys". What is it about females who need to be with the bad boy?!

I did like the flow of the story, it was tender, tense, and believable. Student readers will relate to detention, school work, teen dating, and some to gang life. It definitely wraps up neatly in the end, but an epilogue leaves open the possibility of more books following the future generations of Fuentes boys. I have enjoyed the entire trilogy including Perfect Chemistry and Rules of Attraction.

Geography Connection

Click to see my updated Google Map. This third book takes place in an area just outside Chicago, Illinois near Lake Michigan.

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