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Monday, 24 May 2010

Review: Rules of Attraction

Author: Simone Elkeles
Release date: US April 2010
Genre: Romance, Teen Romance, YA
Target audience: 13+

Summary from Goodreads:
When Carlos Fuentes returns to America after living in Mexico for a year, he doesn’t want any part of the life his older brother, Alex, has laid out for him at a high school in Colorado . Carlos likes living his life on the edge and wants to carve his own path—just like Alex did. Then he meets Kiara Westford. She doesn’t talk much and is completely intimidated by Carlos’ wild ways. As they get to know one another, Carlos assumes Kiara thinks she’s too good for him, and refuses to admit that she might be getting to him. But he soon realizes that being himself is exactly what Kiara needs right now.

Review:
Rules of Attraction sees us in Colorado. Alex is at college, working part-time at a mechanics garage and of course still very much in love with Brittany. But this book is not centred around Alex. It is all about Carlos. He arrives in Colorado to stay with Alex after getting into trouble with a Mexican gang. Carlos has convinced himself that his only possible future involves gang life. He has a huge Fuentes ego and an attitude to match it. Is he as badass as Alex? It's hard to say. We know that he has been involved in drugs and if he makes one more error will find himself in juvenile detention. The beginning of the story sees Alex and Carlos at loggerheads. Alex wants to stop Carlos from repeating his mistakes. Carlos thinks those mistakes are inevitable and that everyone else expects them of him. The question is can he learn from them?

Kiara is very down to earth character and quite a tomboy. She is a model student but has to work hard for her marks. She enjoys the outdoor life and happens to love working on her car. But most importantly she has a very competitive nature. She knows Alex because he helps her out with getting parts for her car and fixing it up. Kiara volunteers to help Carlos settle in when he starts at her school. Carlos does not appreciate having a baby-sitter who has been organised for him by his brother. From their first day together, Carlos and Kiara start a game of one-upmanship. Neither wants to lose face and so the challenges get increasingly interesting as the weeks go by.

Of course there is a natural chemistry between them. Carlos is truly a Mexican heart-throb and Kiara is the picture of innocence and unmanufactured beauty. She doesn't fall for any of Carlos's tough guy attitude and his wise guy remarks. Kiara has a stutter which saps her self-confidence. It is something that she is working on. I love that Kiara is a do-er. She doesn't wait around to be trampled on.

Through the dual narrative we get to see the vulnerable side of Carlos. He is very aware of why he doesn't want to get close to people. He also resents that fact that he was forced to leave Chicago and Destiny and return to Mexico. In his past Destiny was the only thing preventing him from taking those steps to get sworn in to a gang. Back in Mexico there is nothing to stop him following that path. He felt a responsibility to protect his family. When he arrives in Colorado complete with gang tattoos, his life is again dictated by his older brother. Carlos does not do rules or listening to authority figures. 

Carlos and Kiara can't resist the attraction between them. They come together despite the reasons they both think they should be apart. There is a sweet tenderness to their relationship when they both let their guard down but I certainly thought the sparks didn't ignite as much as they did between Alex and Brittany. In the end it was still a great romantic story. The obstacles they face are more internal than external. Carlos has to get over his prejudices and misconceptions about white Americans. Kiara has to develop her self-confidence and conquer her own body-image. I did love this story. There were many moments when I squealed! There were moments when I thought my eye-balls would pop out. Carlos has a very hmmm... interesting way of describing certain parts of his manhood. Overall, for me it didn't quite reach the Perfect Chemistry benchmark but it was still completely engrossing, very racy and ultimately heart-warming. Read it!

17 comments:

So Many Books, So Little Time said...

I'm going to get my hands on a copy of this even if it kills me! PC set pretty high standards so I'm not completley surprised it didn't reach them. Glad it was still amazing though!

Darlyn said...

I dont even read the first book Perfect Chemistry but been wanting to read that.This one really makes me more eager to read Simone Elkeles.Nice review Becky!

Kay (Dead Book Darling) said...

I am glad you enjoyed it, even if not as much as Perfect Chemistry! I am actually looking forward to this one alot more - Kiara just seems like a great character.

Great review, as always!

Luisa at Chicklish said...

I've been dying to hear what you thought of this, after your love of Perfect Chemistry! Thanks for a really interesting review. I love romance novels and I definitely want to read this!

Clover said...

I've heard a few people now say that it wasn't quite as good as Perfect Chemistry, and that's a shame. But I will still do my best to find a copy of this so I can read it too :)

Robby said...

Perfect Chemistry and I are going to be great friends. This book can come along as well. Your reviews have convinced me. :D

prophecygirl said...

Even though it didn't beat PC for you, I'm still really glad you enjoyed it and it didn't disappoint. Yay!

Lori said...

I loved this book but I agree, I didn't love it as much as Perfect Chemistry. Great review!

Christina/Book Addict said...

I'm so glad you enjoyed this book! I can't wait to read this one- your review has peaked my interested. For you, I don't think anything could be better than PC, but at least it was still good. :)

brizmus said...

Well, with how much you LOVED Perfect Chemistry, could we really expect it to reach that benchmark? I'm glad you loved it, even if it wasn't as absolutely fabulous as the first one!

I Want To Read That said...

OMG I so need to read this! Glad it you enjoyed it:)

Juju at Tales of Whimsy.com said...

Yah! You liked it! I was rooting for you and this book :) I know how much you loved book one.

StephTheBookworm said...

I'm looking forward to reading it. I loved the first one.

Lauren said...

This is a fascinating review! I've been wondering what you'd say about this one, since you liked Perfect Chemistry so much and there's always the risk that if the next book is too similar, it doesn't feel original, but if it's too different it doesn't have all those things you loved... Am I over-thinking it? In any case it sounds like you enjoyed this one, and the characters sound like an unusual pairing, so it's all good.

Sasha said...

Dying to read this one. I have heard it's a little steamy. Perfect Chemistry is one of the best books I've ever read so I'm worried this won't live up to my expectations but I'm still excited. Loved your review :)

Shweta said...

So glad it held it's own inspite of such a feirce compettion for your affection because of Perfect Chemistry.:) I think I get this one too..

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