Chain Reaction by Simone Elkeles
Publication Date: August 16th 2011
Publisher: Walker Books for Young Readers
Hardcover, 308 pages
Order via Book Depository
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 southsider is Luis’s 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’s family, the youngest Fuentes finds himself questioning everything he’s ever believed to be true. Will his feelings for Nikki be enough to stop Luis from entering a dark and violent world and permanently living on the edge?
I can't believe what I'm about to say,but I didn't quite enjoy Chain Reaction as much as I expected to...I mean, I was ecstatic as soon as I got this book in my hands and thrilled to be able to read it at last...Now I read it,I'm afraid that Chain Reaction is nothing like what I imagined and all in all,a book I won't really remember for that long.
First of all,the story was more or less the same once more.That,I expected,despite what I heard that this time around,a Fuentes boy would be the good one and his girl the more rebellious nature.I expected that much,cause hey,we're talking about a Fuentes here...!But what threw me off track was that Luis did,from the very beggining of the story,introduce himself as nothing like his brothers,more controlled sort of,only to forget every single good thing he did as soon as he set foot on his old home town.It's like Fairfield brings out the worst in all Fuentes!
So,where's the need for them to move back,where everything seems to be standing in a balance ready to shatter?
I know why!So as for Luis to have a reason to go all gangbanger!
I mean, come on, why on earth would all Fuentes boys return to their hometown,where everything seem to stand on an easy truce and risk everything?I couldn't see the need and the fact that Luis only behaved as his brothers,who at least had some excuses or the need to do so,just threw me off completely.
Nikki on the other hand was a nice enough character I suppose,only I couldn't sympathise to her no matter what,and her cynicism,especially at the beggining didn't help matters.I got what she was going through,but still,I don't know I was a bit detached to her as a character and her personal story.
And now on to the romantic part of the story,which again,failed to grasp my interest miserably.I didn't care about their romance,whether they two ended up together or not,I just kept on reading in a sort of detached way,not really caring about what happened to both of them,and that is what astonished me more in Chain Reaction.
I mean,Simone Elkeles is a gifted writer,she knows how to create multi dimensional characters,that are able to take the reader along with their journey,but in this case,no matter how good her characters were,they just failed to take me with them...
I don't know if I should solely put the blame on having read the same story more or less previously...That didn't bother me with Rules of Attraction not one tiny bit...
All in all,Chain Reaction isn't a bad book,not even by a long shot...It's beautifully written,with well built characters and a story that flows easily,it just lacks the magic the previous two books in the series possess.That doesn't make a book bad,just not as good and magical as the others.