Ruby's Reviews > Rules of Attraction

Rules of Attraction by Simone Elkeles
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's review
Apr 03, 11

it was amazing
bookshelves: suspense, teen
Read from March 27 to April 03, 2011

This review was first published on http:/

The description of this book is kind of misleading, especially as regards Kiara's personality. She is certainly not intimidated by Carlos, and at no time does Carlos think that Kiara thinks she's too good for him. In fact, Carlos begins the novel thinking that Kiara--with her shapeless clothing--isn't his type. Also, it's not that Carlos is determined to carve out a life for himself, it's that he's as trapped by gang culture as Alex was before him. Carlos is also determined not to get close to anyone. He's derisive of Alex and Brittany's relationship and pushes people away any which way he can. He even has a hard time accepting help from his brother.
You wouldn't think it would be possible, but I loved this book more than I loved Perfect Chemistry. Carlos easily escapes the fate of middle siblings everywhere. I liked Alex--but I looove Carlos. He's got the kind of snarky sense of humor that I love in a guy. He's pretty and makes jokes about it--I love it when guys do that. Sure, Carlos has emotional baggage (he's a Fuentes), but that's just part of his appeal. His romantic counterpart, Kiara, I definitely liked better than Brittany. She's not popular or perfect. She's outdoorsy and athletic and has a good relationship with her parents. But though she's interested in certain "unfeminine" things (fixing cars, rock climbing), she's also self-aware enough to want the things most girls want: a boyfriend, and a date to the Homecoming dance.
When someone frames Carlos by putting some pot in his locker on search day, he finds himself living with Kiara's family. It's entirely different from anything he's ever known. It's normal--and Carlos doesn't know normal. Despite himself, though, he meshes with Kiara's family. This was the most touching part of the story for me. I loved the moments Carlos spent with Kiara's little brother. And Carlos' internal reflections on her father were both funny and heart-wrenching. This isn't just a book about Carlos finding love with Kiara--it's about him finding a family. You'd think that odd given the fact that he has two brothers and a mother, but it's not.
Simone Elkeles has a gift for creating teen romances that feel as though they're going to last. Most of the time, when I read a teen book, I assume the happily ever after has a shelf-life that's longer than most high school relationships, but I don't generally picture the couple at the alter. They're so young! But I buy it with Alex and Brittany and Carlos and Kiara. I buy it for Alex and Brittany because they're each others' support system, each others' family. And I buy Kiara and Carlos because Carlos becomes part of her entire family before the two even become a couple. That said, I could still do without the epilogues. I don't need 'em.
Now that I'm finished with Rules of Attraction, I'm looking forward to Chain Reaction, though my anticipation isn't what it might be. I love that Carlos and Alex were bad boys, and it makes me less interested in Luis to learn that he's not. I will read it, however, simply because I know it means reconnecting with Alex, Brittany, Kiara and Carlos. In the meantime, I'd love some recommendations for some YA romance. Hook me up, guys!

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