Jo's Reviews > Chain Reaction

Chain Reaction by Simone Elkeles
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's review
May 21, 2012

it was ok
bookshelves: 2012, own, e, ya, oh-come-on
Read in May, 2012

Warning: If you are a fan of this book you may want to avert your eyes. I like to think that I am open minded. I read the first book and…. eh, it was ok. I read this second book and I liked it more than I am willing to admit.

This book?

With my warning in mind, let’s proceed……
“Her words slam into my libido like a bucket of water on a flame full of testosterone. I think my dick just twitched in protest.”

That above quote pretty much sums up this book.
Mate, what does that even mean? A flame full of testosterone? What is his dick twitching in protest to? Being hit with a bucket of water? I just…. I just don’t know.
This book….

This book…

This book slammed into my intelligence like a bucket of water on a flame full of intellect. I think my eye just twitched in process.

I know I shouldn’t complain but I mean come on… I am a complete advocate for reading books that should technically be classed as ‘guilty pleasures’ even if I don’t believe in them. (If something brings you pleasure, why should you feel guilty?)
This book did not bring me pleasure, not matter how much this Fuentes brother tried.

Let’s talk about the characters.
Luis Fuentes- come on dowwwwwn.

Mate, I don’t like you. Seriously, I have a lot of tolerance when it comes to the Fuentes brothers. HEY, I have boobs, it’s in my nature. Right? RIGHT? All the girls love the Fuentes. ALL OF THEM. With your washboard abs and your violence and your sexually aggressive tendencies.
But you, mi chava, you were so dull and infuriating at the same time. It was like the boring/dull/horrendous parts of Carlos and Alex had been smushed together and we’d been given you. Gah.
"I don't know if it's a good idea to get involved with me right now."

The only time I want a YA boy to say that- is if he is actually a {insert supernatural creature here} who will EAT his lady love. Not an adrenaline junkie gang bangin’ poet who can’t keep his la tengo duro to himself.

Speaking of lady loves…

Nikki- come on dooooowwwwn.
I wanted to like you, really I did. I relate to you so much. I know exactly what’s it like to be broken up with because I’m not Mexican enough. It’s awful, isn’t it? It’s happened to me so many times I’ve lost count. You’d think it wouldn’t bother me now but you’re wrong. It’s rough, yeah?
You taught me a lot though, darling Nikki, because now I know as long as I have a bicep to cling onto, I’ll be reet and I’ll be able to face the world with my head held high and…. what not.

Also, was it just me or did the italicised Español get ridiculous? I have no idea what half of this book said. Oh and every time someone says ‘andale’ to me, I get this song in my head.

This book made no sense. The characters and story lines were just flung together in the way I imagine the ingredients would be if I were to ever make enchiladas.
I have so many questions.

Why was Luis in a gang?
Why did Nikki hate boys so much and then kiss them in pool houses?
Or… OK, fair enough…. A bit of a distrust but why did she think that Luis was going to be the same as Marco? Not every Mexican boy is the sa-

Wait…. Just got a call from Latino Boys In YA Official Group of Gangbanging and Officialness and I’ve been informed that yes, every Mexican boy is the same as Marco and they are all affiliated with a gang and they all take drugs and gangbang each other (did I use that right?) and shoot people and fall for rich girls who they see as a ‘challenge’.

I have more questions but I get too angry to ask them.

In a sentence- I wanted this book to be about a shy Latino boy with two badass gangbangin’ brothers who meets a sassy Mexican gal who is all sassy and…. um.. sassy.

In a paragraph- I wanted this book to be about a shy Latino boy with two badass gangbangin’ brothers who meets a sassy Mexican gal who is all sassy and….um…. sassy. I would love to have seen Nikki completely sass him (is that a thing?) and have had a Fuentes brother who didn’t know what to do with a full-blooded mamacita. Instead I got a book with two unlikeable characters that I didn’t understand, a completely unfeasible plot (tell me again why Luis is in a gang?), angst thrown in for no apparent reason (HEY MARCO!) and scabby dogs. Oh and character assassinations of people that I loved. Carlos… crying? You’re having a giraffe, right?

I have no more words so I’m going to post random snippets of the commentary my fellow readalongers and I created. They aren’t in any order and they don’t make sense… kind of like this book.

I’m keeping this bit anonymous so we can play a game of Pin the Snark on the Reviewer. Out of Reynje, Flann, Trin and I.... Who said what?


I would vomit on someone if they proposed to me like that.
She sounds like she lets her PANTIES drop for any Mexican around
If I was Kiara, I would kick Carlos in the face while he’s down on one knee.
I’m just skimming for biceps now.
This hey, hey business is the worst EVERYTHING IS THE WORST!
**** this ****ing book.
Because all gangbangers are awesome at sex and not one of them ever was not anything less than a facepunch of sex-awesome, according to Elkeles.
I couldn't stop laughing thinking about driving over there and just picking up a Mexican guy for sex.
I always think of other boys when I'm in bed with a gangbanger.
I just can’t stop straddling things. It’s a real problem.
WHEN HE LOOKS AT ME I ALMOST BREATH! This is so tense you guys!
I hate it when my boyfriend's beautiful mesmerising eyes pierce my soul.
If someone got gangbanged, I'd think they were in a porn video rather than in the hood. The way the Elkmeister uses it is such a secondary meaning for everyone. And it makes me chuckle every.damn.time..
May the gangbangers ever be in your favour.

As much as this review is full of snark and negativity, I want to reiterate something: I finished this book. Yep, I finished this book. Thus the power of Ms Elkeles, she will always get the last laugh.
And it seems I am, and always will be, a sucker for gangbangers.

That sounds so wrong to my fragile English brain I can’t even deal with it.

You can read this review and lots of other exciting things on my blog, Wear the Old Coat.
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Reading Progress

10.0% ""Whoa. Chica with an attitude in the house." || Going to start slipping fivers to strangers to say that when I enter a room. God I've missed Elkeles." 8 comments
12.0% ""Chemistry doesn't miraculously turn bad boys into good ones." || Mate, am I glad that I decided to do an English degree. Close call. I could have done chemistry and then I'd have been snookered." 18 comments
42.0% "So many breath hitches..."
62.0% "I hate it when I'm supposed to be focussing on my school work and all I want to do is sit on my boyfriend's lap. It's the worst." 5 comments
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Comments (showing 1-28 of 28) (28 new)

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*shakes maracas enthusiastically and generally flails around in excitement*

Dominika Fuentes Friday? That sounds... AWESOME.

Aly (Fantasy4eva) ahh i'm looking forward to this :D

message 4: by Jo (new) - rated it 2 stars

Jo Don't encourage me, Aly! :-p

Aly (Fantasy4eva) LOL. *sneakily rubs hands with glee*

*cough* i mean, be positive JO.SO MUCH POSITIVITY TO BE HAD!

like the sexytimes, yes? :D

Reynje I was BORN ready for this review :)

message 8: by Tatiana (new)

Tatiana “Her words slam into my libido like a bucket of water on a flame full of testosterone. I think my dick just twitched in protest.”

Hm, has Elkeles been taking writing tips from Tahereh Mafi (aka Ms. Cardboard Cutout of Vanilla Regurgitations)?

Amy (Turn the Page) Yep. This book is terrible.


I wanted a cute shy Luis too, Jo :(

*console hugs*

Ariana This book slammed into my intelligence like a bucket of water on a flame full of intellect. I think my eye just twitched in process.

=))) =))) =))) =))) =))) =))) =))) =))) =)))
oh my, you are so damn funny. I love your reviews.
BTW, (view spoiler)

message 11: by Jo (new) - rated it 2 stars

Jo Haha, Ari, thank you so much! I thought 'mi chava' meant like 'my love' or some kind of term of endearment? What does it translate as?

See what I mean? Most of the italicised Spanish went way over my head.
I'm obviously not clever enough for this book. o.O

Ariana It means 'my girl'.
But you can still call him that because he was quite girlish in my opinion (see the quote from up, up, up there) :)))

Ariana And oh... Spanish sounds sexier when you don't know what it really means, so it's OK if you didn't get most of the things they said :)))

message 14: by Jo (new) - rated it 2 stars

Jo Well, I had no idea. You really do learn something every day!
And yeah, Luis is definitely the girliest of the Fuentes boys.
Haha, I do actually like the Spanish language (I agree, it's very sexy!) but reading this book felt like I was reading a dirty Spanish dictionary. ;)

Alyssa This book ruined every fond memory I had of the Fuentes brothers. (Didja notice how untolerably mushy Alex and Carlos became??)

Jenna Jo! This is the best review ever. You're right, the plot made NO sense! I wanted it to be different dynamics to the first two as well and I read somewhere that originally Nikki was supposed to be the gang membr but Elkeles rewrote it at the last minute. Lame!

Amy (Turn the Page) ^ why I wonder? It certainly does read hastily put together with no plot and poor characters. Such a shame, really.

Natalie (Natflix&Books) While I would never wish bad books on you, I love reading the reviews of the books you didn't like. Very funny. But here's hoping the next one is much better.

Reynje You review slams into my heart like a bucket of awesome on a flame full of radness. I think my eye just winked in lust.

message 20: by Sinead (new)

Sinead LOL!!! That was the funniest review I had ever read:D I'm not quite sure you meant it to be as funny as I found it to be, but I couldn't help my self:) I don't really know anything about the story (being as I never read any of the books in the series), but I figured I'd let you know that your review was entertaining none the less lol:)

message 21: by Izzy (new)

Izzy Ha, totally just read the first chunk before it says "...more" and I need to tell you you're incredible.

message 22: by Jo (new) - rated it 2 stars

Jo Haha, Izzy! Thank you so much. :) I'm glad you enjoyed it!

message 23: by Laura (last edited Jun 02, 2012 07:45PM) (new) - added it

Laura LOL! Ah, Jo—I don’t think I’ve had a chance to say it lately—but man o man—I love your reviews! I lol’ed several times with this one! I was planning on reading this one soon—haha…isn’t everyone a sucker for a gangbanger!?! ;)

Navdha You summed it up for everyone perfectly!
Oh and the random commentary was amazeballs!

message 25: by Jo (new) - rated it 2 stars

Jo Haha, thanks Navdha. Have you read this one?

Navdha Just finished it.
After taking a well-needed break from it..

Luis and Nikki change personalities like a chameleon changes colors. Or maybe even faster. Elkeles tried so hard with Luis that she terribly failed. It's kinda tragic. And boring.

message 27: by Shanzehassan (new) - added it

Shanzehassan Wait, who dies?!

Brandy I loved this book. I didn't think these things about the book and I didn't agree with most of what you said but that's honest opinion. But I am goning to recomend a book to you I think you might like I haven't finished it yet but I think you'll like it

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