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Can't Beat the Chemistry

4.09  ·  Rating details ·  137 ratings  ·  63 reviews
Ionic and covalent bonds are a piece of cake for MJ. But human bonds are a little harder ...

There are only two things MJ wants in her final year of high school:

1) Glowing grades and ...

2) to convince uber-smart, chiselled-jaw Jason they’d be a winning team outside the science lab as well as in.

Tutoring deadbeat drummer, Luke, isn’t part of the plan. After all, he has avera
Paperback, 274 pages
Published April 20th 2019 by Rhiza Press
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Average rating 4.09  · 
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 ·  137 ratings  ·  63 reviews

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Apr 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019, australia, ya
Seventeen year old MJ (Macca, Mackenzie Jane) Olsen-Wang is a bit of an overachiever. She is in her last year of school and is also taking some university courses to help her get into a top medical program. She is studious, organised, focused…and totally clueless as far as reading people and subtle social clues are concerned. She fancies Jason, a fellow brainiac and her project partner, but she doesn’t really know how to go about it apart from being super prepared on her science article notes.
Kelly (Diva Booknerd)
Apr 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: loveozya, rhiza-edge
Attraction is a science. Inexact maybe, but still a science.

She's assuming and judgemental, her factual and no nonsense approach to social situations is abrasive and often insulting. Mackenzie Olsen - Wang is revered for her intelligence and she's also just agreed to provide tutelage for Luke Bains, musician, prospective teacher and miserably failing introductory chemistry.

Luke is a gentle young man and despite being accused of being the stereotypical musician, Luke spends his free time caring f
Feb 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What a wonderful book! I love Kat Colmer's writing and storytelling. Her characters feel real, I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know MJ and Luke, and they were easy to root for - through all their silliness, angst, sadness, joy and pretty much all the feels. <3
In all probability, I may never listen to Unchained Melody again without getting a big, silly grin on my face...
Bonus points for Rosie - she's definitely one of my favorite characters, and she adds so much fun and heart to the story.
temi ★
Apr 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
It’s pre-med brains that turn me on, not drum belting bleeding hearts.

characters: 3/5
pacing: 3/4
actual substance of the story: 5/5
romance and/or significant friendships: 4/5
the writing: 2/4
creativity: 2/2

20/25 | 4 STARS

Lemme just say that I love the title. It defines the whole book.

Macca (or MJ, which is what everyone calls her) is study-driven student. Because her mom gave up her dream of being a doctor for the sake of her kids and MJ's brother Theo decided to be an artist, MJ is next in line
Mar 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I received an advance digital copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

What a book! I can't remember the last time I laughed so much because of a book. My thoughts are going wild right now, so I'll try my best to structure them a little bit.

"It's not that simple."
"Nothing worth doing ever is."

1. Things that I personally really love:
MJs parents are chinese and norwegian (😏) and surprinsigly her norwegian mother is the "evil" parent. Her viking ancestors are to blame.
There i
Rob De
Jan 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is a bit of the classic good girl bad boy romance but at least it is Australian and has a contemporary feel. MJ is a super high achiever who is focused on her (or her Mum's) ultimate dream of becoming a surgeon. She hesitantly agrees to tutor Luke her older brother's drummer friend in Chemistry so that he would tutor her friend Sandy at drumming. Sandy is much more interested in Luke than drumming!
MJ is sure that Luke is nothing more than a deadbeat drummer especially when he turns up late,
Mar 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I loved this. Mainly I loved MJ. She is serious and driven. How Luke draws her out of herself with his natural charm and goodness is lovely to witness. And the scene where Luke teaches her how to kiss manages to be ridiculous, credible, funny and very very romantic.

I whipped through it in 3 days.
Maryam Rz.
3.5 STARS! So precious, so cute, and so so refreshing. I loved it. RTC 💜

I received an ARC of this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks to the publisher, Rhiza Edge.
Vanessa ♛Queen Alchemy ϟ Novel Nerd Faction♛
3.5/5 StarsDisclaimer: This review MAY contain spoilers. I received an Advance Reader Copy at no cost from Netgalley. The opinions in my review are my own.

This is an opposites-attract story that touches on some important things. One major theme in this book is learning not to judge a book by its cover. Getting to know someone instead of making assumptions based on what you can see on the outside.

I liked seeing the Down Syndrome representation in Luke's sister, Rosie. She was such a great charac
Apr 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
If you are looking for a fun and lighthearted YA romance, then you’ll love Can’t Beat The Chemistry by Kat Colmer. Music, chemistry, hate-to-love romance and great character development, Can’t Beat The Chemistry has a winning combination of elements to produce a thoroughly enjoyable novel.

MJ is finishing her final year of high school while also taking two university courses. It’s all part of her mother’s plan for her to become a doctor. MJ would rather study genetics but after the falling out be
May 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019, netgalley
This was a super cute, fun read! MJ and Luke are totally different people and that's what makes them good together. They clash constantly, she's a type A personality who wants to control everything and he is more relaxed and goes for what he wants. MJ and Luke had great chemistry and I had a great time watching their relationship develop and them bring out the best in each other.
MJ is a bit hard to like at first. She can be condescending and made snap judgments about Luke, but she grows gets be
Kristi Housman Confessions of a YA Reader
I really like reading books from Australian authors and Kat Colmer is one of them.  I really enjoy her writing and characters.

MJ is a bit tough to like at first.  She's so smart and not very good with people, so she comes off as rude and arrogant.  We find out about the pressure MJ's mom puts on her and it makes it easier to understand her.  Everything in her life has been about grades and becoming a doctor.  She's never really had fun.  MJ is determined to get paired up with a cute boy she like
Siobhan Yilmaz
Feb 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
A great story on how never to judge!
MJ is a straight A student and has her head screwed on to become a doctor. Everything she does is to get good grades but she doesn't have any life experience. Luke, on the other hand, is a drummer boy who lives for the beat and due to reasons you'll have to find out yourself, is failing his chemistry. He needs help and his flatmate highly recommends his little sisters tuition. That happens to be MJ.
The two bond and find out the other is extremely different fro
Sep 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book is truly one of my favourite books. I've read this book 4 times and I'll happily read it again. I loved every bit of this book and I recommend it to everyone to read.
Thank you Kat Colmer for this beautiful book.
Zara ✨
Aug 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Very cute book about romance. Gave me butterflies, would like to read it again.
Katherine Paschal
Apr 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: contemp-romance, teen
Come see more bookish things are

MJ has had her whole life mapped out by her intense driven mother and deviating from the intensive plan is not an option. When her brother asks her to help tutor his roommate Luke in chemistry she has no time or interest to waste on him. But after promising her brother and best friend she would help him, she is stuck with the situation. Luke is desperate to prove that he can pass chemistry, even if it means excepting the help
May 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed, arc
Rating: 5/5
Queer: Very briefly mentions that one side character is gay (I would love a follow-up book about him falling in love)
ARC: Yes, I received an ARC for an honest review.
Summary: MJ might not always know what the right thing to say is, and she might be quick to judge people, so when she’s asked to tutor her brother’s friend and roommate, Luke, she’s hesitant. He strikes her as a deadbeat drummer with no aspirations and he disappears every weekend. But in time, MJ learns that she’s pegged
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Heidi Catherine
Jan 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
So many things to love about this book! It's sweet, it's funny, it's heartfelt and real. At first MJ and Luke seem like such an unlikely match, but by the end of the book we see just how perfect they really are. Really enjoyed this book and looking forward to more from this author! ...more
Debra Tidball
Jul 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I thoroughly enjoyed this delightful coming of age rom-com with hints of The Rosie Project and Pride and Prejudice. The characters are fresh and dynamic, multifaceted and with depth. It was a joy to witness the 'chemistry' between MJ and Luke (who share the narration) not in a cliched, romantic way, but rather how they act on each other to make each other better versions of themselves. A refreshing, easy to read YA novel that I didn't want to end. ...more
First of all a huge thank you to Emily Lighezzolo from Rhiza Edge, and Kat Colmer herself for providing me with a free e-ARC in exchange of an honest review!

Note: Minor spoilers possibly???

Can't Beat the Chemistry stole my heart from the get-go. Kat Colmer enraptures you with her writing, and creates characters you can't help falling in love with. The characters were incredibly relatable, and Colmer manages to weave a story rich with romance and incredibly important life lessons. Can't Beat the
Mar 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley-reads
Ah opposites attracting. Is there a better storyline or observation of the human character? I think not. Especially when they don't like each other or *hate* one another in the beginning. If it's good enough for Mr Darcy and Elizabeth, then it's certainly good enough for everyone.

A quick rundown on your protagonists:
MJ - a quick, sharp and incredibly bright high-schooler, gifted particularly in the sciences who wants to do one thing…only problem is her mother wants another…
Luke - drummer, a so
Ashleigh Lau
May 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I knew just by looking at the title and the blurb that this book would be just the type for me i.e a huge sucker for romantic comedies and romantic drama (actually, anything to do with romance)

MJ a smart, overachiever in science wants to become a genetic scientist, however, she is instead chasing her moms dreams of becoming something else. MJ is someone who I can personally relate to, a mixed child with a Chinese and Norwegian background, (breaking the stereotype that Asians are tiger parents b
Catriona Corby
Mar 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I received an ARC of Can’t Beat the Chemistry. It’s a quick read, made quicker by its fast pace and my difficulty putting it down. CBTC is a well-done high school romance which veers into the territory of social commentary without preaching (okay, there is some preaching – but by the characters, not the author!)

Colmer clearly enjoys writing with dual narrators and it works well in CBTC. The two perspectives are from MJ, an overachieving high school student taking university science courses, and
I received an advanced copy of this book from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.

MJ is smart, driven, and focused on getting the grades required to fulfill her mother’s dreams of her becoming a surgeon. She thinks that tutoring her brother’s roommate, Luke, in chemistry is a waste of her time. She thinks that Luke is a deadbeat drummer and she’d rather focus on impressing her science partner, Jason. As the story unfolds, MJ discovers that people are so much more than they seem and that
Apr 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
I bought this book at The Children’s Bookshop, Beecroft. It was their last event before moving their business, and the author was one of the presenters.

I bought this book and got it signed, because it was written by a local teacher librarian.

Young Adults literature and love stories are two genres I don’t normally read. So, this book hung around my bedside table with a bookmark.

Until #covid19 and we all started working from home that is.

Cleaning and looking for something a little more humorou
Stephanie - Books Less Travelled
While the 'good girl/bad-boy' trope isn't new, I still enjoy it when it's well done. I also enjoyed the face that it's an Australian contemporary, which I don't see many of for teens. I'm so glad I was able to read and advanced copy, I'll definitely be looking for more of this author in the future! I really enjoyed reading MJ and Luke's story, and even more so since it was a clean read that can be recommended to teens as well as adults. Without the need for adult themes, this author manages to m ...more
Penny Jaye
Apr 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Thoroughly enjoyed this fun read!
It's a YA romance with gentle depth. If you're after fully developed characters, authentic romantic tension, compassionate responses to real life issues and a light touch of humour, this one's for you. Won't say more as I don't want to give any of the surprises away.
Jun 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
It’s pre-med brains that turn me on, not drum belting bleeding hearts.

Mj is often harsh and judgemental. She's very intelligent when it comes to studies but clueless at social situations and when she decided to tutor her brother's roommate, Luke, she often comes to realise that her judgements can be wrong.

Through the book, we see how she develops and turns into a girl that is not only more openminded but also more compassionate and kind.

Her parents - specifically her mother - are hard on her
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Kat Colmer is a Sydney-based Young Adult author who writes coming-of-age stories with humour and heart. She has a Master of Education in Teacher Librarianship and loves working with teens and young adults. When not writing, teaching, or reading the latest in YA fiction, Kat spends time with her two resident YA critics - aka her two children.

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