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Can't Beat the Chemistry

4.31  ·  Rating details ·  52 ratings  ·  39 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
Kindle Edition, 220 pages
Published April 20th 2019 by Rhiza Edge
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4.31  · 
Rating details
 ·  52 ratings  ·  39 reviews

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Apr 23, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019, ya, australia
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)
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  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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
Rob De
Jan 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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,
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
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
Apr 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
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  ·  review of another edition
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
Katherine Paschal
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  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc, reviewed
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
Mary S. R.
Mar 30, 2019 marked it as to-read
I received an ARC of this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks to the publisher, Rhiza Edge.

This seems refreshing and cute!
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Heidi Catherine
Jan 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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!
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  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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
Catriona Corby
Mar 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Stephanie - Adventures Thru Wonderland
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  ·  review of another edition
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.
Sarah (Cover to Cover Reviews)
I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

"Can't Beat the Chemistry" was a not-unwelcome break from the weightier nonfiction I've been reading lately: i's light, fluffy, and incredibly quick (I'm not sure of the page count, but I read it in only a few hours). It wasn't spectacular, but I enjoyed it enough. 

This book's main defect, which might be a detractor for other readers, was how utterly unlikeable the protagonist, Mackenzie "MJ" Olsen-Wang, started off. She's portraye
Feb 28, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I couldn't decided if I should give this book 4 or 5 stars. I gave it 4 but its more like a 4.5. I really enjoyed this one and didn't want to put it down.
Luke is failing chemistry but MJ is a protege at it and already taking Uni classes even though she is still in high school. MJ understands that failure is not an option and she can't say no to her brother so she ends up tutoring Luke in chemistry. Turns out her roommate likes Luke so they trade chemistry lessons for drum lessons. I was glad th
Mar 30, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Can’t Beat The Chemistry is an adorable #loveOZya story about two people, hyper-focused MJ & seemingly lax Luke forming an unlikely friendship as MJ becomes Luke’s reluctant tutor.

Luke is failing university chemistry, trying to balance other commitments but finding it difficult when his roommate, MJ’s brother recommends her to tutor him things are looking up but MJ has her own hands full with her overbearing mum, her uni sciences (though she’s still in high school), & her mission to make
Jheelkamal Nayak
Mar 28, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: net-galley
Its been so long since a book kept me awake all night. I really loved reading about MJ and Luke. The narrative was very heartfelt and sweet. And the characters were very real and kind and adorable.
MJ is a straight A student who wants to score good grades to be accepted in one of the best medical institutes and get to know Jason, the stoic and intelligent lab partner more. She is good at everything that can be learned but not very good at social etiquettes or human emotions.
Luke, disorganised and
I did find it hard to follow the colloquialisms that are unique to Australians. The spelling didn’t throw me as I am Canadian and my husband is British, but the expressions were challenging and they slowed down my reading speed. It didn’t flow smoothly for me, which may be a completely personal experience. It took me much longer to read than I would have expected.
Sofia | Bookstagram Nerdy
Actual rating: 2.5

Thank you netgalley for the ARC

Well this book put me in a slump.... And by the end of it I was sort of enjoying it? I just don't get why people like this soppy stuff.... Just ugh... Me and contemporary are not great
Apr 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great holiday read - romantic, with real characters, and laughs. MJ is book smart, but a klutz with romance. Luke has great arms and a great heart. The kissing scenes were A++, hot but clean, a Kat Colmer trademark. Definitely recommended!
Taylor Dean
Mar 01, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a super cute book and I really enjoyed reading it. Once I picked it up I could not put it down.
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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 husband and two children.