Alyssa's Reviews > Chain Reaction

Chain Reaction by Simone Elkeles
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Sep 07, 2010

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bookshelves: i-cannot-breathe-without-you, 2011-read, great-books, great-realistic-fiction, highly-anticipated, mystery-suspense, only-okay, really-excited-for, reccomended, ya-romance, multiple-povs, a-guy-of-ya
Recommended for: Hopeless romantics who pray for Chuck and Blair from Gossip Girl to just get it on for good.

I’m such a huge romantic. 90% of my books have a large chunk of romance in them, and 90% of the movies and songs I listen to involve heartbreak the sweeping of one off their feet. Chain Reaction could have sated my lust for love, and yet, like its prelude, it fell flat in all the important areas.

Luis Fuentes is doing his best to stay on the right path, and when he meets Nikki, the girl with the angelic face and beautiful soul, he thinks his life is finally starting to come together for good. Sure, Nikki has a lot of baggage and doesn’t really trust a “South Sider,” but hey, didn’t his brothers go through that too? Luis thinks he’s got it all figured out, that cocky kid, until the LB comes rolling back into town claiming debt. Suddenly, Luis’s life isn’t so perfect anymore and he’s now trapped in a world of lies, deceit and violence, with not a clue on how to get out.

Sounds familiar, right? Chain Reaction is basically the same thing as its lead ups, but just with different characters and a few plot strings ripped off from Gossip Girl. Elkeles writes clichés like she’s creating them in the first place – she twists the rich, stuck-uppity one, the bad-boy-gang-kid option, the Romeo-and-Juliet scenario, generally respectably – but even so, her writing skills seemed to have disappeared in this installment. This book lacked in pacing, in climax, in characterization, and all because there are only so many times you can run a cliché, and because I’m damn sure Elkeles got lazy with her dialogues.

Truthfully, I didn’t really like Luis. He was everywhere with his emotions and thoughts. He is the shady guy Nikki suspects him to be, and a lot of the time I found myself questioning his motives, which was ridiculous because while doing so I was reading from his POV. Luis wasn’t a very well-rounded character, but then I can also now say that for his brothers too. Because, yeah. WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED TO ALEX AND CARLOS? LEGITIMATELY, WHAT THE HELL? When we start off the book, Alex is getting married to Brittany and all is good for the whole wide freaking world. Alex seems cool, as usual, and seems like an ACTUAL MALE HUMAN BEING… which freakishly changes fast. Suddenly all you hear from him are these sappy-ass lines, and then just as snippily, you’re hearing them from tough-guy Carlos too. I got the feeling that Elkeles got stuck in her Hot Boy Wonderland and just decided to ignore how real boys actually speak, because something happened to her male characters that seriously scared me into taking a break from the book.

Don’t get me wrong. I think Simone Elkeles has the ability and potential to write solid main characters. Case in point, Nikki was much stronger and more relatable in comparison to Brittany and Kiara, and I could actually see myself being friends with her. Oh, and while we’re talking about befriending, I think I should mention that I love how Elkeles actually gives the “best friend” space to grow and become something other than “the best friend.” In this chemistry-ridden universe, the best friends get to be best friends, and get to be treated like best friends, and really, that’s truly wonderful because damn it, Elkeles is doing as expected.

Chain Reaction was romantic, but it was more steamy then anything else. I think I like this series so much because when Elkeles talks sex, she doesn’t just tell it, she shows it. Although the scenes were genuinely sappy about 85% of the time, I think that most YA authors could learn something from one of Chain Reactions sexcapades. It was refreshing and fun to simmer in the heat in the chemistry between the characters.

This book – nay, this series - could have been so much more, but this trilogy really did make me happy at points and made me a fan of Elkeles. I’m sad that the Fuentes’ are finished telling stories, because they really did tell riveting ones, but I’m also looking forward to something new. Something very, very new. Please.
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Reading Progress

September 7, 2010 – Shelved
August 16, 2011 – Shelved as: i-cannot-breathe-without-you
August 25, 2011 – Started Reading
August 25, 2011 –
page 1
0.31% "It seems like there's always a guy named Jack Reyerson."
August 25, 2011 –
page 44
13.79% "No. Freaking. Way."
August 26, 2011 – Finished Reading
August 28, 2011 – Shelved as: 2011-read
August 30, 2011 – Shelved as: great-books
August 30, 2011 – Shelved as: great-realistic-fiction
August 30, 2011 – Shelved as: highly-anticipated
August 30, 2011 – Shelved as: mystery-suspense
August 30, 2011 – Shelved as: only-okay
August 30, 2011 – Shelved as: really-excited-for
August 30, 2011 – Shelved as: reccomended
August 30, 2011 – Shelved as: ya-romance
August 26, 2012 – Shelved as: multiple-povs
October 27, 2012 – Shelved as: a-guy-of-ya

Comments (showing 1-16 of 16) (16 new)

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Sashana *Gasp* I had no idea she was writing a third one!

Alyssa I knew but wasn't expecting a cover this soon! It's gorgeous, huh?

Sashana Yup, and I like the fact that Luis is going to be a good boy.

message 4: by Emily (new)

Emily Blake I want to read this books so bad. Ughh.

Alyssa Emily, get it as soon as you can. It's worth the $20.

Ariana I'll miss the Fuentes brothers too, even though I didn't really like Luis that much *sigh*

Emily May LOL at your 'Recommended for' :) How many times have they broke up and got back together now? :D

Alyssa Emily wrote: "LOL at your 'Recommended for' :) How many times have they broke up and got back together now? :D"

So many times that I'm losing hope. It's killing me. I hate that I'm a fan of such a ridiculous show. ;)

message 9: by Giselle (new)

Giselle Aww I love Chuck and Blair!!

Alyssa Me too, actually. :) It just sucks that they'll never get together - well, not anytime in the near future, anyhow.

Emily May I love them too, I hate how much I love them and keep watching and hoping that this will be the time they'll stay together for good :)

message 12: by Giselle (new)

Giselle Oh this just reminded me that someone is pregnant!

Alyssa Emily, it's frustrating isn't it?

Giselle, I am so shocked because I have no apparent idea about who it could be.

message 14: by Giselle (new)

Giselle In the books it's Blair's mom. But not sure they will follow that storyline.

Alyssa Blair's mom was already pregnant, wasn't she? I hope it's Blair - maybe it'll give her an excuse to stay with Chuck like we all know she wants to.

message 16: by Giselle (new)

Giselle Oh maybe. I hope it's Blair too.

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