Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Chain Reaction

Author: Simone Elkeles

Source: Library

Summary: (goodreadsLike his brothers, Luis Fuentes is a risk taker; whether he's scaling the Rocky Mountains or dreaming of a future as an astronaut, Luis is always looking for the next thrill.

Nikki Cruz lives her life by certain rules ― don't trust a boy who says "I love you", boys lie to get their own way and never date a boy from the south side of Fairfield. Then she meets Luis at his brother Alex's wedding and suddenly she's tempted to break all her rules.

Getting Nikki to give him a chance is Luis's biggest challenge, until he finds himself targeted by the head of the gang that nearly destroyed his brothers' lives. Will Luis's feelings for Nikki be enough to stop him from entering a dark and violent world that could prove to be the ultimate risk?

Review: The youngest Fuentes proves to be quite the interesting character. Dynamic is a great way to describe Luis’ intelligence, sweetness and then need for recklessness. His complexity is part of what makes him so intriguing to Nikki Cruz. Nikki doesn’t hang out with the Mexicans. She doesn’t speak Spanish. Her parents expect her to go to college. Her father is a well-to-doer.  And she has no tolerance for gangs. Nikki is quite the dynamic character herself. Different in many ways from Luis, and at the same time, so similar. A smile and acceptance begin a painfully beautiful story in which family secrets and reputations are out for destruction.

I loved the characters. Nikki’s rich friends each had a redeeming quality to them and most of the secondary characters were memorable. Except for the villains. Whenever there were scenes with the bad guys, I felt absolutely no connection. I don’t know if it was intentional on the author’s part to dehumanize the gangsters. Or if it was Luis himself who dehumanized them, but there was just no connection there. Those characters were completely flat and that made the story a bit unbelievable.

In the end, the romance part was a poignant adventure, but the rest of the plot fell flat for me. It was too contrived. As if the plot only existed to support the romance. Which isn’t how real life is. Luis ended up having a not-so-believable life outside of Nikki Cruz. It was this lack of development and detail in the background that left me a bit unsatisfied with the whole book. Still, if you are a fan of the Fuentes brothers, can you really pass up getting to know Luis? He grows up to be quite the swoooooon-worthy man. Finishing this book won’t be difficult, what with the fantastic characterization, but the plot might leave you a bit disappointed.

Rating: 1 2 3 4 5

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