Monday, August 29, 2011

Chain Reaction by Simone Elkeles

Chain Reaction by Simone Elkeles
Release Date: August 15, 2011
Publisher: Walker Books

Luis Fuentes has always been sheltered from the gang violence that nearly destroyed his brothers’ lives. But that didn’t stop him from taking risks—whether he’s scaling a mountain in the Rockies or dreaming of a future as an astronaut, Luis can’t stop looking for the next thrill. Nikki Cruz lives her life by three rules—boys lie to get their way, don’t trust a boy who says “I love you,” and never date a boy from the south side of Fairfield. Her parents may be from Mexico, but as a doctor’s daughter, she has more in common with her north-side neighbors than the Latino Blood at her school. Then she meets Luis at Alex’s wedding, and suddenly, she’s tempted to break all her rules. Getting Nikki to take a chance on a southsider is Luis’s biggest challenge, until he finds himself targeted by Chuy Soto, the new head of the Latino Blood. When Chuy reveals a disturbing secret about Luis’s family, the youngest Fuentes finds himself questioning everything he’s ever believed to be true. Will his feelings for Nikki be enough to stop Luis from entering a dark and violent world and permanently living on the edge?  - Goodreads.com

Where should I start?  Let me first praise the author.  Simone Elkeles is awesome.  Plain and simple.  Now I'll praise the book a little... this was a wonderfully fitting end to a fabulous series.  I hate that it's over.  I love the Fuentes boys so much, I am secretly hoping that she plans to write some stories about the children one day.  Ha!  Now for the the big praisehe....

What Simone Elkeles has done so well in this trilogy is create realistic characters who get themselves into some pretty dire circumstances where you want to bang their heads together, but at the same time you're pulling for them to figure it all out and pull themselves out.  The Fuentes brothers are some of my favorite male protagonists in YA fiction.  These are some sexy, badass dudes.  You just can't help but love them, even as you watch them make some bad choices.  Their hearts are good, their intentions are good, and they deserve more than the hand they've been dealt.  But this is the Fuentes brothers we're talking about... they'll figure it out and come out better for it. 

Amazingly, Elkeles is always able to dream up just the right heroine to complement each of them.  Whatever will challenge them most, that's what they get.  And together, the couples make some of the steamiest scenes in YA.  Great tension between the characters.  Makes for some memorable romance.

Luis and Nikki are no exception.  Luis was always somewhat in the background during the first two stories, and at times you felt that he was so sheltered from what his brothers were having to deal with that it is easy to assume that he'll escape their fate.  Not so.  Luis has to battle his fair share of the family legacy, and he surprised me a little bit with a couple of his choices.  Yet, at the same time, those bad choices seemed to be rather true to character.  Nikki and her issues broke my heart.  Together, these two are great.

I hope that Simone Elkeles puts out something new very, very quick!!  I'm looking forward to what she comes up with next.  I am sad this is over, but eagerly looking forward to the future.

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