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Review: Rules of Attraction

Rules of Attraction
by Simone Elkeles

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Release Date: April 27, 2010
Publisher: Walker & Co.
Age Group: Older YA
Source: Library Check-Out
Rating: Perfect Bed Partner
Good for 2nds Challenge
Other Books in the Series:

Perfect Chemistry
About the Book:
When Carlos Fuentes returns to America after living in Mexico for a year, he doesn’t want any part of the life his older brother, Alex, has laid out for him at a high school in Colorado . Carlos likes living his life on the edge and wants to carve his own path—just like Alex did. Then he meets Kiara Westford. She doesn’t talk much and is completely intimidated by Carlos’ wild ways. As they get to know one another, Carlos assumes Kiara thinks she’s too good for him, and refuses to admit that she might be getting to him. But he soon realizes that being himself is exactly what Kiara needs right now.
Carlos: I want to live life on my own terms. But I’m Mexican, so mi familia is always there to guide me in everything I do, whether I want them to or not...

I would love to say something clever to open this review, but all I can manage is, I am cuckoo for the Fuentes brothers. When I first wanted to pick up Rules of Attraction, I kept getting a lot of feedback saying that it's basically just Perfect Chemistry retold. The same story with different characters, and the third book followed the same formula. I have to disagree. While yes, the same themes are being executed, the same TYPE of story - you know, Mexican bad boy meets White good girl - the story in Rules of Attraction still somehow manages to be fresh and unique to the characters.

Carlos reminded me of Alex, sure, but he is still his own person, with his own aspirations, quirks, and resentments. Honestly, I'd be a little mad if the two weren't similar, being that they are brothers. I like seeing familiar personality traits being passed down into the family. It isn't like Anna and the French Kiss vs. Lola and the Boy Next Door, because those feature two unrelated people, who were brought up differently in different environments. Whereas Alex and Carlos are products of their shared pasts. And while Carlos has the whole bad boy thing down-pat, he does it with his own flair. He has this certain arrogance that's different and more acute than Alex's. Did I like him more than Alex? That's a toughie. I'd say they're pretty much tied in my book.

Being that this story is told between two POVs, Kiara is the other first person narrative to be enjoyed. And I did. I actually love Kiara more than Brittany. Kiara is that girl who wears clothes two sizes too big, who fixes cars for fun, currently in the process of revamping the craptastic one she's in possession of, who isn't afraid to say what she means, and she stutters. I admired her while simultaneously adoring her for being so cute. Plus I loved that she has a gay guy for a best friend, especially this particular one (Tuck), because he is the source of so many great LOL-moments. And like Brittany, besides valuing family a great deal, she has that specific ability of challenging their chosen Fuentes guys, infuriating them and invoking overpowering love in them.

I liked how the plot in this book ties in the first one as well, as the Fuentes brothers are revisited by some unwelcome disturbing members of their past. Set-ups, betrayals, and old gang ties crop up and nearly ruin both Fuentes brothers' chances at happiness with the girls they love. I don't remember how huge the tension level was in Perfect Chemistry, but in Rules of Attraction I was gripping the pages hard and sporting white knuckles. And whenever I'm in that situation  I tend to skim until I find out what happens, so there's a whole chunk toward the end that's kind of a blur because I got so worried and curious. And it leads up to a superb ending, which induced many awwwws from me.

I'm so happy that I didn't let other people's judgements pry me away from this series! It was worth the time it took to read Rules of Attraction, and Carlos and Kiara's love story makes my list of best romances.

In the most totally inappropriate way you can imagine, PBP books are the books you want to do, they're so bloody brilliant... (My Rating System In-Depth)

Carlos: Time to change tactics. “Want to make out?”
“With who?” she asks, not bothering to look up.
She lifts her head from her book just long enough to give me a once-over. “No, thanks,” she says, then goes back to her homework.
She’s fuckin’ with me.
She’s got to be fuckin’ with me. (135)

Kiara: Kiss? In the hallway in front of everyone? I can’t even talk in front of Madison, let alone kiss the guy she’ s interested in, in front of her. “I-I-I d-d-don’t...”
I try to come up with something, but keep stuttering. As if Carlos doesn’t even notice I’m struggling with my speech, his fingers cup my cheek, then trace a gentle path down my lips. It’s something a boyfriend would do to a girlfriend he’s crazy about and.. and... and Carlos is full of complete bullshit. I know it. He knows it. But Madison doesn’t know it. (171)


Natalia Belikov @ Dazzling Reads said...

great review my dear!!
hahahahaha!! I love your rating system!! XDDDDDDD Best ever!!! oh yeah! I'd like to know how you rate VA XDDDDDDDD uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuh!!! Oh Belikov YEAH!!

Dazzling Reads

Jenny said...

I seriously need to read this series! I love a good romance and I've heard nothing but good things about these Fuentes boys. I think it's time I met them (and most likely obsess over them). Thanks for the review Asher!

Leanna (Daisy Chain Book Reviews) said...

Glad you enjoyed this one, for me it didn't totally live up to the awesomeness that was Perfect Chemistry, but it still had some pretty good moments. Overall, I preferred the characters in PC. I haven't read Chain Reaction yet, but I plan to!

Tiffany said...

Great review! I absolutely loved Perfect Chemistry and I've had this one on my shelf for awhile but just haven't gotten around to reading it yet. I'm glad to hear it stands up well next to the first book, I'll have to read it soon :)

Tristan said...

really good review, I was totally wary of this because although Perfect Chemistry was awesome I didn't want to read it again with different characters. I think I may give it a shot ;)

Liz. R said...

I need to start this series! I want to experience the awesomeness that is the Fuentes brothers. Seriously, this book sounds amazing. From what you've said, I think I would like Kiara better than Brittany too. And the extracts you picked are hilarious! Need to get a hold of this trilogy soon...fab review! Glad you enjoyed it and didn't think it was just the same story with different characters :).

thetravelingreader said...

Hi, Asher! :)

You have just convinced me to read the book. Some of the reviewers on Goodreads said that it's their favorite among the 3 books in the series. So I might give this a try. Thanks. ;)

Books4Juliet said...

hello! new follower dropping by =) Thank you for visiting my WOW post! I'm glad that I were able to visit your blog too. I like how you rate your books! <3 Very unique! This series is on my TBR pile but I can't find any chance to buy me a copy of the first book. I heard many cravings on Perfect Chemistry and I need to grab a copy soon. You did a great review bdw!

April (Books4Juliet)

Rachel Harris said...

Ha ha, I love those quotes. Yeah this is one of my favorite books. I actually studied it hard core when I decided to write a novel myself last summer. I broke it down by each chapter, studied the pages, that kind of thing. Loved Perfect Chemistry, and Alex was gorgeous, but I think I like my man Carlos even more. And Kiara was such a great protag. I liked seeing them both again in Chemical Reaction :-)

A. Knight said...

Natalia- Oh, thank you so much. Honestly VA would be special shelfed in a heartbeat had I read this series while blogging(: Especially Belikov on paper, but in real life he'd be my ideal Perfect Bed Partner *waggles eyebrows*

Jenny- I think everyone should meet them, but I think that's just because I'm bias. I really hope you love them!

Leanna- It's such a close call for me. I don't know which pair I like better, all I know is both pairs have kept me coming back for more! It's going to be a little while before I read the third book, though.

Tiffany- I think most PC fans will be very happy for Carlos and Kiara! Enjoy!

Tristan- But now that you know its different (yet similar) characters living a new story, you can feel reassured that you won't be walking into a repeat that doesn't live up to the first.

Liz- Oh, Liz, you so need to meet the Fuentes bros! They'll make your life sizzle and pop with their hotness. And you can expect more hilarity throughout the book...

thetravelingreader- YES, I thought it was awesome and totally not a disappointment. My sister agrees(: (I sucked her in not too long ago!)

April- Aw, thanks for following! You're welcome. I'm so glad you like my rating system, because I love using it! Maybe you can rent the series at your local library...?

Rachel- I can imagine. This book is a good one to emulate and learn from. Elkeles really nails the characterizations and dialogue, especially. There's a lot to take away from both books. I'm looking forward to reading the third book!

iLuvReadingTooMuch said...

I still need to get my hands on this book...and all the rest of Simone Elkeles' books! been seeing it everywhere. Great review!

A. Knight said...

iLuvReadingTooMuch- Yeah, I know what you mean. There are still so many Elkeles books to get to! Thank you.