Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Review of Rules of Attraction

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.
[from Goodreads]

Rating:   3.5 out of 5 boxes
Target Audience:  Older teens, YA-romance-reading adults
High point:  Carlos
Low point:  The swearing, the adult content
Reader maturity:  18+

Several readers have mentioned that Rules of Attraction pales in comparison to Perfect Chemistry. As I've never read Perfect Chemistry, I don't have that to compare it too. I can say for sure that Rules of Attraction stood well on its own;  everything I needed to know about Alex and Brittany in order to follow Carlos' and Kiara's story was explained.

Carlos' bad attitude bleeds through the pages, immersing me into a world of gangs and turf wars--not so much that it was scary but enough that it took me out of my reading comfort zone. He appears to the reader as a true tool, the same impression he gives Kiara, but as she comes to understand that he's not the jerk he appears to be, the reader does too. Kiara is also enjoyable as a main character. She has "ugly duckling" syndrome, which usually drives me crazy, but her choices to change--or stick up for herself--are always validated.

Though I enjoyed the opposites-attract romance in Rules of Attraction, it felt a little rushed, like the book needed a few more chapters for Kiara and Carlos to get to know each other. The quick pace makes the romance seem based more on physical attraction than emotional attraction, even though both characters have a lot to offer each other. In that vein, the book contains quite a bit of swearing in its venture for realism and also some intense scenes that are pretty explicit for a YA novel. 

Rules of Attraction is one of those books I'm sort of torn on. I liked it--the writing was good and the characterization was great--but the questionable content was so great in quantity and frequency that I don't feel comfortable recommending it.

Title:  Rules of Attraction
Author:  Simone Elkeles
Genre:  Teen Fiction -- Romance & Friendship
Year:   2010
Book Source:  Won from Pure Imagination


  1. great review! i enjoyed rules of attraction more than you did, but unfortunately it wasn't as good as perfect chemistry. i agree, some things were rushed, and the scenes were a little... scandalous. other than that, though, i liked it :)

  2. I have this one on my shelf...Perfect Chemistry was awesome!

  3. I love reading and following your blog. You have some really great reviews. If you are interested, I have an award for you.


  4. Great review! In spite of the drawbacks you have mentioned here I like the sound of this book and will pick it up if I get the chance....