Review: Chain Reaction by Simone Elkeles

Publisher: Walker Childrens
Where did you get the book: Bought
Release date: Out now

This review contains spoilers

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?

*blurb taken from Goodreads*

I love this series like crack, and I couldn’t wait to read the final book in the Chemistry trilogy. I was really hesitant, though, in buying this because of the high price, and unfortunately I wished I stayed hesitant and not bought it because I was so incredibly disappointed with the final book.

Luis is the youngest Fuentes brother, and has been portrayed throughout the series as the ‘good one’. We find out that Luis is in fact a adrenaline junkie who does stupid things for the rush. The heroine of the story is Nikki Cruz who is Mexican, but lives on the rich side of town compared to Luis. Nikki’s father is the Dr who treated Alex when he was injured in the first book, and Luis and Nikki are introduced when the Cruz family is invited to Alex’s and Brittany’s wedding. Luis is happy go lucky at that moment in time, and is full of life and Fuentes charm. Nikki is very bitter and to be quite blunt, a ‘boy hater’ because of what happened with Marcus, her ex-boyfriend who dumped her and left her pregnant.

Nikki is pretty much a bitch to Luis, and Luis thinks it’s hot that she has such an attitude. Luis hits on Nikki, and Nikki in return kicks him in the nuts in front of everyone. This is the last time they will see each other for the next two years, and during that last evening, Nikki has a miscarriage. The story then starts again when both are seventeen, and Luis has moved back to Chicago and goes to the same school as Nikki, and from there it’s pretty much the same plot as the previous two books, but when the previous two books were captivating, Chain Reaction had a very unlikeable heroine, a very bad plot, and really really bad dialogue that almost had me cringing.

Nikki came off as such a ball buster, and we were told constantly that she was cynical, that she was so vulnerable, that she was hurting so badly from Marcus who joined the LB gang. We are told all this through really bad dialogue, but it was never SHOWN. The writing was so choppy and stilted that I honestly can’t figure out how the author could produce a book like this compared to the first two. Luis and Nikkie’s relationship I found to be unromantic and so wooden that weirdly enough, I was hoping one of the characters would get killed off at the end because it would at least be something completely unoriginal. You see, Luis who was labelled the good one gets back into the gang culture, because he moves back to the EXACT place where the gang was situated before. He then feels it’s his turn to protect his family like his previous two brothers did when he’s brought back into the gang life as he’s friends with Marcus. Luis is in a dilemma as he wants to know what’s going on because of what happened with his father in the past. So when Nikki finally stops being a bitch and get’s together with Luis, he lies to her about his involvement because it’s for her own good. First, why would Luis hang around with Marcus knowing what happened to Alex and Carlos? Secondly, why didn’t he go straight to them when he was brought back into the gang. Thirdly, why did we have such a predictable plot when Luis was made to be different. I was hoping that the heroine could have perhaps been part of the gang, but no, she was once again a rich girl who didn’t have any identity of her heritage. Their romance had no depth, and Nikki I had no liking for.

Chain Reaction had such a silly storyline that turning each page as the book went on became harder and harder. Towards the latter part of the book, the plot became so melodramatic with what Luis learns. He then wants to become a gang member because it was his destiny. At this point my eyes started to roll. And by then, I was really kicking myself for forking out £9 for a book that in my eyes really was not worth it. Of course there is the happy ending where they all live happily ever just like the two previous books. It was such a letdown of the series that I’m quite sad because whilst the previous two were very similar, they were really engaging and fun. Chain Reaction is very poor with an emotionally stunted heroine, and a hero who turned into a caricature of his two older brothers.

I give Chain Reaction a D-

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3 thoughts on “Review: Chain Reaction by Simone Elkeles”

  1. Is it possible to have a more unlikable heroine than the first book? I’m not sure my brain could handle it. O_o

  2. I also loved the first two books and couldn’t wait for Luis’ story. I hoped it would be a good boy Fuentes brother saving some messed up girl this time instead of the other way around. Nikki said and did nothing likeable. And what the heck happened to Luis that he became a thrill junkie and man whore and then so easily a gang banger? There wasn’t enough heart in this book.

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