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.
Last year, I read and loved Perfect Chemistry, so I've been eagerly anticipating the sequel, Rules of Attraction by Simone Elkeles. It's really hard not to compare the two brothers and the two love stories, especially as there is a definite similarity in the two circumstances. For me? I much preferred this book. I felt like I connected better with Carlos and Kiara than I did with Alex and Brittany.
I don't think you'd necessarily need to have read Perfect Chemistry first, though Rules of Attraction does spend some time dealing with the ongoing relationship of Alex and Brittany in Colorado. But the focus is on Carlos, Alex's little brother. He's been living in Mexico, but getting into the same gang-related probelms that Alex did. It was thought that by moving back to Mexico, it might help the two younger Fuentes' brothers, but it doesn't seem to be the case for Carlos, whose gang iniation comes from a very different place from Alex's.
Carlos has quite the attitude. He's very much a bad boy, dabbling in drugs and sex and violence and gang culture back in Mexico. But underneath it, there is this vulnerability to him as he seems to believe everyone leaves, his father, Alex. He holds a resentment towards Alex for leaving like he did and Carlos puts up sort of a front about it. There seems to be a lot of that the two brothers really need to work out between themselves.
When he starts school in Colorado, living with Alex, Carlos immediately meets Kiara. I loved Kiara. I loved how unashamedly geeky she is and how she tries to hold back her attraction to Carlos and sticks up for herself. Despite being picked on, and having a stutter, she tries so hard to stick to her ideals. Not very girly, I loved that she hikes and fixes cars and doesn't worry too much about her appearance. When Carlos gets busted for having drugs at school, Carlos is taken in by Kiara's family and Carlos and Kiara end up spending a great deal of time together, getting to know each other... and falling for each other. I found their relationship to be really sweet and believeable. And living with Kiara's family, Carlos is able to see a little more clearly that he is selling himself short by believing that gang culture is all he is cut out for.
There is quite a bit more steamy interactions between Carlos and Kiara than I was prepared for as well as more dangerous and explosive action. Just like Perfect Chemistry before it, Rules of Attraction is quite addictive reading. Once I started, I really couldn't stop. I found I connected better with the characters in this book and believed in the relationship between Carlos and Kiara. I adore the Fuentes brothers cannot wait for Chain Reaction!