Carlos Fuentes doesn't want any part of the life his older brother, Alex, has laid out for him in Boulder, Colorado. He wants to keep living on the edge, and carve his own path—just like Alex did. Unfortunately, his ties to a Mexican gang aren't easy to break, and he soon finds himself being set up by a drug lord.
When Alex arranges for Carlos to live with his former professor and his family to keep him from being sent to jail, Carlos feels completely out of place. He's even more thrown by his strong feelings for the professor's daughter, Kiara, who is nothing like the girls he's usually drawn to. But Carlos and Kiara soon discover that in matters of the heart, the rules of attraction overpower the social differences that conspire to keep them apart.
As the danger grows for Carlos, he's shocked to discover that it's this seemingly All-American family who can save him. But is he willing to endanger their safety for a chance at the kind of life he's never even dreamed possible?
Rules of Attraction is the second book in Simone Elkeles' trilogy about the Fuentes brothers. I read the first book, Perfect Chemistry, in February and was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it. I'd seen a lot of great reviews about it but for some reason I didn't think I'd like it. I was so wrong! So, I had high hopes for Rules of Attraction, but alas, I was disappointed in Carlos' story. I finished this a few days ago and have been trying to pin-point just what exactly I found wrong with the book; it boils down to the fact that I didn't connect with Carlos. There was something about his voice/point of view that lacked the spark I felt when reading Alex's book.
I like the alternating chapters with Carlos and Kiara's points of view. I really liked Kiara, she's a little out there, not your typical teenager always concerned about what others think of her, despite her stuttering problem. She really seemed to know who she was and wasn't looking to Carlos to "complete" her, even though in the end he did. She seems pretty secure in who she is, and I found that refreshing. I also enjoyed her family especially her father and little brother.
Carlos, oh Carlos. Why didn't you do it for me? Your brother Alex was AMAZING. You, on the other hand, were kinda "meh". I'm not sure how to explain what I thought was lacking. However, when I was reading there were several passages where I literally rolled my yes. What Carlos was expressing was, I assume, supposed to come off as profound and insightful but, to me, it came off as forced and insincere. For example the following excerpt, just doesn't ring true; to me, it felt inauthentic :
I expect everyone in my life to leave me at some point. Since Destiny, I haven't allowed myself to get emotionally involved with anyone. If I let myself care about someone, they'll leave me, push me away, or die. That's the way it's been, and will always be.
I guess with Alex's book I really felt for him: he had the burden of being "the man of the house", he was trying to protect his brothers from falling prey to gangs, his struggles, both internal and external, felt flushed out and fully realized. I really felt Carlos's story lacked this intensity and development of character. It's not that I disliked the book overall, I was left slightly unsatisfied and felt that the spark from Perfect Chemistry was missing. Looking through the reviews/ratings on Goodreads, I seem to be in the minority. I wanted to like this one as much as Perfect Chemistry but Carlos just didn't do it for me.