Have you ever made assumptions about somebody (because let’s face it: they are just a typical gamer/musician/teacher’s pet/nerd/book blogger), only to find out you were completely wrong and they are the sweetest/ smartest/ funniest person in the world?
Seventeen year old MJ (Macca, Mackenzie Jane) Olsen-Wang is a bit of an overachiever. She is in her last year of school and is also taking two university courses to help her get into a top medical program. She is studious, organised, focused…and totally clueless as far as reading people and subtle social clues is concerned. She fancies Jason, a fellow brainiac and her project partner, but she doesn’t really know how to go about it apart from being super-prepared with her science article notes.
Luke is her brother Theo’s roommate. He is a drummer and is failing Introductory Chemistry, a course Macca excelled at. Theo’s trying to help by insisting Macca tutor Luke in exchange for some drumming lessons for her friend Sally. Macca is extremely reluctant to do it. She has so little time and so many expectations (her own and her mother’s) to fulfil, and …what’s that? did he just party all night? what does he mean by ‘Forgot to bring my notes’ (doesn’t it really mean ‘I can’t be bothered’)?!?
‘Can’t beat the chemistry’ is a sweet and heartwarming story of an unlikely bond forming between two people who need a little help from each other to work out what they want from life. I loved the main characters, although Luke seemed a little too perfect, despite his difficult past and self-doubts. The double POV works really well in this novel, as it gives you an insight into how similar the protagonists are and how great they would be together.
There are some difficult issues touched upon in the novel:
- overbearing, overdemanding parents who try to live their dream through their children
- raising children with special needs and the strain it puts on the parents and siblings
- dealing with a genetic disorder which runs in your family.
I really enjoyed this charming story with its great message of ‘caring about people, not their achievements’.
Thank you to NetGalley and Rhiza Press for the ARC provided in exchange for an honest opinion.
Have you read this book or is it on your tbr-list? What did you think of the main characters? What did you think of Rosie’s portrayal?
What do you think of parents who push their children study harder and do better in everything? Are they doing it for their children or for themselves?