Book Review: Elements of Chemistry by Penny Reid


This book was actually published into three parts: Attraction, Heat and Capture. I actually got the first book as a freebie…but after I finished it, I knew I had to purchase the other 2 to finish the story!


I do enjoy Penny Reid’s work and although I’ve read a few of her works, this is probably the first time I’m writing a review on one.

22607976Genre: Contemporary Romance
Published Date: June 1st 2015 (first published May 26th 2015)
Synopsis: One week.
Private beach.
Invisible girl.
Jerk-faced bully.

What’s the worst that could happen?

Kaitlyn Parker has no problem being the invisible girl, which is why she finds herself hiding in various cabinets and closets all over her college campus. Despite her best efforts, she can’t escape the notice of Martin Sandeke—bad boy, jerkface bully, and the universe’s hottest, wealthiest, and most unobtainable bachelor—who also happens to be Kaitlyn’s chemistry lab partner.

Kaitlyn might be the only girl who isn’t interested in exploiting his stunning rower’s build, chiseled features, and family’s billionaire fortune. Kaitlyn wants Martin for his brain, specifically to tabulate findings of trace elements in surface water.

When Kaitlyn saves Martin from a nefarious plot, Martin uses the opportunity to push Kaitlyn out of her comfort zone: spring break, one week, house parties, bathing suits, and suntan lotion. Can she overcome her aversion to being noticed? Will he be able grow beyond his self-centered nature? Or, despite their obvious chemistry, will Martin be the one to drive Kaitlyn into the science cabinet of obscurity for good?


What I liked about it. Kaitlyn. If you’ve been following my reviews…you’d know I love characters…the story lines may be similar to other romance novels but characters are what keeps me reading; and Kaitlyn Parker kept me completely entertained.

“I was just…low maintenance […] I didn’t see the value in spending hours in front of a mirror when I could be playing video games, or playing the guitar, or reading a book instead.”

How could you not love this girl?! I could totally relate to her in this manner, and as I was growing up, I definitely thought the same thing, sans the guitar playing. Kaitlyn was a sweet girl, she is smart, talented, logical, reasonable, clumsy, innocent, slightly awkward and adorable! In fact, she has this mantra which I feel I could learn from:

“Even though you don’t feel calm doesn’t mean you can’t be calm.”

Kaitlyn was far from perfect, like all good heroines she had her flaws. She could be a little overly controlled over herself, overly logical and reasonable when she makes decisions, which could make her a little stiff and closed off to others. It was definitely a product of her upbringing having come from a prominent family of scholars and a high-profile mother, where interactions with her family was scheduled and everything was handled by her mother’s PA, George. Despite all that, I’d say she was considerably well adjusted and she understands her parents loves her and that they were doing their best to raise her. While it’s not the sort of warm and loving family-type that we are normally accustomed to, it works; in fact, I liked the different style of upbringing from the norm.

I also appreciate the growth in Kaitlyn as she explores herself and being in a relationship with another person romantically. While I’m not the biggest fan of Martin Sandeke, I can see how he is necessary for Kaitlyn. In fact, I do believe she needed someone like Martin who was overly confident in himself and would push all her buttons. His temper to her calmness (whether she really felt it or was putting up a front). Martin was the character which help draw out new emotions and reactions, who would introduce Kaitlyn to new experiences and situations; all in all, helping her grown, which I definitely appreciate. Plus, he appreciates her for her and sees what she and others can’t see about her.

There were also some monologue gems which makes Kaitlyn’s inner speech absolutely amusing:

“…my life was officially a cliché. I wondered if there were some unseen director just around the corner saying things like, Okay, cue the new love interest. That’s right, we want him to walk onto the scene at the worst possible moment.

This is just a small snippet, I’ll let you discover the other gems yourself.

Moving on to what didn’t work for me. Their age. There were times I just wished they were a little older…19 and 21…hmmmm…I get it Kaitlyn was innocent and navigating romantic relationships and Martin is a complete noob at relationships regardless of his prowess in the bedroom with females, he was definitely new to being serious with another person. Yet, there were times they were a little too “mature” or “adult” (sometimes way more than I am), therefore, there were times I felt they were a lot older, so the mention of class schedules and campus would jar me.

Sadly, at times Martin Sandeke, just didn’t work for me…he could be a little overly predictable and boring for a main hero. He just felt like a typical jerk at times. Though, his redeeming point was that he had undeniable chemistry with Kaitlyn; and they get one another in this quirky sense.

Overall, this was definitely an enjoyable read! I totally blazed through it over a weekend! I loved the witty banters and totally appreciated the nerdy humor.

Would I recommend this? Yes. Especially for those looking for an quick and enjoyable read. Despite the drawn out angst, I still managed to be completely immersed in the story and characters.


*I’m actually writing this review a second time…Wordpress ate my first one…so this one might be a little shorter than the first one. But I tried to include as much as I could remember.*

Let’s chat! Would love to know what you think! Would this book be something you’d be interested in picking up? Or if you’ve read the book, what did you think of it?


Photograph used in banner was taken from


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