Series: Elements of Chemistry #1
Release date: April 6th 2015
Genres: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Length: 4 hours 26 minutes
Add to TBR: Goodreads
Purchase: Amazon UK | Amazon US | The Book Depository | iBooks | Kobo | Audible
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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?
The GingerSnap’s review
A few weeks ago I downloaded the second book in this series on a whim, and after realising that I had inadvertently read the middle of a series, I knew I had to go back and read the first book, to better understand Martin and Kaitlyn’s love stories. But honestly, that was 4 hours and 36 minutes of my life I wish I had back.
The Elements of Chemistry series follows lab partners Martin and Kaitlyn, who have been harbouring secret crushes for each other all semester, unbeknownst to each other. Things come to a head one day while Kaitlyn is hiding in the chemistry closet and overhears one of Martin’s rugby teammates plotting to drug Martin and take advantage of him and his family fortune. Closet kisses happen, then Kaitlyn divulgies the details of this plot to Martin, he takes a leap and makes his feelings for Kaitlyn known. More smooching ensues, followed by a sudden Spring Break trip to Martin’s beach pad.
First things first: I didn’t really understand Kaitlyn as a character. She’s supposed to be geeky, into music, quiet, trying to break free of the shadow of her famous family, but I never found out enough about her to really understand her, or how she and Martin fit together. I wanted more scenes of her and Sam interacting, more scenes of her in her classes, more scenes of her playing guitar– more Kaitlyn in general. Even though she’s the narrator, and even though I’d already read another book in this series, by the time I’d finished reading this book I still didn’t ‘get’ her.
Second thing: MARTIN WAS SUCH A DOUCHENOZZLE AND I WANTED TO PUNCH HIM IN THE SOLAR PLEXUS THE WHOLE BOOK. He is insanely controlling, gruff, and seems to only have two emotions: angry and angry-horny. But most, most, most importantly: he isn’t gentle with Kaitlyn when he’s fingering her. It’s her first time experiencing any kind of penetration at the hands of someone else, and rather than asking her how she’s doing, if it hurts, if she’s comfortable, he just goes full throttle, leaving her sore and bruised. He also ‘marks’ her with hickeys, and when she asks him not to do it again, rather than accepting this because it’s her body and she gets to decide whether she wants hickeys or not, he presses her, makes a joke out of it, and basically completely ignores the fact that she is trying to assert her preferences and set some boundaries. What. an. asswipe.
Third thing: Ben ‘The Rapist’ is not dealt with at all in this book. Kaitlyn overhears Ben freely admitting to his female croney that he’s drugged other girls and raped them, and yet neither Kaitlyn nor Martin do anything with this information. They don’t report it, don’t confront him– no, Martin goes and invites Ben to his vacation pad because, despite Ben raping women and plotting to drug and rape Martin, Martin needs him on his rugby team so he has to play nice with him. While I realise that it can be very difficult and complicated to deal with situations like this, especially in college, if there’s ever a place where we should see examples of people bringing these people to justice, it’s in fucking romance! The feminist genre!
Fourth thing: Martin’s friend Ray, who is a major creep, has a lengthy conversation with Kaitlyn about her being ‘marriage material’ because she doesn’t sell herself short by just hooking up with guy after guy. Props to Kaitlyn for defending women’s sexual freedom and their right to fuck whoever they want (as long as it’s consensual) as often as they want, no strings needed, BUT THEN SHE RUINS IT by taking his arm when he offers it after he sheepishly looks at her with puppy dog eyes and a sorry frown. If someone is a misogynistic asswipe, they do not deserve your arm, Kaitlyn. They deserve a flying sidekick to their patriarchal face.
ALSO. Ray notes that the girl who helped Ben plot Martin’s drug and rape is a hookup girl, and it feels like he’s somehow relating her being violent and immoral to her hooking up with lots of men. I know I don’t need to say this to you, readers, but just in case: People’s morality is not tied to their sexual proclivities. You can fuck who you want, when you want, and it doesn’t make you any more or less likely to commit a felony.
After reading this book, I definitely won’t be continuing with the Elements of Chemistry series. I have no desire to find out what fresh hell Martin pulls with Kaitlyn in Book 3. I’m all for alpha males, but they HAVE to respect women, and Martin (and Ben and Ray) don’t.
I would recommend this book to…
No one. Don’t read this.