Brittany Ellis has the picture perfect, cookie cutter life: wealthy parents, the perfect boyfriend, the right clothes, the popular group of friends. But looks can be decieving. There are cracks in her facade. When Brittany is partnered with Alex Fuentes, the bad boy gang member from the wrong side of town, he starts to get under her skin and chips away at the cracks.
Alex is the bad guy in the story and he knows it, in fact he loves it that way. So when he makes a bet with his friends about luring Brittany into his life and into his bed he sees it as nothing more than another challenge. But as they spend more time together thoughts of the bet fly out of his head and he finds himself wanting to get under this girl's skin for purely different reasons. Reasons which have nothing to do with winning a car.
Alex is entangled in a gang he doesn't really want to be a part of but is loyal to the gang in order to protect his family. While Brittany is desparetly trying to keep a handle on her life at home and to keep the outside world from seeing the real her.
It's a story as old as time: the bad boy from the wrong side of the tracks and the preppy good girl who hate each other but who have more in common than they could first imagine. Alex and Brittany's bickering is highly entertaining and there's no mistaking the sexual tension between them. Simone Elkeles takes the cliched story and imbues it with sexual tension and emotional intensity, bringing two individuals who are from the outside so different and who should be able to work together. She mixes in the reality of gang membership and loyalty with wanting something so badly you'd do anything to get and keep it.
The moments when Alex and Brittany realise they have deep running feelings for each other is beautifully written. Watching them sort through their mixed emotions and their sense of loyalty and what's right and wrong and figuring out how to deal with their emotions is delightful and realistic. It was wonderful to see the character's love develop as a slow burn rather than the 'we hate each other one minute then the next love each other' which is commonly portrayed. Simone Elkeles portrays the fluttering of first love but also the consequences of the characters actions which is rarely portrayed in teen novels.