Rules of Attraction is bloody brilliant. I stayed up to 7am to finish this book - and I don't regret a single minute of my missed sleep. It had everything I loved from Perfect Chemistry, only with leading characters that I not only liked - I loved.
Let's start with Carlos. When we are introduced to Carlos, he is exactly what he looks like: a thug. He's accepted that that is all anyone will ever see him as - a drug runner and a Very. Bad. Man. - and decided he might as well roll with it. In his mind, his brother is delusional to think he could ever be free from the prejudice - so why should he bother trying. That he's stuck living in his brother's apple-pie world? Not something Carlos is happy about.
But he can't fool us. You see, we saw kiddie!Carlos in Perfect Chemistry - so, deep down? We know he has the potential to be a good guy. If he can just allow himself to see that, we'd be home free. (Not to mention the fact that Carlos at his worst was still a nicer guy than badboy!Alex. But, never mind.)
Watching Carlos accept that he can change - and that he wants to change - was fantastic to read. He has the advantage of some kick-ass back up who helped him break away from gang violence. Although his fight against the baddies was easier than Alex's, his emotional struggle was a hell of a lot harder. And watching a character on the road to redemption? A hell of a lot better than watching some guy (*cough* Alex *cough*) who knows the right path but is too much of a coward to go down it.
Ok, that was harsh and I don't quite mean that - but you get my point.
And then there is Kiara. Oh, Kiara. *hugs* I absolutely loved Kiara - she's a such fantastic character. She makes salads with spinach, has a gay BFF, loves to go hiking and only buys organic meat. She's even had proper parenting - the type with open and frank discussions about sex and drugs and whatnot. In other words, Kiara would be my best friend if she actually - ya know - existed. Of course, Kiara's not perfect. She has some serious confidence issues and a terrible stutter - all of which made me love her more.
Anyhow, Carlos and Kiara made sense together in a way so few pairings do. Unlike Brittany and Alex, who were compatible because they were both caretakers as older siblings - Kiara and Carlos manage to be together without all that emotional angst. She softens his edges, and he gives her courage - they are healthy couple and it's fantastic to read.
Bottom line? Rules of Attraction made me a believer. A believer in true love, people's ability to really change, and ability of cookies to unite the world in songs of love and joy and happiness and... where was I? Oh yeah. READ THIS SERIES.