My first book for this challenge is Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles.
I'd heard chatter about this series for a while now, but hadn't picked it up... until now.
Here's the blurb from Goodreads:
When Brittany Ellis walks into chemistry class on the first day of senior year, she has no clue that her carefully created “perfect” life is about to unravel before her eyes. She’s forced to be lab partners with Alex Fuentes, a gang member from the other side of town, and he is about to threaten everything she's worked so hard for—her flawless reputation, her relationship with her boyfriend, and the secret that her home life is anything but perfect. Alex is a bad boy and he knows it. So when he makes a bet with his friends to lure Brittany into his life, he thinks nothing of it. But soon Alex realizes Brittany is a real person with real problems, and suddenly the bet he made in arrogance turns into something much more. In a passionate story about looking beneath the surface, Simone Elkeles breaks through the stereotypes and barriers that threaten to keep Brittany and Alex apart.Holy schnikies this book was fantastic. I had no idea what I was missing. Why on EARTH did I wait so long to read it? The fast-paced writing had me flipping page after page. I liked how both Brittany and Alex were pretending to be someone they weren't, and managed to reveal this secret only to each other. I loved how Brittany was with her sister, and how Brittany felt such intense pressure from her mother. How Alex struggled with his place in the gang (yes an actual gang) and his devotion to his family. These characters all felt so real. I loved them and rooted for them the whole way. And the romance... hot. Sure, there's some cheesy dialogue, but it's worth it.
I snatched book two the other day and I can't wait to see what the next Fuentes brother is up to!