Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Simone Elkeles  

Pen Name: Simone Schlechter


Audience: Adult; Young Adult;

Born: 1970 in Chicago, Illinois

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Illinois Connection

Elkeles was born and raised in the Chicago area and graduated from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign and Loyola University. She currently resides in Buffalo Grove.

Biographical and Professional Information

Simone Elkeles is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of novels for teens. Simone’s books have won many awards including being YALSA Top Ten Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers, being named to the YALSA Popular Paperbacks and Teens Top Ten lists. Simone also won the coveted RITA award from the Romance Writers of America for her book ''Perfect Chemistry''. Simone is especially proud of the fact that the Illinois Association of Teachers of English named her Author of the Year.

Selected Titles At Your Library

How to ruin a summer vacation /
ISBN: 0738709611. OCLC Number:

Flux,. Woodbury, Minn. :. 2006.

When sixteen-year-old Amy, a spoiled American, goes to Israel for a three-month summer vacation with a father she barely knows, she is not prepared for his Jewish family and the changes they bring about in her life.

How to ruin my teenage life /
ISBN: 0738710199. OCLC Number:

Flux,. Woodbury, Minn. :. 2007.

Living with her Israeli father in Chicago, seventeen-year-old Amy Nelson-Barak feels like a walking disaster, worried about her "non-boyfriend" in the Israeli army, her mother, new stepfather, and the baby they are expecting, a new boy named Nathan who has moved into her apartment building and goes to her school, and whether or not she really is the selfish snob that Nathan says she is.

How to ruin your boyfriend's reputation /
ISBN: 0738718793. OCLC Number:

Flux,. Woodbury, Minn. :. ©2009.

During the summer between her junior and senior year of high school, spoiled Chicagoan Amy Nelson-Barak volunteers for Israeli military boot camp when she learns that her boyfriend, a commando in the Israeli Defense Force, will be at the same military base.

Leaving Paradise /
ISBN: 0738710180. OCLC Number:

Flux,. Woodbury, Minn. :. 2007.

In alternating chapters, seventeen-year-olds Caleb and Maggie relate the difficulties of readjusting to school, and changing relationships with family, friends, and one another, a year after a drunk driving accident sent her to the hospital with a crippling leg injury and him to prison.

Return to Paradise /
ISBN: 0738718688. OCLC Number:

. .

In alternating chapters, Caleb and Maggie relate the struggles of being reunited after nearly a year apart when both join a group of teens affected by drunk driving, and finally facing their true feelings for one another.

Perfect chemistry /
ISBN: 0802798225. OCLC Number:

. .

When wealthy, seemingly perfect Brittany and Alex Fuentes, a gang member from the other side of town, develop a relationship after Alex discovers that Brittany is not exactly who she seems to be, they must face the disapproval of their schoolmates--and others.

Rules of attraction /
ISBN: 0802722903. OCLC Number:

Walker & Co.,. New York :. 2010.

Living on the University of Colorado-Boulder campus with his older brother Alex, a college student and ex-gang member, high school senior Carlos is not ready to give up his wild ways until he meets a shy classmate named Kiara and becomes unwillingly involved in a drug ring.

Chain reaction /
ISBN: 0802727980. OCLC Number:

Walker & Co.,. New York :. 2011.

When he returns to Illinois and the gang culture on the south side of Fairfield after six years in Colorado, high school senior Luis Fuentes, who dreams of becoming an astronaut, falls for a girl and enters a dark world after learning some disturbing news about his family.

Better than perfect /
ISBN: 0802737250. OCLC Number:

. .

Derek Fitzpatrick is kicked out of boarding school and must move with his stepmother to her childhood home in Illinois, where he meets Ashtyn Parker, who may be able to achieve her dream with Derek's help.

Wild crush :
ISBN: 1620511959. OCLC Number:

. .

"Bad boy Vic Salazar breaks all the rules except one: don't' make a move on your best friend's girl. It's a Guy Code that Vic lives by. It doesn't matter that he's had a crush on her for years. Monika Fox is off limits. Monika Fox has a secret of her own and when a tragedy throws her and Vic together, the only boy she trusts is the one she shouldn't confide in. Vic. As Vic struggles to keep his distance, and Monika struggles with her secrets, will their wild connection violate every rule both vowed never to break - about relationships, about friendship, about love?" -- back cover.


How to Ruin


  • Popular Paperback for Young Adults, YALSA, 2013
  • Illinois Read for a Lifetime Reading List, 2008 2009
  • Teens Top Ten List, YALSA, 2007
  • Silver medal in Multicultural Childrens fiction, IPPY, 2007
  • Finalist, Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence Contest
  • Finalist, National Readers Choice Awards
  • Finalist, Aspen Gold Book Awards
  • Remarkable Reads, School Library Journal
  • Winner, Chick Lit Stiletto Contest, 2004
  • Young Adult book on the Anti-Defamation League website
  • Leaving Paradise


  • Abraham Lincoln Illinois High School Book Award list, 2010
  • RITA Award Finalist for Young Adult Romance, 2008
  • 2007 Summer Picks List, Book Sense
  • Perfect Chemistry


  • ILLINOIS READS Book Selection, Illinois Reading Council, 2013
  • New York Times Bestselling Series
  • Switzerland Bookstar Award, 2012
  • Popular Paperback for Young Adults, YALSA, 2012
  • Eliot Rosewater Book Award, Indiana High School, 2011-2012
  • Abraham Lincoln Award List, 2011
  • Top Ten Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Readers, YALSA, 2010
  • RITA award winner for Best Young Adult Romance, Romance Writers of America, 2010
  • Kentucky Bluegrass High School Book Award List, 2010
  • Pennsylvania Young Readers Choice Award in the YA division, 2010-2011
  • DAMA Award - Best Young Adult Romance in Spanish, Club Romantica, 2010

    Body of Work

  • Illinois Author of the Year, Illinois Association of Teachers of English, 2008

    Speaking Engagements

    Speaking Engagement Availability (Yes)

    Elkeles is represented by Kristin Nelson at the Nelson.

    For school visits

    , contact


    Letters can be mailed to

    318 Half Day Road #331 Buffalo Grove, IL 60089