I would argue that Romiette and Julio's feelings for each other are pretty similar. They both experience an immediate connection and attraction to one another after encountering each other in a chatroom. Having realized that they have a lot in common, they begin to chat privately, and both are thrilled to discover that they are not only the same age and live in the same town, but that they are in fact students at the same high school.
The differences between Romi and Julio lie firstly in their ethnicity, secondly in their sense of belonging, and thirdly in their status in the school's social structure.
With regard to their sense of belonging, Romi has grown up in Cincinnati, and is an accepted part of the social strata there. Julio, on the other hand, is brand new to the area. He and his family have relocated from Texas. Ironically, the reason for the family's relocation was to get Julio away from the dangerous gang situation that prevailed in their Texan community.
With regard to their status in the school's social structure, Romi enjoys a certain level of protection, due to the fact that she has grown up in the community—and more importantly, she is from the same racial and cultural group as her classmates. Julio, on the other hand, is an outsider in every way, and is targeted for abuse based on this. Thanks to his ethnicity, the local thugs deem him an unsuitable partner for Romi.
For Romi and Julio themselves, falling for each other is a natural progression—even when they are fighting for their lives.