Sunday, 30 March 2014

Review: Wild Cards by Simone Elkeles

Title: Wild Cards (Wild Cards #1)
Author: Simone Elkeles
Release date: October 1st 2013
Publisher: Walker Books
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Format: eBook
Pages: 261

After getting kicked out of boarding school, bad boy Derek Fitzpatrick has no choice but to live with his ditzy stepmother while his military dad is deployed. Things quickly go from bad to worse when he finds out she plans to move them back to her childhood home in Illinois. Derek’s counting the days before he can be on his own, and the last thing he needs is to get involved with someone else’s family drama.

Ashtyn Parker knows one thing for certain--people you care about leave without a backward glance. A football scholarship would finally give her the chance to leave. So she pours everything into winning a state championship, until her boyfriend and star quarterback betrays them all by joining their rival team. Ashtyn needs a new game plan, but it requires trusting Derek—someone she barely knows, someone born to break the rules. Is she willing to put her heart on the line to try and win it all?

Wild Cards has a similar premise to Out of Play by Nyrae Dawn and Jolene Perry, which I adored. So I thought I'd love this one just as much, but it fell a little short of my expectations. That's not to say I didn't enjoy it, though, because I really did. And I loved Derek! His banter with Ashtyn was hilarious, and he's just really funny in general. But there were a few little issues I had with the book.

Derek gets expelled from school after one too many pranks, and right after, his stepmom tells him they're moving to Chicago. Derek obviously doesn't want to go, but he doesn't have a choice, since his dad is constantly out at sea with the Navy. When Derek gets to Illinois, he meets Ashtyn. Well, she threatens him with a pitchfork. It's all very sweet. Ashtyn is the new captain of her high school football team, and all she wants is to get her team to the state championship. Her dream falls apart when her boyfriend leaves to join their rivals, leaving her team vulnerable and without a good quarterback. But Ashtyn finds out a secret about Derek, something that will help her. And all she needs is to get Derek to cooperate, but it's definitely harder than it looks.

I wanted to love Ashtyn, because she sounds like the kind of girl I love reading about. She's the only girl on the football team, and she's voted captain. I really admire her for that, and for her drive in the sport. But she really doesn't act like the tough girl she seems to be. Ashtyn's dating a complete tool, and I don't know why she stayed with him that long. Also, she keeps switching personalities between a tough football-playing chick and a weak, jealous girly-girl. Make up your mind, woman! Plus, she's in denial way too much regarding her feelings about Derek.

And that brings me to another point I found weird. Ashtyn's sister Brandi is Derek's stepmom. They all live in the same house in Illinois. Derek is Ashtyn's step-nephew! That is one crazy family tree, isn't it? And considering that Ashtyn and Derek end up together, I'm trying to imagine how much more messed up their family would get if the two got married. That's one bunch of tangles I don't want to separate out.

I really liked Derek, though. He's so refreshing - humourous, witty, gorgeous of course, and quite secretive. He's basically the highlight of the novel. I loved the light-heartedness of the insults constantly traded by him and Ashtyn. It's like they really wanted to hate each other in the beginning. But what I didn't like is the insta-lust. Not love, thankfully, because that's worse. But Derek and Ashtyn feel a connection right from the moment they meet, and they can't stop thinking about how attractive the other is. Give me a break, they just met and they're related to each other!

Both Derek and Ashtyn have their own issues to deal with, and I think it's sweet how they helped each other. You can tell they really care about one another though they don't show it much on the outside. Derek even got over the pain he felt after his mom died years ago, and picked up a football again. All for Ashtyn. There's this really sweet thing he does for her at the end that made me love him even more. 

Ashtyn's teammates are really awesome too, and it was cool how they looked out for her like she was their sister. I have a pretty good idea who the next book will be following, and I'm definitely looking forward to reading that.

I enjoyed reading Derek and Ashtyn's story, and the ending was great. The tension between the two characters was done really well, it was so realistic. And I liked that secondary characters didn't take a back seat. This isn't too romance-focused, which I was grateful for. All in all, Wild Cards is an enjoyable read, and I'll definitely be picking up the next book.

Rating: 3/5


  1. Sounds like a good read! I love romance books that also feature sports, so I'll have to add this one to my TBR! Thanks for sharing! :-)
    Megan @ Books i View

  2. I read Wild Cards a while back and although I liked it I have to say it wasn't as good as I had hoped it would be. Glad you enjoyed it though and nice review!


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