I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Wild Cards by Simone Elkeles
Series: Wild Cards #1
Published by Walker Books for Young Readers on October 1st 2013
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?
If there’s one author I can turn to for some top-notch contemporary fiction it is Simone Elkeles. So when I noticed that Wild Cards was on NetGalley I kinda went crazy with excitement. Even more so when my request got accepted, I’ll even admit to doing the whole ‘happy dance while squealing’ thing.
Simone Elkeles’ books have never disappointed me before and I can proudly state that Wild Cards is no exception to that rule. With great skill she once again manages to sweep me up in her story and have me relate to her characters with no difficulty at all. In my opinion Wild Cards had it all. It was an emotional (and sexy!) read laced with witty humor every now and then.
Derek and Ashtyn were clear and defined characters -both equally easy to relate to- whom I felt for throughout the entire book. Derek and Ashtyn were at each other’s throats most of the book, but the passion they both couldn’t deny was always just there. Derek’s though-guy attitude was clearly a façade, one you can see mirrored in Ashtyn as well. And it is when they let those guards down that you notice how much of a talented writer Simone is. Her writing is raw and her story character driven.
Derek was more than just this stereotype guy. Through his point of view you’re able to reach into his past and see this tender and sweet guy. All along he is always looking out for his family, even though he won’t admit it himself. I love how he explains why he stays away from Ashtyn to his little brother Julian, it’s a perfect example of the witty humor that is evident all through the book.
“Julian, sometimes girls are like junk food. They look good, and they sure taste good… but you know they’re not healthy for you and cause cavities so it’s better to just leave ‘em alone. Got me?”
Another of my favourite scenes is the ‘date’ scene. It was hilarious! You’ll understand what I mean when you read it yourself!
Ashtyn appeared to be a tough-girl through and through but there’s this soft side that she manages to hide very well. She’s pretty much one of the guys (of course she kinda has to be, being on the football team and all) She’s sassy, judgemental, strong-willed and a little bit mean at first, but that softer side appears more and more as the story progresses.
I loved how there was this strong undercurrent of football that drove the story along, and how Ashtyn played football as well. Ever since I went on the exchange to America a few years back I’ve really developed a liking for football and I love how it plays a big part in this book.
To sum things up, I think it is pretty safe to say that I loved this book. The five stars are well deserved and I absolutely can’t wait to get my hands on the next book in this series!