Title: Wild Cards
Author: Simone Elkeles
Series: Wild Cards, #1
Publisher: Walker Books for Young Readers
Publish Date: October 1, 2013
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance

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?

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The Gist

First 50%: Boring and frustrating.
Next 40%: Gets a bit more feels from me.
Last 10%: Now that’s what I love about Simone Elkeles.

Why? (This is where the review gets incoherent.)

I didn’t mind the cringe-worthy synopsis since I am a huge fan of Simone Elkeles’ past works. I’ve loved both her Perfect Chemistry and Leaving Paradise books. Both series were filled with such raw emotion and well-developed characters.

Wild Cards, though? Not so much. The first half was just the characters denying their feelings, bitching at each other and well, being boring and cliche characters!

See, I had this issue with their romance (which progressed better after the 60% mark). For Ashtyn and Derek, the main problem of liking each other was that they basically had opposite personalities. I think a bigger problem should be that Derek’s stepmother is Ashtyn’s sister. I mean, wouldn’t that just create a whole lot of awkwardness?

This book was also another case of insta-love. “There’s some kind of energy flying between us,” was what Derek said, 12% into the book. C’mon, dude, let’s be real!

I wouldn’t forget the characters’ slightly irritating names (I’m not saying oddly-spelled names are bad–I just don’t like seeing them in books) and cliche personalities:

  • Ashtyn Parker: The perfectionist who’s blind to her boyfriend’s jerk-ness.
  • Derek Fitzpatrick (his name’s okay): The “bad boy” (although I didn’t see this in the book, aside from being a person who doesn’t follow rules–I do that too! Am I bad girl?)
  • Monika: *cringe* Preppy, annoying best friend who makes out with her boyfriend in front of everyone else.
  • Landon: The “boyfriend” and “jerk”.

It was only the ending that reminded me that this book was written by Simone Elkeles: tears were shed, feels were felt–that’s how the whole book should’ve been!



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