Wild Cards (Wild Cards #1) by Simone Elkeles
Expected Publication: September 24, 2013
Publisher: Walker Books for Young Readers
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.My Thoughts
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?
When Derek is expelled from Regents Preparatory Academy in California after pulling a prank during the senior’s graduation ceremony, he’s forced to move with his stepmother to Chicago until his father returns from his tour in the service. The summer ahead of him is sure to be filled with huge adjustments, which he’s prepared to face; that is until he meets his stepmother’s younger sister Ashtyn and the heat is suddenly turned up on his summer plans.
Ashtyn Parker has no idea how drastically her life is about to change when Derek and her older sister move into their small farm-style home. As it is, she’s already feeling the repercussions from being voted Captain of the football team, which is not all positive. After being abandoned by her mom and living with a checked-out father, football is all she has; and she puts her whole heart into the game. After three years of proving herself on the field, everyone (except for her QB boyfriend Landon) comes to see her as the leader of the team.
When trouble begins to brew between Derek and Ashtyn, they make a pact to stay out of each other’s business and simply try to get through the summer, but the more they interact - the more the attraction grows between these two.
It feels like too much time had passed since I’ve had the pleasure of reading one of Simone Elkeles’s books. I’ve read absolutely everything she’s put out there and her storytelling is always a sure hit with me. I love her humor, characters and plotlines. I can read her books in one sitting because she has a way of quickly capturing my attention and keeping it with her unique sense of humor.
Wild Cards was no exception! I really came to like both Derek and Ashtyn quite a bit. There growing relationship had a ton of starts and stops, but it never lacked chemistry and power. I loved their dialog and Derek’s Southern drawl added a nice little flair to the mix. I admired Ashtyn and how she faced the obstacles that came her way, especially when it came to her passion for the game and her emotionally absent father. A small part of me wished she would have shown the same tenacity and care with Derek at times, but overall I feel she handled herself well.
Derek had his moments. I probably shouldn’t admit this, but I loved the prank he “almost” pulled off at Regents. That had me laughing from the start. I also appreciated his retaliation prank he anonomsouly executed on Ashtyn’s rival team after what they did to her house. The fact that he didn’t gloat or take credit for it, when clearly he would have benefited from the notoriety made me like him even more. I knew Landon was no good from the start, and I was pleased with how Ashtyn ended things with him.
Now, one thing that I’m a huge sucker for is good art cover on books. I feel the cover of this book is a perfect fit for the storyline, but the title has me confused. Wild Cards doesn’t quite seem to go with the story, and I believe it was only used once to describe Derek, so that threw me off a bit. I guess I was prepared to read a story about poker and football... clearly I was wrong. Another item that caught me off guard was the ending of this story. Elkeles has a knack for ending her stories with a strong punch that ties everything together, but for some reason the last 15% of this book sort of lost its focus. However, that didn’t’ stop me from falling for her newest release, and I just hope we don’t have to wait as long for the next book. Really enjoyed this one!
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