Oct 3, 2013

{Review} of Wild Cards by Simone Elkeles

Wild Cards by Simone Elkeles
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

GENRE: Young Adult Contemporary
THEME: Romance, Sport, And Family Drama
RECEIVED: Netgalley

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?


I read a lot for great reviews for Simone Elkeles novel Perfect Chemistry, so when I heard about Wild Cards I knew this was my chance to try out her story telling. Her wonderful character development hooked me from the beginning to end. Now I’m going to start her other books because I enjoyed this one so much.

Wild Cards follows Derek Fitzpatrick who has just been expelled from his school and reluctantly has to move to Chicago with his stepmother. While his dad is deployed with the military he’s pretty much stuck and Chicago is a big change for him. Thus he meets Ashtyn Parker the lone female on her football team. When her boyfriend and quarterback turns his back on the team, she must prove that she can be a leader. But that means she has to trust Derek who keeps getting under her skin and possibly in her heart.

Derek is definitely a bad boy, but mostly because he makes some mistakes that in the end get him in trouble. I really liked him; he has a good heart and just says or does the wrong thing at the wrong time. His character development was nicely done. He has a sad past and must try to move forward; luckily Ashtyn is the girl who makes him want to change. I love his relationship with his little stepbrother Julian, it was sweet and Julian was so cute looking up to Derek. He also gets dealt some difficult decisions from his grandmother and also memories of his past life with his mother. He has to choose between what he wants and letting the past go, it could change everything for him.

Ashtyn Parker’s one and only love is football, she has just been chosen over her boyfriend and star of the football team for an important position. What I enjoyed about her is that she never asked to be chosen over him but the team respected her so much that she was chosen. Her boyfriend was a jerk and handled everything selfishly. I felt bad for her but was glad she stood her ground and no matter what, wanted to prove she was a good football player. My only small issue with her was that she couldn’t make up her mind about Derek; she was very hot and cold. Luckily these two had such great chemistry, which will definitely make the readers squee like fan girls.

Overall this is a story that will hook you with the emotional sides of Derek and Ashtyns past’s, along with some fantastic secondary characters such as: Derek’s ditsy stepmother, prude grandmother, Ashtyns father and her hilarious teammates. I knew this was the first book in the series and I was left hanging a bit, but the readers do get answers. The plot flowed perfectly for a story that focused solely on these two characters and their romance. There is still so much to touch on from both families and I’m excited to see what Elkeles has coming. I can’t wait for the next book and see what happens once the football season starts and some rivalry begins!


This is a young adult novel with some minor adult scenes for an older teen reader. Fans of Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry and Catching Jordon by Miranda Kenneally will love Wild Cards.

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