Early Review: Wild Cards by Simone Elkeles

Wild Cards by Simone Elkeles

Wild Cards by Simone Elkeles
Series: Wild Cards #1
Publication Date: October 1st 2013
Purchase: Ebook • Hardcover
Source: I received an ARC from the publisher (Walker Children’s Books) in exchange for an honest review

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?

AH!! You have no idea how ecstatic I was to read this book. Because I just adore Simone Elkeles. I fell in love with her How to Ruin series and then I totally hit the jackpot with her Perfect Chemistry series. And once I found out she was going to write a new book, a new series, I totally fangirled! Wild Cards did remind me a bit of Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally (with the whole football player heroine), but I knew that Simone would put in that special spark that makes her characters so relatable and unique. And she did! I enjoyed Wild Cards very much!

I sort of flip flopped between liking Ashtyn one moment, and then not really feeling her the next. She’s an amazing football player, and while that’s definitely admirable, I know next to nothing about football. BUT Simone Elkeles is able to write Ashtyn in a way that I could still totally relate to and connect with. She’s a girl with big dreams, but she never really had anyone to support them or her. Even though she does have her football friends, she’s still lonely–until Derek comes in. But I did enjoy her character overall, mostly because of her growth and transformation, though not as much as I would have liked to. Throughout the book, Ashtyn learns to stand up for herself, to grow confident in who she is and who she’s meant to be. And I loved the fact that she never gives up on Derek. She gives her whole heart and effort for those she cares about, and Derek is one of them. The tension between them is off the charts!

Derek is the perfect mix of good guy and bad boy. And he’s got the rockin’ bod to top it all off 😉 YUM! Derek’s the type of guy who does what he wants and doesn’t care about what anyone thinks of him. He reminded me a bit of the Fuentes brothers from the Perfect Chemistry series (!!!) , with the bad-boyness and the sarcasm. So if you loved the Fuentes brothers, you’ll most likely fall for Derek too 😉 Derek’s got a lot of angst in him, which was perfect for me, because I love angtsy book boys! He’s got secrets from the beginning of the book, and he’s closed off. He hides his heart between a delicious wall of sarcasm, sexiness, and fantastic pranks. AKA he has a hard time opening his heart up to Ashtyn. He knows he wants her, but he doesn’t think he’s good enough for her. Grrr, the frustration!!

Ashtyn and Derek go head to head with each other all the time. It doesn’t help that the very first time they meet each other, Ashtyn stabs Derek in the foot with a pitchfork. I laughed SO hard at that. Seriously, if that scene doesn’t make you laugh, I don’t know what will. And while the entire book isn’t as ridiculously hilarious as that, there are still a whole bunch of funny moments. Derek has his fair share of laughs, with his endless wit and rebel attitude. *sigh* I just swoon so hard for a guy who can make me laugh. Plus, there’s the incredible tension that builds up between Derek and Ashtyn… whew! Very nicely done, Simone Elkeles. I was hooked onto their romance from the very beginning.

I finished this in a day, if that tells you anything. Everything you can expect from a Simone Elkeles book–a hot bad boy, funny, likable characters, a fantastic romance–is found in Wild Cards. I give it 4 hearts! Can’t wait to read the next book! (I’m hoping it’s Jet–who doesn’t believe in love. So excited to see if and how Simone will change that boy’s ways…)

4 hearts