Monday, September 09, 2013

Review: Wild Cards by Simone Elkeles

Title: Wild Cards (Wild Cards #1)
Author: Simone Elkeles
Publisher: Walker Books for Young Readers
Release date: October 1st 2013
Pages: 352
Genre: Young Adult contemporary romance
Source: BEA - I received a free advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thanks!
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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?
My rating: 3 out of 5 stars

I loved the Perfect Chemistry series, so I was really excited when I heard Simone Elkeles would be starting another Young Adult romance series. The set-up of the story is great. It's another love/hate story, exactly what Simone Elkeles does best. Sadly, though, I found the execution to be lacking, and I didn't like Wild Cards as much as the Perfect Chemistry books: it's an enjoyable read, but there were quite a few things about Wild Cards that didn't work for me.

Ashtyn and Derek are okay characters, but nothing special. I wish there'd been more showing and less telling: we're told Derek is a bad boy, but he never does more than play a relatively harmless prank. We're told Ashtyn is a football star, but we never actually get to see her play. We're told they have issues, but they never seem to struggle with anything other than their own stubbornness. 

The relationship between Ashtyn and Derek is, in a word, frustrating. I get that their fighting and going back and forth between hating and loving each other is the point, but it just got annoying after a while. Their feelings are so melodramatic: I wanted to tell them both to make up their minds and get over themselves. And it also bugged me that it's never even mentioned that their relationship is somewhat incestuous. They're not actually related, so this shouldn't have stopped them from doing anything. But I still found it strange how Ashtyn being Derek's step-aunt is never even mentioned in relation to them going out. That just seemed weird to me.

Other than romance, there really isn't much to the story. Both Ashtyn's and Derek's family storylines had potential but were never really elaborated on, which I found especially disappointing because these could have provided a better background for the issues in their relationship. 

Despite the melodrama and cliches, Wild Cards is an entertaining read. Simone Elkeles's style reads quickly, even when the story is underdeveloped. Wild Cards is a fun read, but it can't compare to the Perfect Chemistry series. I'm not sure whether I will be reading the rest of this series.


  1. Sorry to hear that you didn't enjoy this book as much as you had hoped to. I've yet to read anything by Elkeles, but I have this from Netgalley, and I was hoping to start it soon. I do want to read the Perfect Chemistry series though!

  2. I found this entertaining but didn't love it. There wasn't' much depth and I felt like Ashtyn had the potential to be an empowering example but pretty much just fell to pieces about Derek.


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