September 23, 2013

Wild Cards - Simone Elkeles

Wild Cards - Simone Elkeles
Wild Cards by Simone Elkeles
Series: Wild Cards #1
Publisher: Walker Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: October 1, 2013
Source/Format: Netgalley (Thanks Bloomsbury!) || e-galley
[I received this book from the publisher. This in no way affects the thoughts expressed in my 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? (from Goodreads)

To be completely honest, I don't remember much about Wild Cards at all, except the fact that I thought it was a "fun" read. It's one of those books that I enjoyed reading to pass the time, but didn't really linger with me afterward. Even though Elkeles' trademark writing style was certainly used, I'm still a bigger fan of her Perfect Chemistry series than of Wild Cards

As always, here are a few things I liked and didn't like about this book:

It's told in dual points of view, which gives readers the opportunity to really get to know Derek and Ashtyn. There's definitely something to be said for this writing style when it's done well, and in this case, it was. Having two points of view made it easier for the readers to get to know both Derek and Ashtyn as individuals. While I didn't connect with Ashtyn overall, Derek was surprisingly easy for me to like. Even with his reputation and antics, there was a connection with him and uncovering more of his story really cemented that.

The romance felt fairly predictable. Even though it was built up well, the romance fell short of my expectations. Instead of really swooning over these two, I was either ambivalent or simply amused. I'm honestly happy that these two have each other, sure. But it's not the kind of romance that causes me to feel all the things

Sports were a big part of this novel. Honestly, Ashtyn reminded me a lot of Jordan in Catching Jordan. While the two weren't exactly identical, there were a lot of similarities and I think that messed with my head while I was reading. It was still fun to read about Ashtyn's involvement in sports though, as I always think girls with athletic ability are so awesome.

Some of the things that went on were a bit too "much" for my tastes. There were certainly moments that had me rolling my eyes as I read, mostly because they seemed unlikely to occur in real life. Then again, who am I to judge what may or may not happen? For all I know, these could be real things that could happen to real people. In my opinion though, it was a little too over the top and kept taking me out of the story.

I adore Derek's grandmother. Derek's grandmother, for all her old-fashioned ways and slight prejudices, is pretty darn awesome. While I disliked her initially, she definitely grew on me as the novel progressed.

While Wild Cards was clearly lacking for me, it was enjoyable enough to pass the time with. Do I regret reading this book? Not at all, as it kept me entertained and introduced me to Derek and his grandma. Will I read the next book in the series? Probably not.


  1. I just read this recently and enjoyed it! Def a fun, entertaining read for me that I was able to breeze through in a couple hours. But also I agree, it's not a story that lingered with me afterward. I did like Derek a lot though. Like you, I didn't connect to Ashtyn nearly as much but I warmed up to her as the story progressed.

    Also - I still haven't read the Perfect Chemistry series but maybe I should check it out :)

  2. Given how much I enjoyed Elkeles' Perfect Chemistry series I was greatly looking forward to the release of Wild Cards! That said, it seems the general consensus about this novel has been rather lacklustre. While most seem to think it's an 'okay' read, I haven't seen an overwhelming amount of praise or strong feelings about it one way or the other, which is disappointing in and of itself. I do like that the novel is told from a dual point-of-view, though. When well done I love the opportunity it affords to get to know both characters more intimately and I love seeing the same event from two drastically different perspectives.

    I think the jury's still out on whether or not I'll eventually read this one. I did enjoy Elkeles' work in the past but I no longer feel compelled to read her latest release after reading some recent reviews on it. This one will likely sit on the back burner for some time, but I'm sure that my curiosity will eventually get the better of me ;)

  3. This one definitely lacked for me in certain areas and I really didn't connect to their love story. It just didn't seem real to me or that it had any substance. Honestly, the story kind of dragged for me. Glad to know we have similar thoughts on it. Great review!

    AKA Vi3tBabe
    Deity Island

  4. You know I wasn't a huge fan of Perfect Chemistry, so this makes me sad to see that you didn't like this one as much as even that one. :( I did grab this at BEA. I love books that involve sports and that cover pulls me in big time, but I don't see myself reading it anytime soon.

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  6. I was really excited for this one but have been seeing kind of mediocre reviews. I actually haven't read perfect chemistry yet either! I'll have to check that one out instead. =)

  7. Of the reviews I've seen for this book, people who have read Perfect Chemistry tend to note that WC is lesser. Makes me really want to try PC as I enjoyed WC, my first Elkeles, a lot!


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