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I Belong

Early Review: Wild Cards by Simone Elkeles

Title: Wild Cards

Author: Simone Elkeles

Genre: YA Contemporary

Series: Wild Cards (Book 1)

Publication Date: September 24, 2013

Format: Hardcover, 288 Pages

ISBN-10: 0802734375 (Bloomsbury)

ISBN-13: 978-0802734372 (Bloomsbury)

Reviewed by: Bridget


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?

Quick & Dirty: This was a steamy young adult contemporary with fun characters, laugh out loud moments, and a heartfelt story.  I really enjoyed it and would highly recommend it.

Opening Sentence: Getting caught wasn’t part of the plan.

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

Derek Fitzpatrick just got kicked out of boarding school in California, for one too many pranks.  It is the end of his junior year and now instead of spending to summer living in the dorms and partying with his friends he has to go and live with his stepmother.  His dad is in the Navy and will be unreachable for at least 6 months, and his mother passed away a few years ago.  His stepmother has decided to move back to her home town in Illinois while Derek’s dad is deployed.  So not only did he get kicked out of school, now he has to move across the country as well.  It’s just one year until graduation than he can leave and never look back.  Derek just wants to get through the year with no drama, but then he meets Ashtyn.

Ashtyn has just been voted captain of her high school football team.  She is the kicker and football is her life.  She has been dating the quarterback for about a year now and is hoping to land a college scholarship, but life doesn’t always go the way you plan.  Ashtyn’s home life has always been far from perfect.  Her mom left when she was little, and her dad quit being a parent when that happened.  She has an older sister who got pregnant and bailed years ago so Ashtyn has pretty much been alone most of her life.  Her sister has decided to come home and with her she is bringing her stepson who happens to be totally gorgeous, but he’s not the type of person she should get involved with.  When Ashtyn’s dreams are threatened there is only one person she can turn to for help.  Trusting Derek is a gamble but it’s one she is going to have to take.

Wild Cards alternates between Derek and Ashtyn’s point of view.   First you are introduced to Derek.  He is a hot California boy with a cowboy accent.  He moved around a lot growing up being from a military family, so he lived in the south for a while and picked up some of their customs.  He has a laid back personality and doesn’t take anything seriously if he can help it.  He doesn’t do commitments, and he doesn’t like drama.  I really liked Derek; he is sweet, respectful, gorgeous, and genuine.  Yeah, he has his flaws but that just made me like him even more.

Next we get to meet the spunky Ashtyn.  She is independent and she loves football.  She is a tomboy, but she is also a total girl. Everyone Ashtyn has ever loved has left her, so she has stopped letting people in.  She has friends and a boyfriend, but she has never truly trusted anyone.  To try and escape from her life she has put her soul into football.  Ashtyn is the type of girl that makes plans and doesn’t do the whole causal hookup scene.  I really loved Ashtyn, she is a strong character with a good voice.

When Derek and Ashtyn meet sparks fly.  They are total opposites, but you know how they say opposites attract.  Derek and Ashtyn drive each other nuts in more ways than one.  They are very attracted to each other, but they don’t see eye to eye on most issues.  Their relationship is rough, but sweet at the same time.  They have amazing chemistry and lots of sexual tension.  They both have had a hard past in their own way, but as they get to know each other they discover that they have more in common than they thought.

I really enjoyed Wild Cards.  This was a great book to satisfy my craving for a good YA contemporary novel.  It piqued my interest right away and the pacing was perfect.  There was just enough drama to keep things interesting.  The characters were well developed and easy to connect with, and the romance was sweet and steamy.  It pretty much had everything a good contemporary piece should have.  I will admit that the plot was predictable, but it was still very enjoyable.  I am super excited to get my hands on book two and read more of Derek and Ashtyn’s story.  I would highly recommend this book to anyone that enjoys romantic contemporary reads.

Notable Scene:

I hold up a hand, halting her tirade for the moment. Me, a thug?

That’s hilarious. This girl’s thug radar is way off. I don’t think I’ve ever been called a thug before. “I hate to break the news to you, sweetheart, but I’ve got no clue where Fairfield is.”

“Yeah, right. I’m not stupid. And I’m not your sweetheart. I don’t even fall for that really bad fake southern accent.” Rustling in the garden captures her dog’s attention. He abandons his post and leaps toward some unlucky critter. “Falkor, come back here!” she orders, but he ignores her.

“Put the pitchfork down, honey.” I take a step closer to her and the exit.

“Not on your life. I’m warning you…take one step closer and I’ll stab you.” One glance at her shaking hands tells me she doesn’t have the nerve to go through with her threat.

I put my hands up in mock surrender.

I wish this girl had an on/off switch so I could permanently shut her down. I’m standing directly in front of her now, the points of the pitchfork an inch away from my chest. “You really don’t want to stab me,” I tell her.

“Yes, I think I do.” The warrior girl blinks her fierce eyes. For a second I’m sure she’s about to lower her weapon, until I hear something creak behind me. As I glance over my shoulder, a bracket holding a bunch of tools on the wall crashes to the ground. The sound startles the girl and she drops the pitchfork. On my foot.

What the—

She stares at the pointed tine sticking out of my left shoe and her mouth opens in shock. Before I know it, she backs up and slams the door shut. I’m swallowed by darkness as I hear the padlock snap into place. Two thoughts cross my mind: she thinks I’m a thug and I think she’s a wackjob.

One of us is right, and it’s not her.

Wild Cards Series:

1. Wild Cards

FTC Advisory: Walker Books for Young Readers/Bloomsbury provided me with a copy of Wild Cards. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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2 Responses to “Early Review: Wild Cards by Simone Elkeles

  1. Rain MaidenNo Gravatar

    I love Simone’s stories, but was not real sure if I was going to like this one. Enjoyed your review, looks like I will be picking up this one as well.

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  2. BridgetNo Gravatar
    Author Comment

    This is my first book I have read by Simone but I have heard great things about her Perfect Chemistry series. After reading Wild Cards I think I will have to pick up the rest of her books.

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