Monday, November 25, 2013

Review: Wild Cards by Simone Elkeles

Title: Wild Cards
Series: Wild Cards #1
Author: Simone Elkeles
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary Fiction
Setting Location: California, United States ; Illinois, United States ; Texas, United States
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Format: Hardcover, 342 Pages
ISBN: 9780802734372
Release Date: October 1, 2013
Source: Wentworth Library
Rating: 5/5

Tagline(s): Love is the toughest game of all.

Summary: 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?


Wild Cards brings us the story of Derek and Ashtyn. Derek Fitzpatrick moves to Chicago with his stepmother after he is expelled from his private school for letting loose some pigs as a prank at the senior graduation. It is there, in his new home, that he meets Ashtyn Parker. Through a series of events Derek and Ashtyn learn what it means to love and forgive, while navigating the world of high school football.

Derek was a prodigy quarterback on the fast track to the NFL, when his mother was diagnosed and later died of lung cancer. At the end, when she was calling for him, Derek chose to go to football practice before going to the hospital, and when he finally got there is was too late. That choice has haunted him ever since, and he hasn't touched a football again. He doesn't take anything seriously anymore and only has casual hookups with girls, but when he meets Ashtyn when he moves to Chicago with his stepmother, that begins to change.

Ashtyn is the kicker for her high school's varsity football team, and recently appointed captain. She is the opposite of Derek in almost every way. She takes everything seriously and only wants a serious relationship. She wants someone who will love her unconditionally and won't leave her like so many others in her life have. They both have one thing in common: football. One will do anything to play the game, and the other will do anything to avoid going out onto the field.

I fell in love with this story from the very beginning. I really liked the dynamic between Derek and Ashtyn, not to mention the steamy makeout sessions. Everyone loves those swoony moments. I also like how football factors into the whole story. It's a prevalent part of the story and plays a major role in all the characters lives. There is one character that I found immensely entertaining and that was Derek's grandmother. She is a total snob and isn't afraid to say what she's thinking, but underneath all her haughtiness you can tell that she truly cares for Derek. She just covers it up with her snobbery.

Wild Cards ends with a very emotional and satisfying conclusion. I'm really looking forward to seeing where this series will go next. Will the next book be from a new characters point of view or will it continue with Derek and Ashtyn? Either way, I can't wait to read about the Fremont High football gang again.

About this Author:

Simone Elkeles is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of novels for teens. Simone’s books have won many awards including being YALSA Top Ten Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers, being named to the YALSA Popular Paperbacks and Teens Top Ten lists, and added to the Illinois “Read for a Lifetime” Reading List. Simone also won the coveted RITA award from the Romance Writers of America for her book Perfect Chemistry. Simone is especially proud of the fact that the Illinois Association of Teachers of English named her Author of the Year.

Simone was born and raised in the suburbs of Chicago, where she still lives today. Simone went to the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign and received her Bachelor’s of Science there in Psychology in 1992. She continued her education at Loyola University-Chicago where she received her Master’s of Science degree in Industrial Relations while working for a manufacturing company creating diversity programs for their employees.

She loves animals (she has two dogs – a labradoodle and a German Shepherd), kids (she also has two of those) and her family. In her spare time she’s the Hockey Mom for her kids hockey teams and is an active Girl Scout leader specially trained in outdoor education. She also spends time mentoring other teen and adult authors. (She also loves sushi, which you can probably tell by reading her books.) Simone writes about teens because she was a teen in the 80’s (when spiked hair and blue eye shadow were “rad”) and she loves writing about those exciting teen relationships and romances.

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