Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Wild Cards by Simone Elkeles

From Bloomsbury:

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?

The first in a new series, fans of Simone Elkeles will go crazy for this sexy, angsty love story.  I will definitely be marking my calendar for book 2!

The Bad:
There were a couple of inconsistencies in Wild Cards that I had a hard time with.  The first was that Derek was supposed to be a bad boy, but he was the farthest thing from a bad boy that you can find.  A prankster, perhaps.  Devastated by his mother's death and his father's deployment - absolutely.  Bad boy?  No way.  Secondly, Ashtyn is supposed to be this super strong and smart girl, which she is for the most part, but she's dating and "in love" with this total asshat, who whines because she doesn't put out, throws a fit whenever she is recognized for any accomplishments, is abusive and ultimately betrays his team and everyone he calls a friend.  This "relationship" does not fit Ashtyn's character at all.  I had a really hard time believing that relationship and reconciling that plot line.

The Good:
This was my first Simone Elkeles book and I can see why she has such a dedicated following.  Despite the inconsistencies above, I really liked Wild Cards - especially that it was set mostly in Chicago (what can I say, I love it when I can actually relate to the settings).  Derek's pain was honest and realistically depicted.  I was fascinated by his character, and he was by far my favorite (not just because he was hot, protective and sweet).  

Ashtyn was, for the most part, a great, strong heroine.  She's an individual that doesn't try to join the crowd and accepts with grace that she is different and that will cause her to be treated differently and force her to work harder to prove herself.  With the exception of her idiocy in dating a tool, I enjoyed her character as well.  

The story itself was interesting and had me all full of the feels.  If you love the angsty books like BiblioJunkie Nat, you will definitely want to read Wild Cards.  BUT, it's not just for the angst-lovers.  I am definitely anti-angst and I enjoyed it too.  :-)


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