Review: Wild Cards by Simone Elkeles

Format: e-ARC
Publisher: Walker Books for Young Readers
Pages: 288 pages
Release Date: October 1, 2013
Source of my copy: publisher via Netgalley
Synopsis (from Goodreads)
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 was a guilty pleasure kind of YA read and I freakin' loved it! It was a potato chips kind of book--you know, a you-can't-just-read-one-chapter/it's-hard-to-stop-once-you-start-reading kind of book.

I love that it was an alternate perspective POV because I liked getting in both Derek and Ashtyn's head and know what each were thinking. Both had their own issues and challenges but they were very likable characters and I rooted for them both.

Derek was a hot Californian surfer dude who wears cowboy boots and has a Texan accent. He was an easygoing guy who didn't let anything get to him (until Ashtyn, that is). He got kicked out of a boarding school in California and was forced to move to Illinois with his new stepmom while his dad was deployed. He was just biding his time until he can graduate high school and then he can go off on his own. Derek came off as kind of an dumb prankster in the beginning but there was more to him as you get to know him character. He's was actually real sweetheart and a nice guy.

Ashtyn was a bit of a tomboy but girly at the same time--she's one of those cool girls who has the respect of her male teammates (I love her close friendship with some of the guys in her team) and she can also hangout with the girls. She's a star football player and she was hoping to win a scholarship, which she saw as her ticket out of her sucky home life with her dad who hardly paid any attention to her.

And then her older sister moved back home with her new stepson Derek, who immediately got under Ashtyn's skin. Yet underneath her animosity towards him, she couldn't help being attracted to Derek as well.

I was dying for them to get together but I also appreciated that the tension between was kept high all through the novel. I loved that anticipation for when they finally get together! It was what made Wild Cards so darn addicting. Oh, but the chemistry between Derek and Ashtyn ran hot right from the beginning and when they finally get together **fans self** Wild Cards is steamier than your average YA novel.

Wild Cards has all my favorite YA contemporary ingredients: high school and family drama, great romance, likable main characters, some awesome secondary characters, a road trip and it didn't take on any depressing issues. I didn't have any big complaints about this novel... maybe that the ending was a bit rushed and one or two of the secondary story lines didn't really have a clear conclusion but it was minor. It was just a fun, quick, enjoyable read. I enjoyed it A LOT more than I did Perfect Chemistry, the only other novel I read by the author.

If you like Lauren Barnholdt's Two-Way Street, Miranda Kenneally's Catching Jordan or books by Jennifer Echols, I recommend you pick up Wild Cards.


  1. I'm totally expecting this book to be fun. My co-blogger is reading it and she says that it's interesting to read and she's into it, but it's on the light side. I usually don't read lighter reads, but I have enjoyed Simone Elkeles books in the past so hopefully this one is as good! The anticipation especially sounds great :)

    -P.E. @ The Sirenic Codex

  2. yup, definitely on the light side. it didn't take on any serious issues and i really like that. definitely read it between sad books when you need a breather :)

  3. Guilty pleasure is the best way to describe this book. I had such fun reading it too!

  4. Awesome review!! Nailed it!

    I actually liked Perfect Chemistry a bit more than this one but I think that's b/c PC was so new to me - it was my first YA romance! I wonder who is next for Wild Cards???

  5. I'm glad you liked this one so much. I have to disagree though I really did like Perfect Chemistry a lot more than this book. I did like this one but it doesn't hold anything to Perfect Chemistry.

    Thanks for the great review!


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