Title: Wild Cards [Goodreads][Amazon]
Author: Simone Elkeles
Publisher: Walker Books for Young Readers
Release Date: October 1, 2013
In My Opinion: Worth a try!
One Line: While it has a strong start, it sort of fizzles out after that and became a bland read for me.
About the Book: 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 is one of those books where I wanted to like it a lot more than I actually did. It was okay. I definitely liked how dedicated female protagonist was to football, going against the odds, but as far as the romance goes, I just wasn’t feeling it. I still think Elkeles does a great job at creating a lot of angst, and she sure knows how to get you riled up about a character, bringing out plenty of emotions, albeit, frustrating ones, but in a good way. The storyline, overall, though, didn’t draw me in and catch my attention like I was hoping for. Another thing that really got to me was how drawn out the whole thing was, up until the very end, when things were so rushed and a bit out of sync with the rest of the book.
Ashtyn’s character started out so strong. I really loved that she was a football player, dealing with a lot of adversity, and sticking to what she was passionate about, even though no one really supported her. Even though her love for the game and determination to show just how great a football player she is was evident, I had a lot of issues with her as a person. I hated how she was with her boyfriend, Landon. For being such a strong person on the field, she was the total opposite off it. I also found it annoying, and a bit hard to believe, that she didn’t see all the truths that were so obviously right in front of her, like Landon’s true personality and Derek’s feelings towards her. And, to top it all off, I didn’t like the way she handled Derek and his secret (when she finally found out). As the story progressed, I found her to be selfish, narrow-minded, and insensitive, so much so that I couldn’t see her appeal to Derek, except for the fact that she challenged him.
Derek was an okay male lead. While I didn’t fall for him, I definitely didn’t hate him. I sympathized for him and his secret. He put up with crap from a lot of people (especially from Ashtyn and all her drama) and was genuinely a nice guy. Sure, he slept around and never got serious with girls, but that was barely the case while in the actual story. It was easy to see he was putting up a facade and even though he had a sad past, it wasn’t as developed or deep as others I’ve come across. I felt like this was more of Ashtyn’s book and I didn’t really feel much of anything for Derek.
While this wasn’t as engaging as I was hoping for, I honestly did still enjoy it, to a certain extent. The romance felt a forced at times and there wasn’t nearly as much “substance” to it as I typically like, but it fit the characters, I guess. This is one of those times were the characters have an obvious attraction to one another, challenge each other, and then “fall in love”. I couldn’t really connect to them as a couple. Regardless, I’m curious to see where Elkeles is going with this series and I’ll definitely check out the second book to see how it goes, just not any time soon.