Publisher: Walker Books for Young Readers
Publication date: October 1st 2013
My rating: 4 stars
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?
I’ve been a huge fan of Simone Elkeles since reading Perfect Chemistry, so I was excited (and a little nervous) when I heard she would be coming out with a book! Turns out I didn't need to be nervous, because Wild Cards ended up being a sweet romance filled with simmering attraction.
Ashtyn is a girl with a plan and the motivation to carry it out. She’s all about football and she’s good enough to be captain of her high school team. A guys team (mostly), mind you. She hopes to be good enough to catch the attention of college recruiters and get a scholarship. It’s admirable that she’s so driven because she basically has no parental guidance with her mother abandoning them and her father heartbroken and checked out.
Derek is exactly the opposite. With no parental supervision, he’s free to do what he wants. Like most teenage boys left to their own devices, he gets into trouble by pulling a school prank that gets him expelled. With nowhere else to go, he’s forced to pick up and move to Chicago into the childhood home of his stepmom, Brandi. Brandi is also the older sister of Ashtyn so this is where these two meet and collide!
Ashtyn takes one look at Derek, gorgeous with his cocky attitude and an abundant ego, and wants nothing to do with him. Derek knows Ashtyn’s type, too. He’s only looking for a good time and she’s a “forever” type of girl. Yet, they can’t help the attraction and chemistry that overrides their minds. Derek and Ashtyn exchange snarky, fun, and flirtatious banter that expose hints of their true feelings.
“I’m not done. Take your shirt off and I’ll check your ribs.”
“If I get undressed, you’re gonna want to do more than check my ribs.” ……
“Want me to take my pants off, too?” he jokes as he wags his brows suggestively. “I might have some swelling down there.”*
I loved every time Derek called Ashtyn “Sugar Pie” and could clearly hear his southern drawl in my head (so sexy!). I love Simone’s slow-build romances and that’s exactly what we get in Wild Cards. The relationship between Ashtyn and Derek begins antagonistically (one of my favorite types of romances!) but turns into something more.
I did really like both characters, Ashtyn for her drive and sincerity, and Derek for his big heart and protective tendencies, but I did have some issues with both of them. Ashtyn drove me a little nuts for the first half of the book for being so clueless over her crap boyfriend, and by constantly pushing Derek away, denying her feelings for him. The roles reversed by the second half of the book, and then Derek was ticking me off for pushing Ashtyn away when he clearly had strong feelings for her.
With all that said, I think Wild Cards will appeal to any Simone Elkeles fan, really any contemporary romance fan. Her tone and brand of writing is evident and addictive.
A copy was provided by Walker Books in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!
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