Friday, October 04, 2013

Review: Wild Cards by Simone Elkeles

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I received this book for free from Bloomsbury in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Wild Cards by Simone ElkelesWild Cards by Simone Elkeles
Series: Wild Cards #1
Published by Walker Books for Young Readers on October 1st 2013
Genres: Contemporary, YA
Source: Bloomsbury
Buy on Amazon

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?

A true feel-good book, Wild Cards is the “happily every after” story we all need once in a while. It may have clichés, but you read this book for the sappy, yet edgy romance that it is.

Ashtyn and Derek make up our dual perspective in Wild Cards. I found them both amusing but I connected with Ashtyn the most. Football captain with abandonment issues, she doesn’t make things easy on herself. I didn’t quite understand why she let her ex-boyfriend get the best of her, however. It was obvious he was cheating on her and although she has trust issues she seemed to not really care. That bothered me a bit, but her fierce determination is what made me root for her. She’s set on proving she’s just as worthy a football player as any guy. When she goes to football camp and all the boys sabotage her game, she keeps a strong head and take them head on. I loved this most about her. She’s not perfect – especially in being honest about her feelings – but these flaws are what made her real to me.

Derek has a bad boy facade but really he’s just a big softie. His snark had me snickering a time or two, and his big heart had me grinning from ear to ear. He does come with his own baggage and secrets. His reminiscing about his mother’s cancer especially tugged at my heart. He hasn’t had the easiest childhood. The talents he hides due to this past are not meant to be big twists – I knew exactly how the book would end fairly early on – but the anticipation of waiting for Ashtyn to find out is what keeps that side of the plot engaging.

Ashtyn and Derek both deny they’re into each other at first. This actually works to build a magnetic field between them, one filled with sparks and chemistry. They do drop the “love bombs” kind of quick, but the connection that began to form through hostility and banter actually feels genuine, and thus I wasn’t bothered by the hastiness like some might be. I think I was just in the right mood for this book. It gave me all of the fluttery butterflies!

I’m a huge fan of sports-themed books – which is odd because I suck at all sports and I rather poke my eyeballs out than suffer through watching them, but when it comes to books or movies I simply love the feel of being part of a team. The team dynamic and easy camaraderie between players are the best. Wild Cards may not hold a candle to some of my favourites like Catching Jordan and Ready. Set. Match, but it’s still a diverting read that had me cheering them on and left me with a smile on my face.


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Canadian blogger, wife, mother, coffee lover, and sarcastic at heart! She has had a love for all things bookish since before Amazon and eReaders existed *le gasp*. You can also find her organizing tours and other fun things at Xpresso Book Tours.

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20 Responses to “Review: Wild Cards by Simone Elkeles”

  1. Mary @ BookSwarm

    I NEED MORE READING TIME!! This one’s a pretty short one so I think I can get it done pretty quickly — but I need time to read NOW! Love a quick and sweet romance that tincludes sports (I really only watch…I’m not coordinated enough to play).

  2. JennRenee

    I love Simone’s books. I haven’t read one I didn’t love. I was weary of this one because of the sports theme. I actually rather watch them then read about them. I know I will end up reading this one and I am sure I will love it. great review.

  3. Alicia

    I need to read this :)) Did you watch yr YouTube episodes now that you’re finished the book? I can’t remember where I saw it but I think the next book follows Victor.

  4. Melanie (YA Midnight Reads)

    There were flaws in this book- glaringly large however like you said, if you’re in the right mood then it’s a really good read. I still wasn’t a big fan of their romance all together though, it took a long time for me to find it ‘okay’

    Great review, Giselle! <33

  5. Candace

    I’m glad this one worked for you because I’ve heard a lot of mixed things about it. I have an ARC but have put off reading it. I’m much more excited to pick it up now!

  6. Savannah

    Love this review! I love feel good gushy books because sometimes you just need that. I think this story will work out for me. I love romance.

  7. Henrietta

    I like the sound of chemistry between Derek and Ashtyn! I’ve only read a few sports-themed stories – I think this would be a nice addition to my read list. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  8. kimbacaffeinate

    Wonderful review Giselle and I so love these dual perspectives, it really allows me to relate to the characters and their emotions. Derek and Ashtyn sound like the work as a couple and like you I appreciate sports related themes.

  9. Jennifer Bielman

    I so need a HEA right. And I am totally digging sports themed books too. I was nervous about this one because two peeps I know haven’t liked it but I am still excited for it.

  10. Emily

    Ooh! A sports themed romance 😉 Glad you enjoyed this one, Giselle!
    There sounds like there’s a great chemistry between the Derek and Ashtyn! Like you, I also like reading sports books and movies, because of the excellent team dynamics and camaraderie between the players! 😀
    I’ve heard a lot about this one… Perhaps when I have time I’ll pick it up!
    Fantastic review Giselle! <3

  11. Aman

    “Big softie” lol but it’s true! Derek was my fave, his playfulness and sarcastic nature was the best. I loved his reaction to “searching his room” scene!! Though I did have some issues with Ashtyn, besides the ex-boyfriend thing, I didn’t like how she was always up in Derek’s business. Still, I can’t wait to see who the next couple is going to be! Great review, Giselle! 🙂

  12. Chri @ Fathomless

    I love sports-themed romances snd Simone Elkeles’s books, so I’m probably (hoping!) that I’ll love Wild Cards. I love the sound of Derek – yay for snark and big hearts! – and Ashtyn sounds like an interesting MC. Real. I’ll be reading this one really soon, and now I’m really excited 😀 Great review!

  13. Amy @ Book Loving Mom

    I’m so glad that you liked this one!! I have read a lot of mixed reviews about it and was starting to get nervous about reading it. We tend to like the same things so I have higher hopes about this than I did before. Fabulous review.

  14. Pili

    Great review Giselle! I’ll definitely will keep this book in mind for when I’m in need of a feel-good book with HEA ending!

  15. Kristin @ My ParaHangover

    bwahahaha… I pretty much said the same exact thing 😀 I think we were both thinking “classic Elkeles”, huh?

    I just don’t get here enough… Seriously, don’t worry about visiting me! I’m kind of embarrassed it’s so boring and I haven’t built it to where I want it (oh where is the TIME!!!) Doesn’t help I took on homeschooling the grommet – Accckk! 🙁