Series: Wild Cards, #1
Publisher: Bloomsbury Australia
Release Date: October 1, 2013
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, YA
Source: Received in exchange for review
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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’m tryin’ to push you away when all I want to do is hold you. I know you say you don’t want a hero, but damn I’d like to be that guy who’ll save you from spiders and whatever and whoever else hurts you.”
Despite the glaringly large number of flaws Wild Cards held, I still couldn’t bear to give this anything under 3 stars. Why? Because there’s this thing called: I-couldn’t-stop-grinning-like-a-fool-the-whole-time so it’s definitely saying I enjoyed this book to some extent.
The premise of Wild Cards is really straight-forward. Told in two perspectives, we have tom-boy Ashtyn who is the only girl on her football team that she loves dearly- she also happens to be the captain. After losing everything she loves, Ashtyn brings the walls up around her and doesn’t believe that she can trust anyone again, everyone she cared about walked out of her life. Then we have Derek, arrogant, cocky and is scared of falling in love so he only does one night stands. He’s hidden his past, which hurts him and is the reason why he no longer plays football. This extremely familiar premise came into play with two characters that seemingly don’t work out, end up working out. I wasn’t the greatest fan of Ashtyn or Derek. Ashtyn who was meant to be a tom-boy and mentally strong was easily jealous, sensitive and self-conscious. Derek was pretty much a boy replica with the along with the humour and brashness. And they both were ‘hot’. Ugh. I swam in the land of clichés.
The romance was instant love, angsty and on and off. Still, there were sweet moments however they were quickly ended with Derek or Ashtyn’s ego getting the better of them. The romance definitely weaker than the character arcs. The pacing also did not fair to well in Wild Cards. The problem with telling a contemporary story with the two love interests is that we pretty much know what’s going to happen and all us readers want to do is grab their faces and smash them together. While some YA contemporary authors like Katie McGarry can conjure a magnificent story with that formula, what Simone Elkeles lacked her in the pacing was some depth and subplot. Something. Other than the upfront drama of Derek and Ashtyn’s relationship, we don’t really touch on the football aspect (such as Ashtyn actually playing a game) or more family drama. It’s like nothing is more important than romance.
Since I am mood rater, I rated this 3 stars despite my practically completely negative review because like I mentioned earlier, this book kept me smiling. I did like the characters at some points, mainly just Derek even though he was infuriating at times. Nevertheless, I will be reading book 2!
~Thank you Bloomsbury Australia for sending me this copy!~
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