By: Melanie | October 1, 2013 | (26) Comments

Review: Wild Cards by Simone ElkelesWild Cards by Simone Elkeles
Series: Wild Cards, #1
Publisher: Bloomsbury Australia
Release Date: October 1, 2013
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, YA
Pages: 342
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?

My Review

“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!~

3 Stars
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Owner (and crazy nut) at YA Midnight Reads
Melanie is one of the totally fabulous bloggers at YA Midnight Reads. She's a 16 year old student from Melbourne, Australia. She is normally found binge watching TV series, reading , blogging, procrastinating or fangirling about how Percabeth is the best ship ever. She's also a lover of caps lock and uses it excessively.

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26 Responses to Review: Wild Cards by Simone Elkeles

  1. Tanja says:

    Oh dear cliche after cliche. I’m really glad you managed to enjoy this one and that made you happy but I really cannot go through that much cliche moments. I’m type of a person who doesn’t like predictable stories and this one seems really predictable. Great review 🙂
    Tanja recently posted…Something Wicked Returns HopMy Profile

  2. Amelia says:

    BLEH. The characters seem rather disatrous to me- well I don’t like the sound of them at least. But I do love books that make me grin ear to ear the entire time!

  3. Johanna Richards says:

    So basically I am a huge huge huge fan of Simone Elkeles and I died a little reading this review, it sucks so much that you couldn’t connect to Ashtyn! I just got this in the main from TBD today and I can’t wait to start it. I guess I’ll lower my expectations a little.

  4. Jasprit says:

    I didn’t even know that a second book had been planned for this book, sometimes I’m able to overlook cliched aspects of a book, especially when the books leaves me feeling happy. Thank you for another honest review Melanie! 🙂
    Jasprit recently posted…Monthly Recap #1My Profile

  5. This is perhaps an odd thing to say, but sometimes the flaws don’t bother me at all! Especially when a book makes me smile like this one did you.
    I’ve never read Elkeles and I’m convinced she isn’t the author for me, but a lot of my friends enjoy her books so it’s possible that peer pressure will make me change my mind eventually.
    Maja (The Nocturnal Library) recently posted…Something Wicked Returns Opening Day Blog HopMy Profile

    • Melanie says:

      I guess that you’re a mood rater then, Maja! I am too but I also like to be a bit of a calculatory rater as well at times. You really should try one! I wasn’t a fan of PC but I know a bunch of bloggy peeps who loved it

  6. Hmmm, sounds like this book had its flaws but you still enjoyed it nonetheless. I have this one on my list to review, but I guess I’ll have to take that into account!
    Jeann @ Happy Indulgence recently posted…World War Z by Max Brooks Review: The movie was betterMy Profile

  7. I’m glad to hear this book at least put a smile on your face despite the flaws. I’m undecided om whether or not to give this one a read. Maybe someday. 🙂
    sarabara081 @ Forever 17 Books recently posted…Blog Tour Review + Giveaway: Six Months Later by Natalie D. RichardsMy Profile

  8. I wish there was more about the football, since a girl playing is something unique. That’s good you found this a relatively “fun” read if nothing else.
    ShootingStarsMag recently posted…Tune in Tuesday with Two Female ArtistsMy Profile

  9. “I swam in the land of cliches” LOLOL! Love this review. I’ve been reading a lot of Wild Cards reviews because they’re funny like this. I’m not a fan of on-off romances or insta-love. Big turn offs, so I know I’m never going to read this one. Great review, Melanie!
    Becca @ Nawanda Files recently posted…It’s On! Ricochet Blog Tour Schedule + Giveaway!My Profile

  10. Celine says:

    This book sounds awful, if I’m honest. Insta-love, jealous main character… Nope, don’t think this is for me. On the other hand, I love books that have me grinning all the way through.

    Fab review, hon!
    Celine recently posted…Top Ten TuesdayMy Profile

  11. Jenni says:

    Gah I have this one coming up for review soon and I am just not excited about it anymore. People seem to be OK with it, but I don’t want OK, I want GREAT reads, something that will WOW me. Happy that you did manage to have a grin on your face through much of it though!
    Jenni recently posted…Made of Stars ReviewMy Profile

  12. I hate books like this! You want to dislike them but then they dig under your skin. Baaah! Evil books! 😀

    Great review, Melanie! <3
    Lucy @ Queen of Contemporary recently posted…Stacking the Shelves (18)My Profile

  13. I felt pretty “meh” about the SE books I’ve tried–I think the angst is just way too much for me! It’s good to hear there was stuff that put a smile on your face with this one, though.

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden
    Wendy Darling recently posted…Welcome Kate!My Profile

  14. Giselle says:

    I only skimmed the review because I haven’t written mine yet, but I really enjoyed this one it was just what I was looking for. I agree it was a little insta in terms of “I love him” but I found their attraction and connection was real so I didn’t feel it was unrealistic. I love the characters the most I always enjoy sport-related plots for the reason even though I would never watch actual sports IRL *snore* >.<
    Giselle recently posted…Review: Blackout by Robison WellsMy Profile

    • Melanie says:

      It was sweet at times but I didn’t really buy it unfortunately. BAHAHA I actually love wathcing sports, not golf but Australian Football and Netball are pretty intense

  15. Rachel says:

    I had issues with this as well, but it did have me laughing in parts. Wonderful review, Melanie! 🙂
    Rachel recently posted…Monthly Recap #1My Profile

  16. I totally understand where you’re coming from. Usually stories like this are overused, but with Katie McGarry it’s always emotional and brilliant! I did enjoy Perfect Chemistry, so I’ll probably read this one from her. Lovely review!
    Marianne @ Boricuan Bookworms recently posted…Review: Introductions by C.L. StoneMy Profile

  17. I enjoyed this one for the most part, but I think that the football element was really lacking, which was a bit of a disappointment. That said, it was definitely not her strongest novel either. Great review, Melanie 🙂

  18. Hmmm. I haven’t looked twice at this one, even though I loved Perfect Chemistry to pieces (but not book 2 for some reason…). I’m not really a big romance/contemp fan to begin with, and this one does sound painfully cliche. Meh. I’m not really sure I want to read it, I have to really be in the mood to read this kind of book! But the fact that it kept you smiling makes me slightly curious O_O
    Jessi @ Auntie Spinelli Reads recently posted…Undersea Spotlight: Asti at A Bookish HeartMy Profile

  19. I don’t think this was my favorite of this author’s books, but I still enjoyed it!
    Great review 🙂
    Jen @ YA Romantics
    Jen @ YA Romantics recently posted…Hot Off the Presses: New YA Releasing Oct 1-7My Profile

  20. Candace says:

    I have seen lots of negative reviews for this so knowing that you were grinning like crazy, even though you knew the book had lots of flaws, definitely makes me feel better about it. I do have an ARC so I figured I’d pick it up at some point, but I was almost dreading it before. Now I’m not quite so much.
    Candace recently posted…Something Wicked Returns: Review of The Real Boy by Anne Ursu & GiveawayMy Profile

  21. Stepanie B says:

    “I swam in the land of clichés.” Lol. I feel like I’ve seen this book everywhere but no matter how much I see it, I still have no desire whatsoever to pick it up. Fantastic review, love!
    Stepanie B recently posted…Cover Reveal: DividedMy Profile

  22. Megan says:

    I’m someone who likes my romance to be secondary to the actual plot, so I think I might skip this one. I’m glad you enjoyed it, despite it’s faults.

  23. sarah c. says:

    this book i was a little iffy about it.. I would probably pass up on reading it-there really isnt anything that catches my attention..great review!!

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