Wild Cards by Simone Elkeles

Wild CardsWild Cards by Simone Elkeles
Series: Wild Cards #1
Published by: Walker Childrens on September 24, 2013
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 288
Source: BookExpo America
Buy on AmazonBook Details
Rating: ★★

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 was very… meh.

I started the book on good terms. Derek seemed like a troublemaker, but a decent enough guy, and Ashtyn was a cool, tough, tomboy-ish girl. She was apparently really good at football, laid back, and kind of one of the guys. But then this happened:

  • Derek wasn’t a bad boy at all. He constantly thought he was, but there was no evidence to support that whatsoever.
  • Ashtyn became clingy, needy, annoying, and a little pathetic.
  • The football plot was very lacking.
  • Insta-love….

There was so much telling when it came to all of the characters. We’re told that Derek is a bad boy, Ashtyn decides that he only likes one night stands, and Derek tells us that he’s not good enough for Ashtyn. But… All Derek does throughout the entire book is be courteous to Ashtyn (except for one occasion), mow the lawn, and completely rebuild Ashtyn’s broken down shed (without her even asking him to). That’s really…. nice of him.

Then we’re told that Ashtyn is a great football player, that she gets along well with the guys, and that she’s really laid back. She isn’t the clingy, needy girlfriend type. But, we never actually see her play football well. All she does is run a few drills. Even at the end when she had a chance to kick ass, she didn’t.. at all. It was a HUGE letdown. And her crush on Derek was honestly a little pathetic. Ashtyn became everything she said she wasn’t (clingy, needy, and annoying). She constantly gave Derek hell whenever a girl flirted with him (as if she owned him), she wasn’t even dating Derek and yet she burned with jealousy when her friend flirted with him a little, and she couldn’t be away from him for even a few days.

But what drove me the craziest and gave me whiplash, was their constant fighting and bickering. It was exhausting. Derek and Ashtyn fight the ENTIRE book. All they do is insult each other and bicker over such stupid things. But the worst part about that, was the dual point of view. We’d read Ashtyn’s chapter and it would go like this:

OMG I HATE DEREK! …But actually, he’s so hot… I’m so attracted to him. I totally love him. But OMG wait, I can’t tell Derek that. I can’t possibly ever tell him, because he’d never feel the same way. He only likes one night stands. But gosh.. I love him so much.

Then we’d read Derek’s chapter:

Ugh, that Sweetie Pie Ashtyn gives me hell all the time. Her lips are so damn kissable though. Why can’t I stop thinking about her? I have to get these thoughts out of my head because I’m not good enough for her. I can’t be the man she wants me to be. She’d never like me anyway, she hates me. But wow, she’s amazing. She’s so gorgeous. I want to pummel that guy just for checking her out.

Note: These quotes are paraphrased, they’re not actual quotes.

And it was like that OVER and OVER again. It was so frustrating to read how they were both crazy about each other, but both assumed the other one wasn’t so they refused to say anything about it. For the ENTIRE book. But since I was privy to both their thoughts, it was just frustrating for me! I wanted to tell them to shut up and get together already.

And the fact that they spent the whole book fighting and bickering means there was insta-love. Ashtyn and Derek don’t date. Ever. View Spoiler » They don’t talk; they only fight. They never sit down and have a real genuine conversation. They do actually go out together once, but it’s not a real date because it was to settle a bet. And yet, at one point, Ashtyn goes on about how she’s in love with Derek. IN LOVE?? Seriously? She’s never even had a real conversation with the guy! They just fight all the freaking time because when they first met Ashtyn decided that Derek was an asshole (even though he’s really not…).

The end of the book just got even worse. I wasn’t hating the book until the end, when things went downhill. So many weird things happened that I thought were unrealistic. And I didn’t like how View Spoiler » In general, the ending just felt kind of lame and cheesy, but also unsatisfying.

The only reason I’m giving Wild Cards 2 stars instead of 1 is because I didn’t hate the beginning and there were a few lines that made me laugh.

The Verdict


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  1. Yes omg I agree with your points wholeheartedly! I also thought their relationship was kind of weird, and even though it’s not like their relationship was illegal or whatever, it was so weird to read about and it never was even brought up in their relationship, not like there WAS a real relationship, like you said. They really did just fight and nag at each other the entire time, which really disappointed me. I’m sorry you didn’t like this one!! D:

    Fantastic review, though! <33

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