Review Detail

Young Adult Fiction 3251
Wild Cards
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0
Derek Fitzpatrick’s world turns upside down after he finds out a so-called harmless prank leads to his expulsion from an exclusive Prep School. He ends up finding himself moving with his dad’s younger new wife to a suburb of Chicago where he meets Ashtyn Parker.

Ashtyn Parker just happens to be Captain of her HS football team. Announcement of her becoming Captain upsets her boyfriend QB Landon who ends up betraying her by switching to the other HS football team.

In the meantime sparks fly between Derek and Ashtyn. She thinks he’s full of himself while he thinks she’s too full of herself. Little do they know how much differences do attract with chemistry that lights up the pages.

What worked: What can I say? I love Simone Elkeles’s writing. She nails the teen boy’s voice with his struggles/conflicts. The dialogue feels real and not forced either which is a huge plus.

Derek struggles with his mother’s death and his father’s leaving him half of the year with his military service. He doesn’t want to be dragged away from Cali and doesn’t care for Ashtyn at first. It doesn’t help that their first encounter ends with her stabbing him with an unlikely object. Elkeles could just show readers two bickering characters but no she digs deep within Derek and shows us what’s really going on inside.

Ashtyn’s struggles to be taken seriously with being on her high school’s football team are very gripping. The one scene where the rival team t-pees her house with female sanitary items reminded me of a similar thing that happened to a neighbor girl. I still remember the embarrassment and outrage from the teen. While reading this scene I felt the outrage from Ashtyn.

One thing that really worked for me is the banter between Ashtyn and Derek. It goes back and forth and is loaded with tension. I personally didn’t see what Ashtyn show in Landon who was a total jerk in more ways than one. But even then this shows her conflict between showing she’s one of the ‘guys’ and a vulnerability of wanting to have a relationship.

There’s other reveals too about both characters that only cement an already engaging storyline.

Hot chemistry with characters that not only are engaging but very real. This is sure to be another hit for Elkeles, who is the queen of teen romance novels. Elkeles is able to peel back the tough exteriors of her male characters to reveal vulnerabilities that make them very endearing. I’d follow any of her characters anywhere. The only disappointment had to be when I finished this story. I want more!!!!
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