From the moment I read the synopsis of Wild Cards, I had to read it. Plus, it’s written by Simone Elkeles so I knew it was going to have some steamy chemistry.
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?
This book had such an interesting premise. I mean, a female football player? Who thinks of that? Ashtyn was such a neat character, badass enough to play football but still has a feminine side. I loved that she wore jerseys and sweats but would still dress girlie to go out. Derek, however, was awesome. I totally related to him and his wit and sarcasm. His view of reality and his inner demons were a bit more believable than Ashtyn’s, but they both had to face some demons.
In true Elkeles style, there is chemistry sizzling off the pages. There are a few moments where anticipation is built and they’re on the edge but nothing happens. Elkeles grabs you and gets you panting only to douse you in cold water. She delivers some heavier content sex-wise than I am used to seeing in Young Adult but it’s done tastefully and it may go over some readers’ heads completely if you don’t read between the lines closely.
The supporting characters were wonderfully vibrant and added to the story. I loved how Ashtyn’s teammates rallied around her and I am in love with Derek’s Grandma. The way it all fit perfectly by the last page made for a sigh-inducing ending.
I really enjoyed this book and read it in two days. It was a healthy does of romance and teenage inner strife, working out their lives and finding they’re better together. Even though I enjoyed this book and I loved the concept of the plot, I felt like the Perfect Chemistry series was better. Maybe it’s because there was more at stake since it included gangs and it was hotter because of the Spanish influence? I’m not sure. Either way, this is another magnificent addition to Elkeles’ published works.
STARS: 4 out of 5