Wild Cards (Wild Cards #1) by Simone Elkeles
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children’s Books
Release Date: October 1, 2013
Review Source: Publisher/NetGalley
My Rating: 4 ★★★★☆
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 was my first Simone Elkeles book and I’ll definitely be reading more of her work. This was a thoroughly engaging read. I don’t read a lot of young adult, I would if they were more like this one. In this unique story we have two people dealing with family issues, romance, and betrayal.
Ashtyn is a complex young woman. She plays football for her high school, but has her feminine side as well. She has been raised by her father who has dealt with his wife’s (Ashtyn’s mother) abandonment. He pays little if any attention to Ash. All she feels from her father is disappointment or neglect. Ash thought being the kicker for her team would get some notice, if not love and approval, from her father. You would think that being the only girl on a High School football team is what made Ahstyn tough, but it was actually the neglect and lack of love coming from her father.
Derek is a bad boy who plays a prank at school with his friends and is expelled. Left with nowhere to go he has to move back home with his step mom. His father is in the military and deployed. Derek is basically a loner; in response to the upheaval of his life he seems to reevaluate and start to grow into the man he will become.
I felt for Derek and Ashtyn as they face challenges and the growing attraction to each other. I really don’t want to spoil this one which is making this review a bit difficult 😉 If you’re looking for a romance that offers humor, personal growth, mystery, and some angst this is for you.