Review: Wild Cards (Wild Cards #1) by Simone Elkeles

Wild Cards (Wild Cards, #1)Wild Cards (Wild Cards #1) by Simone Elkeles

Publication Date: October 1, 2013
Page Count: 342
Published by: Walker Books for Young Readers
Source: Review copy received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Synopsis From Goodreads:

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?

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I was really looking forward to reading Wild Cards, but I didn't enjoy it as much as I had hoped I would. I went into it expecting great things, but it just didn't work for me. It was not at all what I thought it would be, and really not an excellent story like I was expecting from Simone Elkeles.

The 'romance' between Ashtyn and Derek was forced and more like insta-love/insta-hate, and there was no basis for their animosity. There was a bit of angst and some snarky dialogue interspersed with some really cute moments between them, but there weren't any of those really big moments that would have made me fall in love with this couple. The plot was pretty straightforward, but I felt it dragged at times.

I am a huge fan of dual POV, but in this book it just didn't work for me because I didn't like Ashtyn or Derek, so I didn't really care how they felt and what they thought about each other. I felt no connection to them whatsoever, and they kind of annoyed me. It also bothered me that there was little to no character development.

I thought the football aspect would play a much, much larger role than it did, so I was disappointed at the little amount of football that was actually present.

The writing is very good and the story flows well enough. I felt that the pacing was great until the very end when Elkeles tried to wrap everything up too quickly. I really wanted to love this book. But in the end it just fell short because it lacked depth and emotion, and that makes me sad. Since none of the characters were particularly memorable or outstanding, in the end I was left feeling nothing for the characters or the story. I will continue with the next book in this series in the hopes that it improves.

My rating: 2.5 of 5 stars


  1. Sorry you didn't like it. I've been hearing very similar thoughts by many people and at this point I don't really want to read Wild Cards. Neither the romance or the characters seem too impressive. :(

    -P.E. @ The Sirenic Codex

    1. I really wanted to like Wild Cards, but it was just so blah. I still plan on reading the next book in the series and I hope it has more football in it.

  2. What a disappointment! :( It's a pain when a book makes a big deal about a sport and then pushes it to the side.

    1. It was set during the summertime! No school = no school sports = no actual football. It was mentioned that she was a kicker for her HS team, then we get a short little 'sports camp' where she is humiliated by the other guys simply because she is a girl and is a threat to their small minds. My advice would be not to write a sports based series that has no sports in it. I was expecting a kick ass book, and it turned out pretty lame.


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