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

By Megan Love Literature Art & Reason @meganm922
13065327   Wild Cards (Wild Cards #1)   by Simone Elkeles   Summary: 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?

Genre: YA Contemporary Romance
Release Date: October 1, 2013
Where to Buy: Pre Order at  Barnes and Noble . Books-A-Million . Amazon
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Source: I received a copy of the book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
I was so excited to read Wild Cards. I loved the synopsis and the cover and I was in the mood for a great contemporary YA romance. I wanted to love the book. The story line was good and the characters were complex, but overall, it fell flat for me.
I didn’t feel connected to the characters at all, despite the fact that they were both interesting and complicated. Ashytn was unique because she was a girl who played football, but didn’t fit into the stereotypical tomboy category. She was feisty and caring and unlike any other heroine I’ve seen before. Derek had all of the traits I appreciate: sarcasm, a sense of humor, and an easygoing demeanor. I loved that Derek’s father was a submariner in the Navy because I hardly ever see Naval references in YA novels and my husband is a submariner. I loved that Derek was such a good brother and took care of Ashtyn’s dog, which showed his caring side. The attraction between Ashtyn and Derek was immediate and they both fought off their own desires and ended up arguing and messing with each other to try and control it. I loved how their love story played out because it was push and pull the whole time.
Even though Wild Cards had a ton of elements I enjoyed and appreciated, I didn’t enjoy the book as much as I’d hoped. It wasn’t executed very well at all. The story was choppy the entire time. The outside world wasn’t described very well and despite the fact that both Ashtyn and Derek narrated, I didn’t feel like I knew them or their innermost thoughts or feelings. Their lack of emotion in narration made the story feel even choppier than it already was and made the entire novel feel disjointed and mediocre. The words didn’t flow or feel natural; instead, the story felt forced, as if I was being told what was happening instead of feeling it or seeing it unfold before my eyes.
I wanted to love Wild Cards, but I felt so disconnected to the characters and the writing style didn’t work for me. There was nothing memorable about the characters or the story in comparison to other similar YA contemporary romance novels I’ve read recently. The ingredients for a wonderful story were there, but they weren’t mixed together in a way that worked for me.
I don’t think I’d recommend Wild Cards because there are so many other contemporary YA books that stand out in my mind and have certain elements that I find recommendable. Wild Cards didn’t have any element that stuck out or was done particularly well, unless a reader is looking specifically for a romance with a heroine who plays football. Even though I wouldn’t recommend it, it wasn’t a terrible book, it was a quick read, and I didn’t hate it. I liked both of the characters, despite feeling as if I didn’t know them as much as I should have. It was mildly enjoyable even though it fell flat, which is why I gave it 2 stars instead of 1.

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