Early Review: Wild Cards by Simone Elkeles

Posted September 30, 2013 in Review / 3 Comments

Wild CardsWild Cards (Wild Cards #1)
By Simone Elkeles
Expected Publication October 1st, 2013
Walker Books for Young Readers/Bloomsbury USA
288 pages
Young Adult | Contemporary Romance
Source: Received from Bloomsbury USA (via NetGalley) in exchange for an unbiased review (Thank you!)



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About the Book:

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?

Want to get lost for a day on a good YA romance?  Do you feel the need to have happy thoughts and a real big smile when you close the cover (or power off the e-reader)?  Have I got a book and an author for you…

Simone Elkeles was the first author I read when I got roped into reading a YA contemporary romance.  Specifically, it was Perfect Chemistry.  Man, that book rocked my socks off….

Ms. Elkeles is back with her signature writing style, a leading couple that has what seems like conflicting personalities / goals, and a story with supporting characters that you just KNOW will show up eventually in a book of their own.  Sounds stale and boring?  Not at all when you know what kind of book you want – a book you just want to relax to, kick back and fall in love with love.  And that’s what Ms. Elkeles is awesome at writing!

Story / Tempo

In Wild Cards, Ms. Elkeles writes in dual POV and as I’ve said a million times, I LOVE dual POV!!!  We’re first introduced to Derek where he’s in the process of getting kicked out his private school (oops).  Then we’re introduced to Ashtyn in her world on the football field during an early summer practice.  Back and forth we’re taken between Derek and Ashtyn as they grudgingly weave their lives together.

I was kind of surprised that this story took place during the entire summer BEFORE school starts in the fall.  So if you’re looking for a showdown between our Fremont Rebels and the “bad guys”, Fairfield, you’ll be disappointed.  From the synopsis, I kind of expected the story to end with the big game.  But it wasn’t that at all.  But I enjoyed the story to get to where Derek and Ashtyn ended all the much more because there WAS so much more to their story than just a simple “Derek plays in the big game” – trust me, that’s not a spoiler 😀


I liked Ashtyn, she was all fight and sass with a vulnerability of a girl who’s never really been in love before.  She’s had very little love in her life to this point and she’s like a stray dog, starving for affection.  But she fights that vulnerability with her spit fire tomboy side.  Since she’s had very little of anything in her life, she knows that when she gets the attention, affection, and love she deserves, she doesn’t want it to be a one night stand.  She wants it to be mean something and be for keeps.

Derek is the complete opposite, or likes to cling to the hope that he is and forever will be the opposite.  He’s a typical boy and has been around the girls a time or two.  He wants nothing more from girls that to just have fun, no strings attached.  And although he’s “sold” in the synopsis as the bad boy, I don’t think he really is as bad as he could be (think Alex or Carlos Fuentes in the Perfect Chemistry series, if you’ve read it).

Obviously these kids will never get together because they are so different and headed in different directions.  But it’s patent Simone Elkeles to illustrate for us that in truth, these two lovebirds could be more alike than we originally thought.

Ms. Elkeles always has the best supporting characters in her books and Wild Cards is no exception.  Look for fellow teammates of Ashtyn’s to steal the show, as well as a member of Derek’s immediate family.

I spent an entire Sunday getting lost in the suburbs of Chicago with Derek and Ashtyn and I had the most relaxing Sunday!  I even smiled when I closed the book.  I will be continuing with this series and I hope word about the second books gets out soon!






simoneelkelesAbout the Author:

Simone Elkeles is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of novels for teens. Simone’s books have won many awards including being YALSA Top Ten Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers, being named to the YALSA Popular Paperbacks and Teens Top Ten lists, and added to the Illinois “Read for a Lifetime” Reading List. Simone also won the coveted RITA award from the Romance Writers of America for her book Perfect Chemistry. Simone is especially proud of the fact that the Illinois Association of Teachers of English named her Author of the Year.


Simone was born and raised in the suburbs of Chicago, where she still lives today. Simone went to the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign and received her Bachelor’s of Science there in Psychology in 1992. She continued her education at Loyola University-Chicago where she received her Master’s of Science degree in Industrial Relations while working for a manufacturing company creating diversity programs for their employees.


She loves animals (she has two dogs – a labradoodle and a German Shepherd), kids (she also has two of those) and her family. In her spare time she’s the Hockey Mom for her kids hockey teams and is an active Girl Scout leader specially trained in outdoor education. She also spends time mentoring other teen and adult authors. (She also loves sushi, which you can probably tell by reading her books.) Simone writes about teens because she was a teen in the 80’s (when spiked hair and blue eye shadow were “rad”) and she loves writing about those exciting teen relationships and romances.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

It’s been a while since I had visited Ms. Elkeles website and she’s totally changed it!  If you’re a fan you’ll definitely want to head over and check it all out.  I especially liked all the information on her “About” page.







About Kristin

Kristin has to ensure she gets her minimal requirement of "happily ever after" books in between those books that contain cliffhangers and never-ending story arcs. It's for her family's sake. When not reading, she's homeshooling her 10-year old son, watching cartoons on TV, or taking a nap.

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3 responses to “Early Review: Wild Cards by Simone Elkeles