Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Review: Wild Cards by Simone Elkeles

Title: Wild Cards
Author: Simone Elkeles
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary Romance
Source: Bloomsbury Sydney via NetGalley (Thank you!)

Goodreads rating:
Goodreads | The Reading Room

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?
Review by Nara

While Wild Cards is still somewhat enjoyable, it certainly isn't one of Elkeles' best. There are a few too many cliches, and a few too many overly dramatic moments, and a bit too much angst. That being said, there were still the signature Elkeles features that were enough for me to enjoy the book.

One of the things I didn't like about the book was how it didn't really seem that realistic to me. I don't know how big sports are in the US, but they're pretty big here in Australia. For example, in a 30 minute news program pretty much 15 annoying minutes are dedicated to sports news. However, I've pretty much never heard of a rivalry between schools so massive that they'd go so far as to put a mass of, shall we say, feminine products in someone's yard. Which is what happened in Wild Cards as a "prank" that individuals on the football team from a rival school did to Ashtyn. I don't know, something about that just seemed extremely unrealistic to me.

To be honest, the biggest problem I had with the book was that I wasn't completely convinced about the romance. Which obviously would be pretty important in a contemporary romance novel. The Derek crush was a leetle bit too fast for my liking. It felt like there was no real substance behind the attraction except physical appearance. I mean, sure, there was some entertaining banter, but I felt like they really didn't know each other before Derek gets weirdly possessive in his mind, and Ashtyn thinks to herself that she loves him. Still, if you ignored the fact that the romance was instalovey, it wasn't too bad in terms of the banter- the banter was pretty funny.

An aside to people who have read the book: Landon. God, that guy was SUCH a douche.
Predictions for further books:
Trey x Monika x Vic (of course this has to be one)
Jet x someone (probably some good girl)
I told him that one day he'll fall hard for a girl who'll break his heart, but he laughs it off. He thinks love is complete bullshit.
Yeah, that statement has pretty much guaranteed that Jet is going to get his own novel.

People who are expecting a romance on the level of Perfect Chemistry (or the other books in that series) are probably going to be somewhat disappointed with the quality of this book. But if you don't mind a few cliches, it's still an enjoyable read. I'll probably still read the others in the series.

It was okay

Overall: 6/10
Plot: 3/5
Writing: 4/5
Characters: 3.5/5
Cover: 3/5


  1. I definitely agree about everything you said. The romance was very instalove-y, and the plot was somewhat unbelievable. I wasn't a huge fan of any of the characters, for that matter, but like you said, the signature Elkeles features were enough for me to get through the book.

    Christie @ Read by the Undead

    1. Yeah me neither! None of the characters seemed particularly likeable. And I feel like they were all really stereotyped as well...

  2. I've actually seen the feminine-hygiene product prank, back when I was living in the university dorms. The girls broke into the boys' bathroom and plastered the place with pads, some of which they'd "embellished" with plum sauce from the cafeteria. Yes, dorm living is the height of sophistication and maturity!

    So I don't think that incident would have surprised and/or bothered me about this book. The instalove in a contemporary romance, on the other hand, would have.

    1. haha wow so things like that really do happen in real life....

      Yeah the instalove wasn't that great. If the author had just developed that a bit better, it would have been a really good book.

  3. Heh. Well, I've really not read this one, but I've seen all the rave reviews popping up, and the not that rave reviews too :p
    This one looks more like a hit or miss for many, maybe because of the insta-love (which can be a little more than annoying), and because there were a lot of cliches, I suppose? :O But I do love some snarky and witty banter!! :D
    I'm still relatively undecided about whether I'll be picking this one up, but maybe I'll give it a shot! :)
    Fantastic review, Nara! :D

    1. Definitely a lot of cliches, but it's not absolutely terrible. Like, if you're bored one day and want a predictable read, go for this one. But maybe borrow it from the library rather than buying it- I don't think it's worth that.