Early Book Review | Wild Cards by Simone Elkeles

Posted on Saturday, August 24, 2013 1:00 AM

Series: Wild Cards #1

Format: e-ARC

Source: Netgalley

Publication Date: September 24, 2013 

Publisher: Walker Books for Young Readers
Pages: 288

( Goodreads / Amazon  )

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?

I absolutely loved Simone’s Perfect Chemistry trilogy but I wasn’t too crazy about her Leaving Paradise series so I was a little nervous about whether or not I would like the first book in her new Wild Cards series.  After finishing this book, I’m delighted to say that Wild Cards is one of my favorites so far this year and is now my favorite book by Simone Elkeles.

Derek’s dad is in the Navy, so when Derek gets expelled from Regents Preparatory Academy in California he is forced to Chicago to live with his stepmom, Brandi and her estranged family that she hasn’t seen in seven years. 

Ashtyn is used to being the tough girl that can hang with the guys; she has been the only girl on her high school football team since she was a freshman so she’s used to not letting anyone push her around.  She’s also Brandi’s sister.

Even though Derek has the ‘I don’t give a shit’ attitude, he’s actually very caring and compassionate.  Ashtyn projects the tough girl image but she’s really vulnerable and she’s desperately wants her fathers attention.  I loved Derek and Ashtyn’s bantering and I loved watching their relationship and feelings for each other grow.

At the beginning of Wild Cards I thought Brandi was just another dim-witted gold digger who wouldn’t care about her stepson at all, but I was wrong.  While she can be a little dense at times she’s still an incredibly kindhearted person who just wants the best for her family.  While at first I didn’t think I would like Derek’s grandmother, she is incredibly humorous and she really grows on you.

Wild Cards is a wonderful first book in a new series.  It’s an entertaining and engaging read that has just enough humor and romance in it to keep you entirely immersed in the story and you won’t want it to end I may have kept pushing the turn button on my Kindle hopeful for more.  Wild Cards is one book that you don not want to miss.




  1. I have yet to read any Elkeles novels yet, shame on me, but everyone seems to love her as an author. I especially love books with humor so I will be checking this one out!

  2. Have heard great things about this book and can't wait to start it!
    Thanks so much for stopping by! Jen @ YA Romantics

  3. This one does sound good, I like when the romance builds and I love fun bantering between the MCs. Great review! ~Pam

  4. Yesss, so glad that this one turned out to be your favorite books of hers. I read Leaving Paradise and wasn't too crazy about it, but my sis just received Wild Cards, so I was hoping it'd be better. So happy it and you liked it! Love your review :D


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