Name: Wild Cards
Author: Simone Elkeles
Publisher: Walker Books for Young Reader
Pages: Hardcover, 342 pages
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 read Perfect Chemistry a few years ago and enjoyed it even though I had quite a few problems with it. Wild Cards was the same way. There isn't as much hype about this book that there was for perfect Chemistry, but I've heard and read a few things about it, some good some bad. But it got me curious so I picked this book up and while I enjoyed it I had a few problems with it.
First thing that I didn't like about this book was the majority of the characters. Ashtyn, one of the main characters, was really annoying at times. In the beginning she annoyed me to no end. In the beginning she came off as a whinny brat who seemed a little ditsy at times and that annoyed me so much. As the book goes on she gets better. I don't know if it's because I got used to her personality or because her character evolved, but what ever it was she got better. I actually liked her at the end.
Another issue I had with Ashtyn is one I had with almost every character. It felt like she had very little depth. She was supposed to be this kind of broken girl with a awful family who leaves her without a thought and that was suppose to give her depth, but it didn't. I think this problem had its roots in the plot, will explain more about this later in the review, but even if it did I couldn't connect with her because she didn't feel like a person.
This book also made me realize a book pet peeve I have, and this is filler characters. You know the characters that seem to have been made just for you to hate, or get annoyed at? Yeah, this book was filled with them. All the side characters barely had any depth. It felt like her dad was made just so you would feel sorry for Ashtyn and her sister was made just to be annoyed at and Landon was made just to hate. They had no depth!! At all. The only saving grace in this book character wise was Derek and his Grandmother. These where the only characters that had a substantial amount of depth and felt like real characters and real people. Without them this book would be getting 2 Butterflies.
Now the plot. This plot I had mixed feelings about. It was enjoyable and it kept me reading. However, the writing style really took away from the plot. For some reason you didn't feel part of the book. It felt like you where watching play from the farthest seat from the stage. You weren't captivated and transported to the world, at most you were looking through a foggy window into their world. This, I think, is where my problem with Ashtyn's character is rooted in. When reading this you can see the author trying to give her depth and that the filler characters purpose was to make people sympathize with her and see why she is the way she is, but since you aren't in the story you don't get the affect the author was trying to make.
Not only did this weird thing with the plot take away a lot of Ashtyn's depth, it also took away some goodness from this book. I really wish I could have liked this book more, because I liked Ashtyn's and Derek's love story. But since I didn't feel in the story or the world I didn't feel connected with their characters or their relationship. So I didn't get the full effect of their love story, if that makes any sense.
The last thing I want to talk about is the ending. I feel like it was really rushed. The whole book seemed to be leading up to the point where Ashtyn and Derek has to decide whether or not they where going to be together. However, when it got to that part in the story it felt really rushed. It felt like it got to point A to point B without any in between.
Overall I am giving this book 3 Butterflies, because even though I had a few issues with it, it was still an enjoyable book. I still enjoyed reading it and I read it in two days. I liked the love story between Derek and Ashtyn and I would go out a buy myself a copy of it. I would recommend it to anyone who likes Simone Elkeles's books, contemporary, or love stories. Just be warned that it isn't a book that will blow you away, it was an average book to me that I enjoyed reading.
This book got......
Basic, nothing special.