Wild Cards by Simone Elkeles

Elkeles’ future release a reminder of all the reasons why she’s a force in the Romance genre

Wild Cards [Wild Cards, #1]
by Simone Elkeles
Bloomsbury | ARC, 288 pages
Having just been expelled from a preparatory  school in California for a prank he pulled, Derek Fitzpatrick had found himself relocated to Illinois where he would finish his senior year. He also had to contend with living among strangers as his stepmother decided to move back home to live with her estranged father and her very hot, very unavailable sister. Not one to back away from a challenge, Derek soon finds out that Ashtyn can take as much as she could dole out. Chemistry and sparks aside, he has no plans of staying around or entertaining the thought of being another person that would not stay for Ashtyn – because her life has been a revolving door of people leaving without a backward glance. 
Ashtyn has her eyes on the prize: to be the only second woman to play in a man’s sport on a varsity level. Football thrums in her blood and no one, and she means no one, could ever derail her from her goal. Not her troubled relationship with her father, not even a cooling relationship with her quarterback boyfriend; or even a very hot “step-nephew”, Derek Fitzpatrick. When she found out that her boyfriend is not finishing his senior year in the same school and has accepted the captain-ship for the rival high school, she seeks out Derek’s help for revenge. But as always, things like these never turn out the way anyone pictured it. Ashtyn’s hate for Derek dissolves into reluctant trust and feelings beyond what she’s ready to admit. 
It seems like it’s been a long time since I read Chain Reaction. I missed everything that made Elkeles’ writing addictive and entertaining. Simone’s soon-to-be released (October) is probably one of the many novels this year that I would do anything to covet. There was a little bit of intrepidation and sick anxiety about this book. I never entertained the idea that it would be a disappointment, mind you, but it’s hard to dial down my expectations. She’s cemented herself a name in YA but in my opinion, her books, particularly the first of the Perfect Chemistry series, was the original, accepted New Adult. See, I don’t necessarily agree that the New Adult movement is about the age of the characters. I always think it’s the boundary an author would cross when it comes to  the sex scenes between her characters. Simone is never crass or too detailed. It’s only detailed enough to  take it to a more mature level. Most importantly, she writes what’s real about the kids these days. Her big forte is the romance. Her novels never fail to titillate and incite laughter and maybe a tear or two.

Her characters were real: annoying at times, loveable at most. I love little Julian and his relationship with Derek. I love Derek’s grandmother and even his stepmother, Brandi. She’s a little ditzy but girl’s got a big heart. This novel also has football – which I absolutely love. I always say that I could never hate a book that combines my love for reading romance and football. The best thing about this is that Simone wasn’t really unrealistic in handling Ashtyn’s quest about a football scholarship and I’ll leave it at that. 

In summary, Simone Elkeles has reaffirmed the fact that there’s very little wrong she could do with her novels. Although the ending of this book was a little cheesy for my taste, that didn’t hinder my reactionary love for her latest. The sad part is, I will be waiting longer for this series’ instalment. Shame. 
My rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

Thank you, Bethzaida for lending me your ARC. xoxo

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