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 was kind of surprised when WILD CARDS kind of fell short of my expectations. Don't get me wrong, it's a pretty decent books in its own right but not as great as I hoped it would be. I don't know if the YA genre doesn't appeal to me as much anymore but all throughout the book, I was waiting for something huge to happen. I was waiting to be blindsided the same way that Simone Elkeles did to me with her other books. I wasn't, though.
The whole love-hate relationship with Derek and Ashtyn all seemed a bit too overused at first.
Derek is everything you'd expect a YA bad boy to be. He's an interesting character mainly because the readers know nothing about his back story. It's intriguing, really. But aside from that I wasn't very interested in Derek. The way he was attracted to Ashtyn right from the very beginning was almost comical in it's cliched-ness.
Ashtyn, on the other hand, was a far more interesting character. She's a senior at the local highschool and Derek's stepmom's younger sister. I was particularly interested in the fact that she was just chosen to be her football team's captain, an event that drove a wedge between her and her quarterback boyfriend.
Anyway, long story short, despite of the animosity between the two of them, they could feel some kind of attraction beneath all of the taunting and the smirks.
Their feelings were further reinforced when Ashtyn had to turn to Derek for help in order to go to the football camp she had always dreamed of. What she finds out changes what she knew of this mysterious bad boy who moved into her house and into her life.
All in all, it was a fun read but that's about it. I appreciated Simone Elkeles characteristic storytelling. It was witty and funny, particularly Derek and Ashtyn's constant back-and-forth. Derek's sarcasm and arrogance was endearing, I must admit, and it amused me to no end. I just felt like the whole story seemed a bit rushed.
The foundation building for the whole series fell short in my opinion and the character building left much to be desired. This is the problem, I guess, with first books in a series. The authors need to be able to build the necessary foundations for the series without giving away much about how the rest of the books would go. Otherwise, what's the point of writing a sequel?
Well, I'm going to hold on to this series for a while longer and read the next books because despite my reservations about WILD CARDS, I really am deathly curious about what would happen to them during their senior year because the summer we get to see in WILD CARDS just isn't enough for me. :)