Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Release Day Review: Wild Cards - Simone Elkeles

Wild Cards
Simone Elkeles
Series: Wild Cards, #1
Genre: Young Adult, Romance
Rating: 3.75 out of 5 stars
Word Rating: Meh
On Goodreads

As I have mentioned before, I am a diehard romantic. I was immediately excited by the prospect of Wild Cards as it promises plot twists in its title – and it came through. Wild Cards is filled unexpected turns that flowed together into a fantastic book. Despite the fact that the way it was written was mediocre, the plot was phenomenal, as were the characters.

The book alternates between the two main characters’ points of view: Ashtyn Parker and Derek Fitzpatrick. I liked Ashtyn from the beginning: she was just voted captain of her football team, where she is the only girl. Not only is she sufficiently modest, she is also courageous, and takes on the challenge of leading a team without self doubt. She even tries her hardest to make things right with her boyfriend, Landon, who is the team quarterback and was expected to get captain. She did everything right while Derek, the other half of the dynamic duo, begins the novel by getting kicked out of his high school in California. They’re staged to be opposites, and of course, they clash.

Derek is the stepson of Brandi, who is Ashtyn’s older sister (yes, this means our two main characters are technically family: Ashtyn is Derek’s step-aunt). They remind me a lot of the Disney show Life with Derek, and not only because of the lead male’s name. Instead, Ashtyn and Derek seem to share the same chemistry Casey and Derek did on the show – although both pairs are related through marriage, they both possess the spark of an OTP relationship. Dasey has finally met its Deshtyn.

Since the Ashtyn and Derek first meet (in a pretty surprising turn of events actually) they butt heads. They argue incessantly and make jibes at each other every which way, but in a way that’s really cute. Unfortunately, this is where the writing style takes the hit – Elkeles had the opportunity to make their banter a lot funnier than it was. The beautiful thing is though, through their banter, we get to see how both Derek and Ashtyn are three dimensional. Ashtyn is not only the fearless football captain we meet in the first few chapters: she is also an insecure girlfriend, a loving daughter and aunt, and a lonely teenager. She has her flaws, and Derek brings out both the best and worst in her, and vice versa. Other than being the bad boy who gets expelled from school, we learn a lot about Derek – we learn of his loyalty, his unwavering love for his mother, his need to protect those around him, as well as his regular horny teenage boy mentality. They are both casted as sensitive teenagers who are completely realistic, and honestly, that is what makes the story so great in my eyes.

Because there are so many plot twists in this book, I’ll end this review without giving much away. This book is one I would certainly recommend – I will be waiting eagerly for the next book in this series, as I can’t wait to see where Deshtyn goes next.

- Amrutha

How do you feel about step family romantic relationships?
Let us know in the comments!

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