NOTE: I received the eARC via Netgalley, and honestly - I can't believe it! So a HUGE thank you is in order!
First off, I'd like to say that Simone Elkeles is among my favorite contemporary authors of all times. I loved what she did with the Fuentes brothers in the Perfect Chemistry series and there was no way I was missing on Wild Cards. When I saw the book come up for review on Netgalley, there was no thinking about it. I'd pressed the request button right away. Simone Elkeles is a very talented writer and I just couldn't resist reading whatever story she'd come up with this time.
I'm extremely happy to say that Wild Cards met all my expectations. The novel had everything a young adult audience wants - sweet romance, some drama, a cute boy with an unnatural amount of pain squeezed into his heart, a girl with problems of her own... It had it all, wrapped up in a brilliantly written novel.
Now, I've stumbled upon some reviews who point out the lack of football games here, even though the story is enveloped into the football field. To this I can only reply like this - I'm not a sports person, so I could honestly care less. I actually liked how the story revolved around Derek and Ashtyn, showing us how by being brought to live together, their lives changed completely. Their whole perspectives on the world changed. They grew and became better for themselves and better for each other.
Derek was a sweetheart, really. Sure, he was pretending to be a bad boy, but all he truly was was a lonely guy with a huge plate of guilt served in front of him. His mom had died of cancer while he'd been in a game. He never forgave himself for not being in the hospital instead. So, to punish himself, he quit football. And decided to close off to the world, push people far away from himself and act like a jerk. He would have continued down this destructive path, had it not been for Ashtyn. And his grandmother. That woman knew how to deal with Derek even though he'd never met her in his life. I loved the cute old lady with all her weird mannerisms.
Being a girl full of passion for the sport (although she was the only girl in an all guy team), Ashtyn worked herself hard on the field. So much so, that her team voted her varsity captain. Cool, eh? Yeah... except her scumbag boyfriend got angry and jealous about it and tried whatever he could to ruin Ashtyn's reputation from then on. And her dad, whose appreciation she craved like a fish craves water, didn't really seemed to care. It took all of Derek's craftiness to bring this girl back on the star where she belonged.
Sweet, funny and full of dreams, Wild Cards is a great novel to take your mind off of reality.
My rating is 5/5 stars