Wild Cards by Simone Elkeles Review: A love/hate antagonistic romance

October 22, 2013 by Jeann @ Happy Indulgence | 3 stars, Books, Reviews

Wild Cards by Simone Elkeles Review: A love/hate antagonistic romanceWild Cards by Simone Elkeles
Published by Bloomsbury Australia on October 1, 2013
Source: Netgalley, Publisher
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
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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?

Derek is a bad boy who has been unwillingly relocated to Chicago by his ditzy stepmother. He meets his new stepsister, a gorgeous tomboy who is the captain of her football team. Instantly attracted to each other, but not seeming to get along, the two undergo a love/hate relationship throughout the course of the book.

Wild Cards is filled with romance cliches, instant love, to an extremely good looking boy and girl, to an obstacle of them not being able to be together for various reasons. The incredible overuse of synonyms was scattered throughout – Derek is described with shaggy brown hair, totally ripped, mesmerizing clear blue eyes, a deep masculine voice, a bronzed chest and perfect physique. Ashtyn on the other hand, “talks like a jock but has a body like an angel”. It’s over-exaggerated and totally hilarious.

I really enjoyed the snarky, sarcastic dialogue and Derek and Ashtyn’s antagonistic relationship. Derek’s playful, carefree and confident attitude was the perfect balance to Ashtyn’s stubborn, spunky and headstrong personality and it was fun seeing the two tease each other with witty comments. The two are obviously attracted to each other, and didn’t admit their feelings until they’d wound each other up. It was frustrating seeing them get close and then pull away, retreating into their shells because they don’t think they are each other’s type.

I’m supposed to keep my emotions in check and only hook up with girls who want a good time, not girls who are desperate to make this something more than it could ever be. – Derek

It was refreshing to have a female in a traditionally male dominated role, and you could see what part of Ashtyn’s personality made her perfect for being the football captain. Unfortunately her inner dialogue began to grate after a while, showing off how insecure she really was.

I don’t want a guy who cringes at the thought of having a real relationship instead of a one-night stand. – Ashtyn

Wild Cards started out really strong but began to fizzle towards the end, when it became melodramatic and angsty as the two tried to stay away from each other. The last quarter of had a heavy football focus and I began to tune out. Despite its flaws, Wild Cards took me by surprise, it was the light fluffy read I was looking for after some heavy dystopians. That’s probably why some of the cliches didn’t bother me much, I just laughed at them and continued to enjoy the book.

I received this book for review from Bloomsbury Australia and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 3 out of 5

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Jeann is an Aussie blogger, gamer, reader who loves to read, write, fangirl, geek out and eat food. You can find me glued to one of my many mobile devices 24/7, or fangirling over the latest YA book, TV show, movie or game. Chat with me on Twitter @happyindulgence

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26 responses to “Wild Cards by Simone Elkeles Review: A love/hate antagonistic romance

  1. I will have to agree with you on many points. I'm currently reading Wild Cards, but I had to put it down because around half way it just stopped working for me. I think I was expecting too much because of my love for Simone's books and sports based books like Catching Jordan. It just didn't meet my expectations.

    Great review 🙂

    -Mari @ The Sirenic Codex

  2. OMG! This is the type of YA Contemporary that I want to read. I remembered requesting this from NG months ago when I was only blogging for 2-3 months I think. Obviously, I got rejected. Hahaha. But seriously, I love the concept of this book. Love and Hate relationship are definitely cliche but a boy fell in love with her stepsister and vice versa, totally cool.

    I didn't pursue in buying this book though because of the mixed reviews. But hey, I am rechecking it on GR right now and it has a 3.87 rating. That doesn't bode well for me. Hmmn…maybe I can overlook the cliches and the angst because the premise is really good. Argh! And really, I don't mind cliches as long as it's done well. Hahaha. And well, I think it's so hard nowadays to find a contemporary that isn't a cliche. Teehee.

    Despite the flaws that you pointed out, I think I might give this book a try. What dya think, Jeann?
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  3. Great review! The love/hate relationship they had at first was amusing I found I had a really good time reading this story. I do agree it has a lot of angst. It was kind of a guilty pleasure read for me and exactly what I was in the mood for at the time. I do think your mood going in – or at least mine – will decide how much you will enjoy this book.
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  4. Eve

    I've been thinking for a while that maybe I should read this, but I'm still not really sure. But it's nice that Ashtyn (I don't like her name) has an attitude. A person can get tired of all the "good girls" who "become bad" and etc. Maybe I'll give this a shot when I feel like reading something cute. Great review!
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  5. I've seen this around but I'm not a big sports fan so the cover never really drew me in. It's interesting to know that its one of those taboo step siblings romances. I kind of want to read something like that but that last book that I did was pretty horrible (Fallen Crest High).

    Cliches annoy me nowadays so I might read this when I'm more in a forgiving mood about insta-love, etc.

    Great review!
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