Simone Elkeles is back with a new series of contemporary YA with Wild Cards. I read her book, Perfect Chemistry, a couple years ago. I thought it was sexy, romantic and the type of contemporary YA that pulls you in with good characters even if the situations were familiar. Wild Cards is something of same with a little spin on things.
Ashtyn plays football. She loves the game, enough to deal with the criticism that comes with being the only girl on the high school football team. But the girl is good at the game, so good that she gets voted captain of the varsity team, much to her surprise. While it seems like her football life is thriving, her home life is quite the opposite. Her older sister just moved back home with her young son and teenage stepson, Derek, disrupting the quiet and awkward daily rhythm between Ashtyn and her despondent father. Ashtyn is unsettled by Derek’s confidence and carefree attitude… and her attraction to him.
Derek just got kicked out of boarding school for pulling a silly prank and has no choice but to move to Chicago with his young new stepmom, since his dad is commissioned overseas. Derek isn’t happy about the move. When he meets Ashtyn, he knows he feels something for her, but thinking that his stay in Chicago is temporary, he chooses not to follow his heart, which may end up breaking two hearts instead of one.
Elkeles manages to create another “opposites attract” story without it feeling the same as her previous books. Ashtyn and Derek’s romance starts slowly and then springs suddenly, and it’s enjoyable to read. They’re both very different characters, and since they live together, their daily interactions ranged from funny to serious. It brought forth an ultimately unique story. If there’s anything that felt off, it was the chemistry between the two characters. It fluctuated a lot; so while I liked the characters, I wasn’t feeling a mad passion between them.
I also appreciated a female main character who was a football player. That definitely changed things up, and I always like reading about a character with an unexpected passion.
With New Adult emerging as a new viable market in publishing, I found that Wild Cards (and many of Simone Elkeles’ novels) is a nice bridge from YA to NA. It’s sexy without being too explicit, and the romantic formula is there. For those who are enjoying NA, this is a book to consider.
If you’ve read and liked Simone Elkeles’ books and/or looking for some sexy contemporary YA, Wild Cards is a sure bet.
Wild Cards by Simone Elkeles hits shelves October 1, 2013.
Publisher: Walker Books for Young Readers (October 1, 2013)
Length: 288 pages (Hardcover)
Series: Wild Cards #1
Source: Digital Review Copy (Provided by NetGalley)
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary Fiction, Romance, Sports
Completed: September 2013