Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Review: Wild Cards by Simone Elkeles

Review: Wildcards by Simone Elkeles
Release date: October 1, 2013
Publisher: Walker Children's
Series: #1 in the Wild Cards series
Source: ARC from BEA
Rating: Go read Catching Jordan instead.


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?

Ugh. This book. It just doesn't work, though it gives a valiant effort. It has massive potential, but most it just kind of annoyed me. Wild Cards purports to be a romance novel about football, but there isn't even one football game in this book. Not one. See that football player on the cover. LIES. ALL DIRTY LIES.

Wild Cards is about Ashtyn Parker, whose name bugs the crap out of me. Look, strange spellings are fine in real life, and you can spell your name however you like. But for some reason, they bother me in fiction. She's a girl and she's captain of her high school varsity team, much to the chagrin of her father and her boyfriend, both of whom are sexist crapbuckets who deserve circumcision. Derek is the hot, troublesome bad boy (excpe that he's NOT, why does everybody keep SAYING THAT, he literally goes around charming little children and doing the yard-woek unasked, he's not bad at all you idiots).  Their  meet-cute goes disastrously, hilariously wrong, and I was like, yes! Come alive, you boring little book.


Then, as Christina pointed out while she was reading this book, Derek informs the reader that there's electricity flowing between him and Ashtyn (page 27. 27). Which there is not. Show me the electricity. Don't just inform me of it and except that to be good enough. At least the characters gained a lot more personality by this point. Unfortunately, I hated their personalities, so that was nice.

"I'd bet my left nut that Chicago beaches are nothing like the beaches in Cali."

Ew, Derek, can we leave your nuts out of this? Also: you are correct. Except for the fact that those of us in California don't ever call it Cali. Also, bring on the cliche alerts: the girl who's just one of the guys and doesn't know about fashion. The best friend (Monika. Ugh, that spelling) who knows all about clothes and boys and makeup and is willing to help out the less-fashionable protag. Except who cares about Ashtyn's friends? The author certainly doesn't! They're basically just names on a page! As @ournoisyhearts pointed out, all Ashtyn's friends feel like furniture.

Also, Ashtyn, just because a guy knows how to make breakfast, doesn't mean he must have spent a lot of time with his mother. Guys are capable of scrambling eggs and do not actually requite women to show them how. They, like females, require sustenance for continuing to be alive. There was a lot of accidental misogyny, which is super annoying in a book that otherwise does a good job of dealign with people's everyday sexism, particularly in sports. Bonus points for diversity, though (casual mention of a football player's two dads).

The football plot I really could have liked. Ashtyn, team captain and the only girl on the team, has to deal with the sexism from her rival team and her jealous douchenozzle boyfriend and her gruff father, who completely sucks. She needs to subvert everyone's expectations, prove herself, etc. But Elkeles, to my everlasting despair, doesn't focus on this plot at all. Instead, she focuses on Derek and Ashtyn, who have as much chemistry as a pair of chairs.


Why? Because they move tooooo faaaaast. Like, there's insta-lust, which this sort of is, but... i just didn't believe it, you know? Ashtyn and Derek are all right characters with some funny moments, but their chemistry felt totally forced to me. If it had been left to develop naturally, I might have shipped it. But not when the author is just knocking the characters' heads together like they're her Barbies. Then stupid Derek and his and Landon's stupid alpha male nonsense. "Bleghhh, Ashtyn is a prize to be won, my balls are bigger than your balls, bleghhhh." I literally laughed out loud when Ashtyn was all, "I was in love with him. I had been all along, really." Really? Really?

I mean, there's cute bantering, and then there's just being mean. Ashtyn and Derek are mean to each other. I like them so much better as characters when they're apart. When Ashtyn's dealing with her father (TALK ABOUT UNDERDEVELOPED PLOT THREAD) or football, she's great. When Derek is thinking about his mom, he's tremendously likeable. Together? Ugh.

I love football and will always be willing to read books about football. The misleading cover and synopsis made me think the romance would be on the field or more directly football-related. I will admit the kissing scenes are pretty steamy. But ugh stupid too easy happily ever after ending and stupid non-footballness and stupid forced love and blehhhhhh. That ending? Give me a break. Super rushed and super cheesy. I rolled my eyes so hard I think I sprained them.

Seriously, go read Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally instead. Say hi to Sam Henry for me. With your lips.


  1. Hmmm, since I really am not a fan of contemporary books I'm so not gonna be reading this one! I might give a chance to Catching Jordan since I've see many other bloggers recommend it also!

    1. Do! Catching Jordan isn't perfect, but it's much better than Wild Cards (not saying much, in my opinion).

  2. Ahh this one sounds disappointing. I cannot stand insta-love... plus I've been seeing a lot of people with similar thoughts to you. Too bad! Anyway, I just read your catching jordan review and totally want to check that one out. I am a hardcore football fan and loove when it's incorporated in my books!!

    1. It was disappointing :( Especially for a football fan! There was no football in it!

  3. You had me at "...there isn't even one football game in this book," and then you immediately lost me at everything else.

    Sigh, insta-love. Sigh, "Cali." Sigh, friend furniture.

    Why can't all the books just be really, really good? Why can't that happen?

    Kate @ The Midnight Garden

    1. Sigh, Cali, indeed.


  4. Aww you quoted me! It's kind of pathetic how excited I was by that. Your Snape gif was a great beginning to the review because the lack of football was crazy. That was ridiculous. I think you really articulated two of the points that made this book weird. The first was that the characters were more compelling when they weren't together. The other was that we were only told they had chemistry. I may have to read Catching Jordan because I really want to read a football romance

    1. LOL :D

      SERIOUSLY. You're a football book! Wither the footbal???

  5. "As much chemistry as a pair of chairs." Oh man. I laughed aloud at that. Then I stared at the picture and giggled more. *doffs invisible internet hat*
    Well done. I applaud you.

    1. The moment I found that picture I knew it had to be in my review. IT JUST HAD TO.

  6. The new header is amazing! I just sat here and tried to find all of the cool things in the swirls! It's awesomeness personified! Also I'm glad I didn't read this book. I'm not a sports fan, so I sidelinned around this one and I'm glad I did.

    1. <333 Thank you so much. I'm really pleased with how my header came out.

      Honestly, this book was clearly written for people who don't like sports, as there wasn't any sports in it.

  7. Oh my gosh, the chairs! THE CHAIRS!! Hahahahahaha.

    Also, without even reading this book, I'll bet you that it would have been so much cooler if Ash (just drop the ridiculous -tyn) had stormed up to Derek and Landon while in full uniform, whacked them both upside the head with her football helmet, screamed "How dare you! Both of you! Standing around, deciding MY future! I AM NOT SOME PRIZE TO BE WON!" and then led her team to victory while both boys nursed their wounds. Or maybe that's just me.

  8. Aw, I'm so sorry you hated this book. Though I have seen many people not liking it. Thank god I never bought it, lol :D Thank you for being honest sweetie. <3 loved your review.

  9. HAHAHAHA oh my god those chairs!!! This was a highly entertaining review, I must say!

  10. Whyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy. I actually wanted to read this one. But it sounds like SUCH a hot mess, and I trust your opinion. The characters don't sound appealing, and I hate that the football plot is basically a lie. UGH BOOK. UGH.

    Molli | Once Upon a Prologue

  11. I was pretty sure I wasn't going to read this one and post-reading this review, I'm even more pretty sure. And I really will go read Catching Jordan instead. Because I have it on my shelf and I've REALLY BEEN MEANING TO.

    I will be SURE to say hi to Sam Henry for you. With my lips. ;) :*

  12. Tee hee. So glad I DNFed. Now, what did I miss?

    I love when reviews start with UGH.

    Whoaaaa, not a single football game? For reals? I mean, I hate football, but like no.


    YARD-WOEK. You are welcome two weeks late.

    And, omg, he's a yard-woek doing bad boy. GET DOWN WITH YOUR BADSELF.

    Hey! I'm in this review. Cool.

    "Cliche alers" Aler alert!

    *coughs* You mate me SO much at this moment.

    Lol, Monika was another reason I DNFed. THESE NAMES. ARE YOU FO REAL? PLEASE BE FO PLAY PLAY.

    DUCK CHAIRS. Those are some sexy, chemistry-having chairs. My iPod would like to add 'what the duck?"

    Oooh, see I like when they are mean to each other in a bantery way where it feels like they will have the hottest sex ever as soon as they finish insulting one another orally. Not when it sounds like he's going to punch her or vice versa. Nooooo.

    Ew, Landon and Derek. Nooooooope.

  13. I'm dying over the chairs, which is exactly what their chemistry felt like. Ugh, this book was just so bad. The thing is though that I was expecting it - I mean, Perfect Chemistry is not that much better - so I guess that's why I liked it a little more. I read it when I really didn't want to think about anything, so um. That worked? But lol, it really was kinda terrible.

    (Do I want to meet this Sam Henry? I mean, I guess, since you want me to say Hi with my lips. Which I can do.)

  14. I'm dying over the chairs, which is exactly what their chemistry felt like. Ugh, this book was just so bad. The thing is though that I was expecting it - I mean, Perfect Chemistry is not that much better - so I guess that's why I liked it a little more. I read it when I really didn't want to think about anything, so um. That worked? But lol, it really was kinda terrible.

    (Do I want to meet this Sam Henry? I mean, I guess, since you want me to say Hi with my lips. Which I can do.)


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