Wild Cards by Simone Elkeles
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? (Goodreads)
Ok, so Derek is kicked out of his hoity toity prep school for being a douchy, arrogant little prankster (the school didn’t actually put it that way, but you get the idea). His military dad is deployed, which means Derek has no choice but to live with his air-headed but sweet stepmother as she prepares to move back to Texas with her son. What’s in Texas, you ask? Her gruff pops who lives in her childhood home with her younger sis, Ashtyn. Ashtyn is not your typical girl. She was just voted captain of her football team (oh yes, she’s a kicker. Holla to the badass girls out there!). Her new position doesn’t exactly sit well with her boyfriend, the star quarterback and guy who thought he was a shoe-in for the role.
Derek and Ashtyn have your typical I-hate-you-even-though-I’m-grossly-attracted-to-you banter. Ashtyn hates that this stranger has moved into her home, she doesn’t like that her sister–who pretty much abandoned the family years ago–is back, and she’s struggling in her relationship with her jerk of a boyfriend. Derek, on the other hand, acts like a pompous ass some of the time, but he’s actually a really good guy. And just as he and Ashtyn begin to trust each other–which is a slow process– Derek’s grandmother (who pretty much disowned his mom when she married his dad) steps in and tries to shake things up.
I thought this was a fun story. Derek and Ashtyn were both likeable. Derek, in that nondescript, honorable, hot guy way (I’m sorry, I don’t know any other way to describe him. Likeable Hot Guy covers it) and Ashtyn, who’s intense in her awesome love of football, and of her team. The story dragged for me at some points, but never so much that I could give it up completely. I fell in love with Derek’s grandmother (who was a teensy bit reminiscent of Grandmere of Princess Diaries fame), and I really embraced the fact that outside of this being a story focusing on romantic love, Elkeles made an effort to emphasize familial ties here as well.
Crush Intensity: 3.5/5 This, to me, wasn’t as strong as the other only book I’ve read from this author, Perfect Chemistry, but it was enjoyable.
Thank you to Netgalley and Bloomsbury Children’s for sharing an e-galley with me in exchange for an honest review!