Wild Cards by Simone Elkeles
Series: Wild Cards #1
Publication Date: October 1st 2013
Wild Cards was one of those books that I was extremely excited for this year (or next year since it's not out in the UK until 2014). I was so excited to get a copy of this from Netgalley and I couldn't wait to dive right into this book. Unfortunately, I ended up not enjoying it as much as I'd expected to. There was just something about the characters that annoyed me (don't get me wrong, I did sort of like them but they annoyed the hell out of me). The story line was interesting enough with the family drama and the question surrounding why Derek doesn't play football anymore. I did enjoy this book, but definitely not as much as I'd thought I would have.
Derek has been kicked out of boarding school after a stupid prank and it heading to Chicago to live with his step-mum and her son. Ashtyn lives with her father and he basically ignores the world around him. When Brandi, Julian and Derek show up Ashtyn thinks her life might be coming together. Until he boyfriend betrays her and leaves her team in the lurch. Even though it's the last thing she wants to do, Ashtyn has to turn to Derek to help and ends up falling for him.
OK so I didn't really hit it off with any of the characters in this book (except from Julian because he's such a cutie!). Ashtyn was a great character when she was being herself. She was a strong, independent character that didn't need anyone to stand up for her. But then there were times when she was whiny and just not being herself and I wanted to hit her and tell her to snap out of it. She kept flipping between these two personalities: the one that's strong and can take care of herself, and the one that wanted a guy to protect her. It pissed me off so much! I had no idea which one was the real Ashtyn! She kept going on about how she didn't need anyone but then she kept wanting Derek to be her knight... I mean, what the hell!? It was so damn confusing!
Derek annoyed the hell out of me too. Sure he was cocky and snarky, and that's usually the kind of guy I love in books, but he was so confusing too! He was going on about how much he liked Ash but then he said he had to push her away... and I had no idea why. Most of the stuff he said concerning Ash made no sense, it was so stupid! Derek was a very caring character though. His relationship with his step-brother was so sweet. He took care of him and genuinely loved him and I adored seeing that.
The relationship between Derek and Ashtyn annoyed me too. There were constantly going back and forth until I was so damn confused and had no idea if either of them were ever going to admit their feelings. It was so frustrating! I lost count of the amount of times I had my face in my hands and the amount of frustrated groans I made. It was unbelievable. I was pretty obvious right from the start that they were going to get together, but they took their time about it. And then when they did get together, Ashtyn was like "I love you" and I died. They've barely even known each other that long and they spent most of the time arguing! How the hell can they be in love already?! Urgh, it was so frustrating.
My main interest in the story line was the family drama. Brandi (Ashtyn's sister) hadn't spoken to her father in years after she moved out and now she's back with a son, a step-son and a baby on the way. And then their was Ashtyn's relationship with her father. Her father doesn't like the fact she plays football and said that if her mother hadn't left she'd have been doing cooking classes (which pissed me off big time). Ashtyn is a great footballer and her father doesn't acknowledge that or support her. I also really enjoyed seeing Derek building a relationship with his step-mother Brandi. And then there's also Derek and his grandmother. I don't really want to get into their relationship too much but I will say that I thought she was a bitch to start with but really she was just trying to do what was best for Derek.
The ending was pretty weird and stupid in my opinion. I can't really go into much detail about it though because it'll kind of ruin it but I will say that the way that Derek makes decisions is stupid. Very stupid. And sure, the ending was sweet and lovely but it kind of just showed again that Ashtyn wants a knight in shining armor to take care of her (which totally doesn't fit her personality).
Overall, this was an enjoyable read with an interesting story. It wasn't my favourite contemporary novel, but it was completely terrible.