Series: Wild Cards #1
Published by Walker Books for Young Readers on October 1, 2013
Genres: Contemporary Romance, YA
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?
What I Liked…
Without Derek I’m not sure I would have made it through Wild Cards. He was what every high school wants in a high school boy. He had some humor, some feelings and a whole lot of hotness. He was inappropriate at times, but if you know any teenage boys it doesn’t seem farfetched that he would behave that way.
I was a little put off by by Ashtyn’s sister Brandi at first. She’s a little flighty and she abandoned Ashtyn and her father about 7 years prior. But the more I got to know her the more I liked her, especially because she was so determined to be a good step mom to Derek, only 8 years younger than her.
The Step Relationship
I have a soft spot for step brother & step sister falling in love books. Derek and Ashtyn aren’t step brother & step sister but rather step-nephew and step-aunt, but the concept is just the same, and it worked for me here.
Derek’s grandma is a bit of a snob and doesn’t have a great history with Derek’s no deceased mom, but I really liked her. She pushed people and encouranged people do things that they were unwilling to do before.
What I Didn’t Like…
Ashtyn rubbed me the wrong way from the beginning. For being a female football player she wasn’t nearly as tough as I thought she would be. Everything about her relationship with her ex boyfriend Landon (??? Seriously, I can’t even remember if his name) irritated me. He was such a asshat and she was all “maybe I just need to give him space”. No, you do not need to give him space, he can’t even congratulate you on being captain. He should have been dumped way sooner.
Guys, I LOVE football. And because I love it I know a lot about it. I’m not overly picky, and I can be forgiving, but there were a few football related things in Wild Cards that drove me nuts. Ashtyn is voted captain of her football team. This is great and all, but there is no way she would be voted the sole captain, not because she is a girl, but because she is a kicker. Plus there are usually multiple captains on a football team, where she could have been one of many, but not just the sole captain.
He is the worst kind of parent, the one that doesn’t care. After Ashtyn’s mom left and they got divorced he’s been on autopilot. He doesn’t go to her games. Apparently he does no kind of cooking, ever. There is so much that could have been done with this part of the story, but nothing was. He was just kind of “there” and then some things happened at the end.
Worst. Nickname. Ever. And it’s all over the place.
I think if I had been reading Wild Cards I probably wouldn’t have been as annoyed by Ashtyn as I was listening to it. The narrator for Ashtyn seemed to be extra whiny. The narrator for Derek was great, except when he said Sugar Pie, it had an excessive drawl to it that I didn’t care for.
If you are looking for a football themed contemporary stick with Catching Jordan. That one is amazing!