Review: Wild Cards by Simone Elkeles

cover31621-small About a year ago, my friend Della told me to read Perfect Chemistry, a great romance about opposites attracting.  I read the rest of the series, Rules of Attraction and Chain Reaction in short order, and I have been looking forward to a new Simone Elkeles book ever since.  So imagine my glee when Wild Cards appeared on Net Galley! !!!!

Derek Fitzpatrick and his friends play a (hysterical) practical joke on graduating seniors at their California boarding school.  The group was caught, but bad boy Derek is singled out for breaking the rules.  Refusing to let his friends suffer the consequences, he says he acted alone and is expelled. With his father serving overseas, Derek’s stepmom thinks this is as good a time as any to relocate their blended family to Illinois until her husband comes home.

Derek finds himself sharing his new home with Ashlyn Parker, his stepmom’s kid sister.  Ashlyn is unlike any girl he has ever met – mostly because she is the starting kicker for her high school’s varsity football team.  She is ambitious, thick skinned and committed to doing all she can to earn a college scholarship – an opportunity to take her far from her life and toward a promising future.

This is a romance between two people who seem to be opposites, yet have much in common.  The unraveling layers makes for a good read, and you will root for Derek and Ashlyn to work out their issues – the way you root for all of Simone Elkeles’ couples to overcome external forces and internal doubts to experience unexpected love.  Wild Cards has an original plot, believable characters and a fun romance.  Meeting Derek forces Ashlyn to think differently, and meeting someone so different forces Derek to make the most of his circumstances.  Several secondary characters keep the plot quickly unfolding, and while you anticipate a Happily Ever After, the route is certainly unexpected.

If you read and enjoy this book, read the others by Elkeles. If you read the others and liked them, read this one too.  More great storytelling about coming of age with a side of culture shock.  =)    I find myself looking forward to another of her books… again.  -Kris

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