PJV Quickie: As my first experience with Simone Elkeles I had high hopes since her other series is so very popular and I was disappointed. WILD CARD was a easy to read and enjoyable Young Adult Contemporary with a flare for the dramatic and real-world teen problems. It was a sweet read and I felt myself emotionally tied to the characters even though I found some of the strife and angst to be formulaic.
Review: What I enjoyed most about the book was how Elkeles roll reversed. She took the female lead and made her into the football player and the male lead was the new “hot”, loner student. It made for a different but same kind of read. But, the added benefit of the girl as the football player added an emotional aspect to the story, giving Ashtyn real passion for her choices in life. She was striving so hard to be this female football player, that it added more depth to the story.
Derek’s story was a little more common, dealing with the death of a parent leads him to give up his goals in life and kind of drift through his high school career. But, his character was believable and swoon-worthy. I enjoyed his point of view, because he was dealing with a lot in his life and Elkeles’ writing made those problems come to life.
The angst of the characters, the passion of Ashtyn and her trying out for football just to keep her family together was the highlight of the story. I enjoyed Derek’s point of view and understood what he was going through. The side characters were affable and I really enjoyed reading about the ditzy stepmom, the grumpy father, the overbearing grandmother. I liked that it was a quick read and easy to get into. This is what I would call a momentary loss of reality and swift peak into someone’s romance. Elkeles has a way with words and a talent at creating great characters.
Where I ran into problems, regarding WILD CARD by Simone Elkeles was the contrived problems of the book. I thought they were too formulaic, everything sort of went from A to B to C with no surprises and the problems that arose seemed written in to move the plot forward. Like camping in Oklahoma in the summer, where she put on flannel pajamas so she wouldn’t be cold (OK in summer?) didn’t make sense, but moved the plot along nicely. Speaking of summer, I also couldn’t help but notice wardrobe choices. Elkeles constantly reference what the teens wore and it always seemed to be sweats, beanies — etc. Did I mention it was summer? Am I wrong to think that this might not be normal summer clothes in Chicago during July? I hear you that it gets cold at night, but during the day it can be pretty steamy…oh well. It is July when I’m writing this review and I am sweating my petunia off and the characters did go from Chicago to Texas wearing sweats and beanies. Things like this are a trifle, but I mention them because they stood out to me and they will probably be edited out in the final run – so I’m probably just lamenting over nonsense.
Overall, a good book and now I want to go back and read Elkeles’ other series, PERFECT CHEMISTRY. In regard to young adult contemporary, I like mine with lots of angst, slightly disturbed characters and plenty of conflict. This gave it all to me in a fun, different kind of package, I enjoyed WILD CARD by Simone Elkeles. Give it a try, you might just enjoy it also!
Recommendations: Fans of contemporary and teen romance you’ll enjoy WILD CARD. There is kissing and talk of some mature items, so I would recommend this to a 14+ audience. If you are a fan of Katie McGarry give Simone Elkeles a try.