Wild Cards | Simone Elkeles | Book Review

I have one of those magical sorts of powers where no matter how loud, crowded, and distracting a location can be I am able to read a book and focus on it. Despite the promise of ARCs, authors, bloggers and more, I ended up taking time to pause at Book Expo America 2013 and read through Wild Cards by Simone Elkeles. It is the perfect book for overwhelming conferences. Wild Cards has an interesting story, a romance, and is a book that lends itself to constantly being picked up and put back down — but totally a snap to get back into once your blogger friends have bypassed you for a totally fly booth, or when you are sitting out in a random park while two of your friends hit up some adult party. If you’re looking for a light contemporary romance, you’ve come to right book.

Wild Cards by Simone Elkeles | Good Books And Good Wine

When I began reading Wild Cards in line, I knew that there would be comparisons to Catching Jordan as both books are about girls who play on male football teams. Luckily, I had read Wild Cards before I read Catching Jordan so I was not making the comparison the entire time (to be quite honest, I liked Wild Cards way more… SHHHHHH). Elkeles’ latest book opens with Derek getting in trouble for an elaborate prank that he’s pulled at his boarding school. Unfortunately, the prank is the last straw at his school, so he gets kicked out. Instead of going back to home as he knew it, he finds out his dad is deployed so he gets stuck moving to Illinois with his stepmother, Ashley, as she goes back to the house she grew up in.

Ashtyn is totally psyched because she’s one of the football team captains this year. She has earned it, in that she’s played her heart out as a kicker to get there. Unfortunately, her boyfriend is being a total douche and doesn’t support her because as quarterback, he thinks he should be captain. As you can see, there is turmoil in paradise. THEN. Then, she stumbles upon this strange guy in her shed and locks him up — taking him for an intruder. Turns out the guy is Derek, and her sister Ashley is Derek’s stepmom. Also? Derek has this uncanny ability to get under her skin. Things quickly come to a head, as Ashtyn fears losing out on a possible football scholarship – and the only person who can get her back in the game is Derek. Of course, I skipped a lot of the between stuff but that’s because you don’t want to read this summary and then know every little thing that happens in Wild Cards.

What Simone Elkeles excels at is creating tension and heat. You guys, Derek and Ashtyn totally go back and forth between pissing each other off and also feeling attraction to each other. There’s definitely chemistry there as they find each other attractive. Yet, it is also kind of awkward to live in the same house as your crush and to be a step-aunt or a step-nephew of the person you are totally feeling. At least, I find that awkward. So, they constantly fight it and personally I am like, just give in and do that characteristic Elkeles thing where there’s a forbidden romance and some kissing and maybe some sexytimes. Basically, this is a romance that seems like it was written with people like me in mind — it had all the elements I like which boils down to intense chemistry masked as love-hate.

I feel like I should be open and honest with you. The writing in Wild Cards did not blow me away. In fact, I do not think it is particularly well written. BUT, I still really enjoyed the book. I was able to overlook the prose for the romance — which is really what matters to me. Like, I felt that a lot of the wording was awkward. I never wanted to dog ear any of the pages. I wasn’t like — this reaches into my brain and speaks to my soul. Frankly, not every book needs to speak to my soul – especially when I am at a big and loud event. At those events, I just want a nice distraction and distraction is what I got with Wild Cards. It’s not a mind blowing read by any means, but the characters are good people and the romance sizzles. If you are in search of a book that won’t require a lot of commitment on your end, something that feels like a beach read, then pick up Wild Cards.

Disclosure: Review copy provided by publisher.

Other reviews of Wild Cards by Simone Elkeles:

Proud Book Nerd – “fun, sweet, frustrating
Peace Love Books – “I absolutely loved this book
Eve’s Fan Garden – “worth the wait!

Books by Simone Elkeles:
Rules Of Attraction

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April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.
About April (Books&Wine)

April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.


  1. It seems like a typical Simone Elkeles read, which means I may like it, even if I’m not usually the type that goes for straight up romance. Anyway, sounds fun.

  2. This doesn’t sound like my sort of romance, since I often find the love-hate thing hard to believe, but I think it’s pretty impressive you could read in the middle of BEA! I have a hard time reading if it’s too loud, unfortunately.

  3. I read this one on a lazy afternoon, and it was enjoyable enough! While I wasn’t particularly impressed with the writing either, it was amusing. I didn’t really fall for Derek, but watching him and Ashtyn go from will-they to won’t-they was fun for me!

  4. I just got this one and it’s going to be my first Elkeles even though I own half her back catalogue on Kindle. Despite not sounding like the most stellar of reads it sounds like a good one to start with. I have a few heavy reads coming up so a “beach read” for Autumn sounds like a good deal! Great review April! I always love how clearly I can tell it’s you, you’ve got an amazing unique voice <3

  5. I’m glad you enjoyed Wild Cards, too. I agree on it being something easily put down and then continued.

    And I envy your ability to read just about anywhere!

    Thanks for linking to my review! 🙂