Wild Cards by Simone Elkeles
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?
Note: On Amazon this book is listed as Better Than Perfect (previously titled Wild Cards), but other sites still list it as Wild Cards so that is what I used.
I was excited to read Wild Cards since I had enjoyed other books by Simone Elkeles. While I did enjoy the story, at times it was a bit too coincidental. Because of that you could see what would happen way before it happened so no surprises. Still it wasn't a bad read. I suppose some spoilers ahead, even though it is pretty obvious when reading it.
Derek is not really a bad guy, but he keeps getting in bad situations. Really he hasn't done much, but he gets caught in situations that look bad. He gets kicked out of his school so he has to move in with his stepmom while his dad is deployed. His stepmom is moving back home with her dad in Chicago so now he has to go with her.
Ashtyn is a football player. She started playing after her mom left trying to find some way to connect with her dad. She thinks if she is just good enough he will pay attention. She has been stuck with her dad by herself for a while now. Her big sister left her there with him. Her sister is Derek's stepmom.
When Ashtyn first meets Derek she thinks he is from their rival school. She has just been selected team captain to the disappointment of her oh so wonderful boyfriend. Of course since the boyfriend is a nightmare that leads to the oh so easy opening for Derek. I really had a problem getting over the fact that Ashtyn is Derek's aunt (step aunt but still) and her sister is pregnant so her new baby would be Derek's half-brother or sister and Ashtyn's niece or nephew. That would be such a crazy family structure if everything worked out and they got married and stuff. I know there is no blood relation between them, but it still wigs me out. I don't know why. They didn't even know each other before now so...I still don't like it that much. Oh well, I just tried not to think about it.
So Ashtyn is determined to be mean and not like Derek right from the start. Of course it is all a big front as she really does like him. They grow closer and she gets rid of the boyfriend, but of course there has to be some problems to work through. Ashtyn's ex was the star quarterback for their football team and without him they have no chance of wining state! I know, such problems. Well wouldn't you know Derek used to play football. He was a star football player! What? I know. You don't find this out until late in the book, and that causes issues with Ashtyn, but it was obvious from the start he would swoop in at the end and save the football team with his mad skills. It was just....everything in the book was really coincidental. Ashtyn needed a ride to Texas for football camp and none of her friends can give her a ride. Well wouldn't you know Derek needs to go to Texas so he can give her a ride. Ashtyn needs a quarterback, Derek is a star quarterback, etc. It was just a bit much at times cause you could see it coming from a mile away. I like my stories to not be so perfect all the time. It is more realistic if they have to work for it, if everything doesn't just magically fall into place all the time. At least with my life that is not what happens. Not a bad read, but I wish it would have been a little less perfect.
Rating: ★ ★ ★