Thursday, October 3, 2013

Wild Cards (Simone Elkeles)


Wild Cards by Simone Elkeles is a young adult title but I think it is for pretty mature young adults!  I definitely feel my age when I read what the teens seem to think is perfectly acceptable behavior and I have to admit that I am very relieved that I do not have to guide an impressionable youngster through the dangerous shoals of interpersonal relationships and expectations when I read books like this.  There are great scenes in this book which shows the untapped potential available in youth--now if only older wiser heads could convince them to apply that creativity to something constructive, lol.

I had the pleasure of listening to the author speak a couple of years ago at a conference and was delighted with her quirky way of approaching obstacles (she had a great story about how she convinced these hunky stars to pose for the covers of her books) and impressed by her desire to touch teens and give them positive things in their lives.

My review:

Wild Cards by Simone Elkeles is a young adult title that explores the trials and tribulations faced by a pair of teens who suddenly are part of a reluctantly blended family.  Derek Fitzpatrick isn’t thrilled when he is expelled from Regents Preparatory Academy for a prank but that’s nothing compared to the news that he is moving from California to Chicago with his stepmom who isn’t that much older than he is.  Ashtyn Parker hasn’t really forgiven her sister for leaving, especially since their mother abandoned them and her father isn’t terribly supportive of her position as kicker on her high school football team so she’s really dismayed to suddenly acquire an attractive step-nephew who threatens to make her re-evaluate her relationships and her goals.  Maybe they’ll be good for each other...or maybe not!

This engaging young adult title covers some pretty intense subject matter and is a little more graphic than I had anticipated but definitely offers an entertaining read.  The complex and often painful lives that the main characters have experienced have molded them into occasionally defiant but definitely individualistic personalities who are fascinating to read about.  I like the unconventionality and determination displayed and the sense of humor that balances some of the somber subject matter such as teen sex, bullying and discrimination.  I still chuckle at the numbers painted on a set of pigs but am bemused by the concept of being allergic to the color purple and, although I thought some of the solutions were a bit disingenuous and a little too pat, I greatly enjoyed the story.  Naturally, there is plenty of angst and confusion about relationships but I think that is a reflection of the challenges in the lives of teens and although some of the characters could use a little more depth, it is my impression that this is the start of a series so I imagine there will be subsequent improvements so that some of the secondary characters are less stereotypical.  I look forward to reading more works by this entertaining author.

submitted to Night Owl Reviews

Wild Cards (Amazon buy link)


  1. Sounds like a very interesting read. Thanks for the review.

    1. I haven't had a chance to read her series, "Perfect Chemistry" but it is evidently very popular among young adults an definitely on my TBR list. Thanks for visiting.

  2. The books sound good but I have not read any of your books. I have found so many writers that I have not read and i like to find new writers. I will be trying to figure out my new Nook so I can order the first book in the series

    1. Glad that the book sounds interesting to you Felicia. Congrats on the new Nook, I am sure you will have fun filling it with great books to read! Thanks for visiting.