Tuesday, December 24, 2013
Book Review: Wild Cards by Simone Elkeles
Author: Simone Elkeles
Rating: 4.5/5 stars- oh you remind me why I love cliches
Synopsis (as found on Goodreads):
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?
Another contemporary. I know.
Having read Simone Elkeles' Perfect Chemistry series last year and fallen heads over heels in love with the series, I went into Wild Cards with some pretty good expectations along with the hopes for that fun chick-lit style along with a fresh new twist.
I was super pleased that it nailed every expectation pretty well, and I had so much fun with this one!
Wild Cards reminds me a little bit of Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally with the football aspect of the novel. The plot is totally different but it has that familiar background almost which I enjoyed.
Simone Elkeles returns back to the plot of the bad boy vs the good girl, which yes, I know, is an ultimate cliche. But I feel like that's what Simone Elkeles does best and she does it well. My thing with cliches is as long as it's done well with some creativity it's fine. It's hard to find original plots these days, and it's especially hard with contemporary. I'm not going to pick on every single one on originality. Especially if the author pulls off that cliche well. Am I lying if I say this book isn't cliche? Yes. But I'd also be lying if I said that I didn't enjoy the cliches.
I think Simone Elkeles pulls it off well, and it's seems to be what she writes best. I don't mind cliches personally if they're done well, which in this case, I think it is done well. If you don't like cliches (especially the broke bad boy and good girl cliche) I advise you steer clear of these novels.
Personal opinion: a cliche is a cliche for a reason. It became a cliche because people liked it. It's hard to be COMPLETELY original these days, so using a cliche and adding your personal touches doesn't seem like a heinous crime to me. I like cliches that are well used and gives you the feeling that this became a cliche for a reason- it's not a mindless one thrown in there.
Derek and Ashtyn are both classic to the cliche, yet with their own twists and faults and different plot to keep the story light and entertaining. It's super fun to read, with funny lines in between and weirdly loveable side characters. (Like Grams. OMG I love Grams.)
Personally, with a novel like this, I don't think it should be broken and down and analyzed and be critiqued for originality or whatever- it's meant to be fun, it's meant to be an entertaining and relaxing read and it's to allow to have a good time and wind down with it.
And that's exactly what it had and that's all I wanted from the novel. I wasn't expecting like amazing depth or originality, I was just hoping to have a nice chick-lit to wind down from the long day. Which the novel delivered.
That being said, of course the novel has it's faults. It's fairly predictable, the characters have a bit too much of a insta-love physical attraction that makes you not really believe in their romance. It can be kind of cheesy, kind of facepalm-why-did-you-do-this feeling, and find Derek and Ashtyn kind of immature. But I mean. Teenagers. That's how we are. We are annoying. Period.
In the end, Wild Cards was a fun read, an enjoyable time. Is it a classic piece of masterful writing? No. Is it a good book? Depends on how you look at it. I recommend this if you're looking for a fun chick-lit to wind down from a long day just to have a bit of a laugh or if you've been reading some pretty intense paranormals or serious novels.
(P.S. Recommend that if you enjoy the occasional cliche like me that you check out Jennifer E. Smith's novels, The Statistic Possibility of Love at First Sight and This is What Happy Looks Like. SHE MAKES YOU LOVE THE CLICHE. Makes me remember why these scenarios are cliches to begin with.)
Posted by Carmen Yu at 9:59 PM