Possible spoilers. Possible... I Tried to stay away from them, but something might have slipped.
I have read Elkeles Perfect Chemistry trilogy, after I first found the Paradise books and read those. There's one series by her I have not read just yet, but I did the craziest happy dance of all time when I heard about this series coming out. I finally got to read it... it did not disappoint!
Derek has been expelled from the prestigious boarding school he attends. This he didn't expect. He also expect to get stuck with his new step-mom, get stuck moving to the Chicago suburbs or to meet a girl that throws him off his game. Ashtyn's life is far from normal. Her mom's gone, her dad's checked out on her, she's the first string kicker for her high school team, the sister that abandoned her has magically reappeared and she brought an unexpected addition to the household. All Ashtyn's had for years is her team and boyfriend... their team's star quarterback Landon. She clings to what she has for fear of losing more people she loves... little does she know her life is about to change drastically.
Wild Cards has a whole slough of amazing characters. This should be one hell of a series. Derek is... *swoons* I love Derek as much as I loved Elkeles's Alex and that's a lot. He is honestly a great guy trying to be the bad boy. He really isn't. He has been through things that has caused him to not want to be tied down to one person. He has experienced loss on an epic level and with his day constantly away on deployment I get it. He gave up his love of football because of what he carries with him. Now to appease his competitive streak he pulls pranks... at an epic level too. He has a lot he needs to work through and then comes Ashtyn. She throws him through a loop from second one and Derek, Ashtyn. They have an awesome chemistry and Elkeles does an amzing job getting it across as usual. I love how they interact and get along throughout the book. It makes for some hilarious moments. But to see they love they developenfor each other is amazing.
Ashtyn is a tomboy. She lives and breathes football, but still allows her feminine side to peek through. I could completely relate to that... I'm a farm kid that grew up around a bunch of guys. Tomboy, but I still have my girly side. I loved Ashtyn! She is at this point my favorite heroine Elkeles has written. I love her attitude towards Derek and how she handles things. I completely got her and how she handled things. The people she has needed the most in her life keep walking away from her. She yearns for the unconditional love she deserves to have, but never gets and her fear of abandonment is well placed. I liked Ashtyn's overall character and personality. Both her and Derek are stubborn as hell and I loved it I this. Normally the level of stubbornnedd shown from them bugs me, but it didn't at all in Wild Cards. Again, she is my favorite.
There are so many secondary characters its hard to get them all! Vic and Jet are awesome. Jet is fun loving and outgoing and I am looking forward to his book because as Ashtyn said in Wild Cards when he meets his girl it is going to blindside him and rock his world to the core. I think his story is going to be as intense as Derek and Ashtyn's. Vic is the silent, strong brooding type and sweet to boot. He cares and loves deep. Monika and Trey are an awesome couple, but I have this feeling... it's a funny feeling. I really wanted to beat Landon's ass... sorry but omg... then Bree I kind of wanted to ring her neck a little. Brandi is growing up... she is herself and means well and her son is stinkin' adorable. Then Grandma Worthington. I LOVED HER! She is a firecracker for an old lady and has a lot in common with her grandson... more than she realizes. Although she does manipulate most things to get them to work, she really was sweet and meant well. She was trying to right her wrongs and I feel she really made a good dent in righting those.
Overall, I just love this book. It is going in as an all time favorite for me, right with the Perfect Chemistry trilogy. Simone Elkeles has solidified a spot in my top authors listened and I will rush to read her other books. And to get my hands on ARC... well I'd give my left arm and it would be coveted item for life. Wild Cards is amazing with a book hangover to rival all others. It is a must read just like all of Simone Elkeles books. I am already stalking the sites for information about book 2.