Wild Cards by Simone Elkeles
Fans of Simone Elkeles Perfect Chemistry books will be lining up for a go at this newest title, the first in a series. What’s interesting is that this book will draw sports fans, too, since one of the two main characters is a kid who says he knows nothing about football when the exact opposite just might be true. Told in alternating first person voices, this book is the story of two teens trying to get through their separate family dramas, when they are thrown together by circumstances, creating a whole new can of worms for both of them. Derek Fitzpatrick gets kicked out of his college prep boarding school for masterminding a silly prank (greased piglets were involved!). The worst part is that he now needs to live with his flighty, young stepmom since his dad is deployed on a submarine for the next six months. And on top of that, she is insisting on moving them from California to her hometown of Chicago, which she knows he’ll love! Unfortunately, Derek has absolutely no choice and grudging moves with the pregnant (!) Brandi and her five-year-old son.
Waiting for them in the Chicago suburb is Brandi’s younger sister, Ashtyn. Ashtyn seems to be living a charmed life: she’s a kicker and the only girl on her high school football team, she’s working to win a full-ride to a top college, and her boyfriend is the quarterback. Things start to go wrong, however, when the team elects her the captain instead of her boyfriend, Landon. Let’s just say that Landon cannot get over it and finds a way to betray both Ashtyn and the team.
These two characters both have a lot of issues to deal with in the senior year in high, the last thing they need is a step-sibling who is too attractive to be related to. This book is extremely gripping and I know it will be popular here at Berkeley High. I recommend it to fans of the author’s other books and for readers who enjoy sports fiction.