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.
“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!
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?