Fumbles toward the middle, but overall a touchdown for Wild Cards

When “meeting” a character for the first time, it is so important that the character make an impression. When we “meet” high school junior Derek, he’s busy unleashing three greased pigs in the middle of the senior class’s graduation ceremony at his snooty prep school. Impression made, and it’s definitely a lasting one.

I liked Derek right off the bat. Or should I say pigskin? He’s cocky without being annoying and uses a façade of cool self-assurance to mask the world of pain and guilt he’s been living in for far too long.

Does he make a good first impression on Ashtyn? Not so much. She labels him a thug and stabs him with a pitchfork, but that’s just the kind of girl Ashtyn is. She plays football, leads her team on and off the field, and tries to harden herself against a life where everyone she has ever loved has left her.

Both characters in Wild Cards are alone, hurting, and too afraid because of their pasts to tear down their carefully built walls and let in someone new. But spend enough time with someone, let emotions run a little too loose, and bricks begin to crack, mortar crumbles, and walls tumble down. The question is who gets hurt when the walls fall? Who is left standing? And is there enough to rebuild two lives that have almost been destroyed by circumstances outside of their control?

While I think the pace slows down in the middle of the book, it definitely picks up again when we are introduced to Mrs. Worthington, Derek’s hilarious grandmother. She brings the laughs to a storyline that is heavy with emotion and teaches her grandson and Ashtyn a thing or two about life and families.

So if you like hot guys, tough girls, strong-willed grannies, football, or all of the above, grab a copy of Wild Cards and let the games begin.

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