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?
I enjoy Simone Elkeles' books, particularly because she's so fearless in portraying teenagers as whole people, not just clean-cut characters with superficial problems. Her characters are complicated individuals who are on the cusp of adulthood, trying to figure out complex issues like family pressures, social struggles, love, and friendship.
True to her previous books, she has a particular style and formula that she sticks to, because it works. Told in the first person, in alternating viewpoints, the story follows female football kicker Ashtyn as she becomes captain of the team, losing her the quarterback boyfriend who can't cope with her success, and former quarterback Derek who lands in Chicago with his stepmom (Ashtyn's sister) after getting kicked out of his private school.
What I like about this author's books is the truth in the characters, and an honesty in the way many teens communicate and interact with each other. No author can represent all teens, because like adults, they're diverse and don't follow one code of behaviour, but I find that many books tend to represent them as such. A little bit rebellious, but with all the drinking, swearing, and sex edited out. I like that Simone Elkeles' books represents some diversity in that respect.
Kat's Rating: A Good Read
This formula seems to be either a love it or hate it one among YA readers. If you don't like the dual POV romance, then this book probably isn't for you. If you enjoyed her Perfect Chemistry series, then this book may be what you're looking for. I enjoyed it, and think it will be another popular series for Simone Elkeles.
I received a complimentary copy of this title from NetGalley and the publisher in return for an honest review.