Better Than Perfect
  • Better Than Perfect
  • Better Than Perfect

Better Than Perfect

5.0 3
by Simone Elkeles

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A fresh and fun repackage of Wild Cards, Better Than Perfect launches a romantic new series from New York Times bestselling author Simone Elkeles.
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

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A fresh and fun repackage of Wild Cards, Better Than Perfect launches a romantic new series from New York Times bestselling author Simone Elkeles.
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. So when her older sister comes home after abandoning her ten years earlier, with her hot new stepson in tow, Ashtyn wants nothing to do with either of them. Then she comes up with a plan that would finally give her the chance to leave, 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 get the future she wants?

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“Fans will be clamoring for this promising start to a new series.” —Booklist, on Better Than Perfect

“Elkeles' ability to write deliciously steamy love scenes...will keep her fans coming back for more.” —Kirkus Reviews, on Better Than Perfect

“Witty banter, unconventional characters, a heart-melting romance and a charming ending make Wild Cards a winner.” —Romantic Times, on Better Than Perfect

“Smoldering doesn't quite do justice to the romantic banter.” —School Library Journal, on Perfect Chemistry

“Teens with a taste for romance will eat this up like ice cream on a hot day.” —BCCB, on Perfect Chemistry

“Elkeles pens plenty of tasteful, hot scenes...that keep the pages turning.” —Kirkus Reviews, on Perfect Chemistry

“Elkeles once again delivers a steamy page-turner bound to make teens swoon.” —School Library Journal, on Rules of Attraction

“Engaging characters, two of whom share a love that cannot be denied, along with more than a few humorous moments.” —VOYA, on Rules of Attraction

“Fans of the series and other females will gobble up this exciting, suspenseful novel.” —VOYA, on Chain Reaction

“Elkeles has a talent of writing steamy but real romance like no other author in the YA genre.” —Pure Imagination blog, on Chain Reaction

Publishers Weekly
Elkeles (the Perfect Chemistry books) is in familiar territory with this football-themed romance between Ashtyn Parker, captain of her high school’s team, and Derek Fitzpatrick, a bad boy with a heart of gold. When Derek’s stepmother Brandi, her young son, and Derek move into Ashtyn’s suburban Chicago home (Brandi is Ashtyn’s older sister), the two teenagers clash and sparks fly. There’s never any question that Ashtyn and Derek will end up together (her current quarterback boyfriend is a jerk), and their constant claims that they can’t stand each other get old and make them both come across as oblivious. The novel alternates between the two teens’ first-person narratives, but the already weak story is further let down by clichéd, hard-to-swallow dialogue and internal monologues (“Shit, this isn’t the way it’s supposed to go. I’m supposed to keep my emotions in check and only hook up with girls who want a good time”). Elkeles does little with Ashtyn’s supposed passion for football, and the romantic chemistry isn’t enough to rescue this uninspiring, by-the-numbers romance. Ages 14–up. Agent: Kristin Nelson, Nelson Literary Agency. (Oct.)
School Library Journal
Gr 10 Up—Being a prankster got Derek kicked out of school and, without a choice, he relocates with his young stepmother to her hometown outside Chicago. There, he bunks with Ashtyn, who is his stepmother's sister, the only girl on the high school football team, and quite possibly, the girl of his dreams. Ashtyn is the newly appointed team captain, and in a jealous rage, her longtime boyfriend, who had assumed he would be captain, betrays her and their teammates and transfers to the rival high school. To make matters worse, Ashtyn now has to come up with a plan to fix her broken heart and pull her team together. Deserted by her mother and the offspring of a disconnected father, she's been deceived by those closest to her countless times, and letting it happen again is not an option. Ashtyn has her vision set on football, but she becomes distracted by the game Derek plays as he sets his beguiling ways on her. The twists and turns of lust and love between her and Derek grow when she's forced to prove herself on the football field and in the field of love. Elkeles's reverse role of characters brings this steamy love story to life.—Keisha Miller, South Orange Public Library, NJ
Kirkus Reviews
Romance Lite in a new series from the author of Perfect Chemistry (2009). When Derek gets kicked out of prep school in California for playing a prank, he has no choice but to move to suburban Chicago with his young stepmother, Brandi. There, he meets Brandi's sister, Ashtyn, who's just been voted captain of the football team, to the chagrin of the star quarterback, her boyfriend, Landon. Ashtyn takes an immediate dislike to Derek, although she's charmed by his Southern drawl. Derek, a former quarterback himself, is impressed by Ashtyn's unlikely combination of hot femininity and prowess on the gridiron. A thin plot, weak characterizations and poorly realized setting are beside the point in this fast-moving story. There's plenty of sexually charged tension between Derek and Ashtyn as they go from beach parties and breakups to road trips and football camp. Alternating first-person chapters reveal the personal struggles of each as they fight the inevitability of falling in love. Unfortunately, the feminism implicit in Ashtyn's being a football player is undermined by her apparently unironic conclusion that real power comes from squeezing into a cocktail dress and stilettos and imagining herself a princess. Still, Elkeles' ability to write deliciously steamy love scenes for those in the early stages of their own sexual journeys will keep her fans coming back for more. (Fiction. 14­ & up)

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Product Details

Bloomsbury USA
Publication date:
Wild Cards Series
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range:
14 - 17 Years

Meet the Author

SIMONE ELKELES is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Perfect Chemistry series, Leaving Paradise series, and How to Ruin series. All three books in the Perfect Chemistry series have been YALSA Top Ten Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Readers, and the Illinois Association of Teachers of English named Simone 2008 Author of the Year. Simone's funny way of looking at the world shines through in novels that are bursting with sarcastic wit, edgy characters, and exhilarating drama.

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Better Than Perfect 5 out of 5 based on 1 ratings. 3 reviews.
Dazzlamb More than 1 year ago
Derek and Ashtyn are yet another of Simone Elkeles' impulsive pairings who have to go a long way to finally disclose their feelings for each other. They are both quite hot tempered and very stubborn in their own ways. As always it was a pleasure to witness one of Simone Elkeles' turbulent romances evolve. Derek might be introduced as the bad boy who breaks every girl's heart, but his true side is much more vulnerable and relaxed than anyone outside of his family would ever see. He and Ashtyn both have moving pasts that are constantly coming back to them and majorly affect their present and future together. Their living situation, Ashtyn and Derek in the same house, leads to a delicious attraction and constant electricity between the two of them. Them getting together would be so much more complicated for the whole family. There's also a thrilling and sneaky side to it that makes it so much more of a fun game both of them can't resist to play. You'll also love the scenes circling around their patchwork family life. There's always something going on at their house that should keep you entertained in between very fulfilling make-out sessions and the rivalry with another football team. Football's a huge part of Ashytn's life as it's her only hope to finally get away from her hometown and her dad. It's her great passion and Derek isn't a stranger to the sport either. I grew to like the sport very much in Miranda Keneally's CATCHING JORDAN and was happy to see football and especially the reality of female players with serious talent getting some more attention in Simone Elkeles newest YA book, too. WILD CARDS had very much the same feel to it like Simone's previous three Fuentes books, without the Spanish cultural background, yet not missing the hot tempered relationships. Simone Elkeles supplies us with a male and female perspective on the story. It's one of Simone's best writing traits, considering the need of so many readers to be in both of her characters' heads. And I definitely needed to be in Derek's head at some points during the story or I might not have cared about him as much as I did in the end (very much!). 4,5/5 ****/* WILD CARDS – An absorbing and energizing new YA game. I expected no less than a very unpredictable love story, a couple with fiery tempers. A road trip, an unforgettable first meeting and an alluring story line should be argument enough to convince not only the football fans to pick up WILD CARDS. Very pleased to see there's already a second book in this series in work.
bookloverLM More than 1 year ago
Better than perfect in my eyes is better than perfect. I love this book I just got it yesterday and I have read it 2 times already.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago