Summary from Goodreads:
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 really love Elkeles’ books so I knew that I needed to get my hands on a copy of her newest book. Plus who can resist a book about a bad boy and a girl strong enough to be able to play football with the boys.
The story is told in a dual narrative where both Ashtyn and Derek get to tell their sides of the story. I normally am not a huge fan of this style but I feel it really worked well in this book because you have to see the destruction that both characters have lived through in order to understand who they are. Plus it is very hard to find a male narrator in the YA book world so I would never pass up the chance to read about a guy who narrates at least half of the story. I have to say right from the start I really fell for Derek’s story. He seemed like a guy who was lashing out at people just because he really didn’t know what to do in life anymore. He had been moved around all of his life and he wasn’t happy that he was forced to move yet again and still have no one to count on in his life. My heart broke for him so many times in this story and there were a few times when I shed a few tears for what he went through and how he went about handling it. He was cocky, sarcastic, passionate, driven, and also a good guy who was only trying to do what he felt was right in the situations handed to him.
I know I haven’t said anything about Ashtyn yet. I guess that would be due to the fact that for a good chunk of the novel I didn’t connect with her. She just didn’t seem to have much in common with me or how I was as a teenager so I had trouble finding something about her to like. Plus there was a scene in the book were she gave in to her boyfriend’s sexual demands even after she told him no she still did what he asked of her anyway. I’m not sure I can completely side with a girl who will do sexual things just because her boyfriend is laying there demanding it when she clearly wasn’t into it. I felt over the course of the book that I did start to understand her better but I just wish that I had liked her more off the bat.
Then there is the romance between these two and I’m glad that it was the way it was. I felt that they really needed time to fall for one another and they did take the time. They did go back and forth a lot in whether they could fall for one another which could be annoying at times but was still necessary given the way that both of them grew up. They both needed to find it in themselves to trust one another and in the book Derek even states that trust takes time but that it is worth figuring out over the long run.
Overall, I did like the book and it did take till the last 25 pages of the story for me to really think that the book was a great read. While this was no perfect chemistry I liked it all the same for what it was and I can’t wait to find out what the second book is going to be about.