Thursday, January 22

Stepbrother Dearest by Penelope Ward

You’re not supposed to want the one who torments you. 

When my stepbrother, Elec, came to live with us my senior year, I wasn’t prepared for how much of a jerk he’d be. 

I hated that he took it out on me because he didn’t want to be here. 
I hated that he brought girls from our high school back to his room. 
But what I hated the most was the unwanted way my body reacted to him.

At first, I thought all he had going for him were his rock-hard tattooed abs and chiseled face. Then, things started changing between us, and it all came to a head one night. 

Just as quickly as he’d come into my life, he was gone back to California. 

It had been years since I’d seen Elec. 

When tragedy struck our family, I’d have to face him again. 

And holy hell, the teenager who made me crazy was now a man that drove me insane.

I had a feeling my heart was about to get broken again.

I was drawn to this book primarily because it felt like Our Secret Love all over again. But this time, all grown up. I never thought stepsibling stories to be taboo unless they really grew up together since they were tiny then things could get awkward fast. It may still not be taboo then...but maybe bordering on it.

In short, I did not find anything wrong in the "relationship" between Elec and Greta. They were two teenagers from two separate worlds that had to live together when his father married her mother. Greta fell in love with literally "the boy next door" while Elec lived with his father's abusive nature. Eventually, Elec left to live with his mother and didn't see Greta again until many years later, when his father died. And then the story of second chances began.

The best elements I loved about this book were: 1) there were two main parts in the story--the first time they got together when they were still in high school and then years later when they already had their own lives as adults; 2) this was told in first person POV (Greta's); and 3) and there was a little bit of Elec's POV in the form of excerpts of an autobiographical book that he was publishing.

The writing was unhurried without being dragging--this was really surprising in a good way. It did not get boring at all despite the story spanning years. I guess if PW can put together a plot like that enjoyably for the reader, then it's a given I will be reading her other books as well.

Final verdict: 8/10. Great read.


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