Book Review: Step Brother Dearest by Penelope Ward

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Stepbrother DearestYou’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.

Stepbrother Dearest is a standalone novel.

**Contains graphic sexual content and harsh language. It is only appropriate for adult readers age 18+

My Review:

I have such mixed feelings about this book. It chalks up to the fact that I really like the first half of the book, but I just didn’t really care for the second half of the book. It had soooooo much potential that the author just didn’t reach. I’m just left with this feeling of utter disappointment from a lack of what could have and what should have been.

The first half of the book is focused on when Elec and Greta were 17 and 18 years old. Both were immature, Elec was very angry at the world, and Greta was head over heel smitten with Elec’s bad boy personality. I really enjoyed that the author accurately captured the essence of their youth and appropriately included the drama that goes with the age. I thought that section was a really good build up of what was supposed to come and left the reader curious for more.

What left me super disappointed was that I was most looking forward to part 2 of the book, the part where they were a little bit older, more mature, and less in that boy/girl phase and more focused on a man/woman phase of their life. Unfortunately, the second half of this book felt very rushed, unplanned, and thrown together in several spots of the second half of the book.

There is a possibility that this book would have appealed to me more if I hadn’t hated Greta with an ungodly passion. I couldn’t STAND her. It made sense at the beginning. She was late 17/early 18, was totally smitten with Elec, and just didn’t have any realistic expectations of life. And that’s okay. She definitely wasn’t my favorite character during the first half of the book, but I got over it because her personality matched her age. That being said, there was absolutely no character development during the 7 year gap between the first half and the second half of the book. If possible, Greta was even more immature, beyond whiny, and had no shred of self respect or dignity. She would cry at the drop of a pin, she constantly embarrassed herself in front of Elec, and she, quite frankly, had a big mouth. Not to mention (and no offense is meant to anyone with this name, ) but what the heck was up with her name? I don’t want to read about a main character named Greta. That is so old school, it’s not even funny. Let’s get real here. I didn’t want to read about GRETA getting her freak on.

Speaking of, I thought that there could have been wayyyyy more sexy scenes in the book. All of them seemed very rushed and kind of forced. Also, where were those cute moments between Greta and Elec? I would have maybe preferred more of an actual relationship between Greta and Elec during the first half of the book so that we could have seen some more deep and meaningful moments between them during the second half of the book. Since they were never really IN a relationship, those scenes didn’t really exist. It was just really disappointing, because I could have loved this book so much. It had so much potential and the author just didn’t meet my standards. OH! And another thing. SOOOO much effort went in to talking about all of Elec’s tattoos (wink, wink) and piercings. If so much effort was put into those descriptions, then the author really needed to own those sexy scenes. I felt like I was basically teased for no reason.

Another thing that really bothered me was that the author took up approximately 10% of the book by showing Elec’s viewpoint for several past scenes in the book. I skimmed through several of those scenes, because they were almost word for word exactly the same in several areas. Like…..did she run out of things to write about? Did she get confused? Because that was super annoying and really made me skim all the rest of the way to the end. Super disappointed in that decision by the author.

Overall, I thought that this was a GOOD book with poor execution and decision making skills. Definitely not the worst book I’ve ever read, and I did really love the first half of the book, but it failed to meet the standards that I had laid out for it. This could have been one of the best NA books ever and now I’m just left not wanting to read anything else from this author. I guess we’ll see….

Rating: [rating: 3]