Review: 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. But things started changing between us, and it all came to a head one night.
Then, 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.

Angst, angst, angst....
Did I mention angst? Oh my goodness, this book will take you on a severe roller coaster ride. Your stomach will have summersaults and it'll be crazy but you will love it so much because of this.
This is Elec and Greta's story. Elec's dad and Greta's mom marry each other and Elec goes to live with them when his mother needs to leave for work for a while.  When they meet, Greta automatically feels an instant attraction to Elec. He gave off a brooding, bad boy vibe that drew her in. Elec, on the other hand, acted completely indifferent to her.
Greta is such a kind-hearted young woman. Though Elec continuously treats her like she was an insect under his boot, she still tries to spend time with him, to get to know him, to be able to get him to open up. From the beginning, she wanted to get to know and to get close to Elec.  Unfortunately, the more she tries her best to do this, the worse he treats her. We don't really see an explanation for this at the beginning, and I felt really bad for Greta. I give her props though, she's resilient.
Slowly but surely, in the occasions that they are together, Greta breaks down his walls. He starts to open up to her but seems to back track on several occasions. He gave me whiplash a few times.
Despite this, I could see glimpses of Elec's attraction to Greta, specially as his jealousy grows and he can't keep it in anymore.

What can you do when the one person you feel connected to the most, the one you want the most is also the one who's forbidden?
This story will drive you up the wall at times. Elec and Greta will leave you reeling. My heart literally hurt for them.
Elec is such a complex character, I loved seeing the different layers to him. He's scarred internally from his past and that really affected him growing up. Because of this, Greta is the perfect person to compliment him. She's selfless, she's resilient and she's strong. She's also a very nice young woman, extremely understanding and just overall fits his personality in more ways than one.
This, I believe is the first ever book by Penelope Ward that I've ever read, but I loved it. All the feelings and emotions she was able to convey through these characters were absolutely overwhelming at times but perfect.
Will I recommend it? Yes. This is not just a "step-brother" romance, it's so much more. It has angst, lust, butterflies in your tummy, pain, longing, sacrifice, love, and happiness. All in all, I loved it!
Don't forget the next in the series, Neighbor Dearest! 


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