REVIEW – Stepbrother Dearest by Penelope Ward


Title – Stepbrother Dearest
Author – Penelope Ward
Publication Date – September 28, 2014



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.



I have been dying to devour Stepbrother Dearest from the very moment it released; it sounded gripping, forbidden, and angsty beyond belief. However, I’m one of those people that can’t do something because everyone else is doing it, so I had to push off reading it and wait until the stepbrother phase diminished a bit in the publishing world. While I’m glad I waited a little, I am kicking myself for not having read this one sooner. Penelope Ward created a taboo romance without feeling icky, while also generating a sweet relationship that made me smile and swoon.

“My issue is the way it makes me feel when you look at me: things I’m not supposed to feel, things I can’t let myself feel for you. At the same time… nothing felt worse than when you stopped looking at me, Greta.”

What I appreciated most about Ward’s take on the stepbrother aspect was that it never felt like it was crossing a line into the gross factor, which I could imagine would be an easy thing to fall into. Elec and Greta’s romance and chemistry felt incredibly organic and realistic. They may have fought like siblings, but that was the extent to any familial connection. Furthermore, I really loved the way that Ward chose to deliver some of Elec’s thought processes and feelings. She didn’t choose to write it in another book, and it wasn’t even a chapter here and there from him. However, in doing it this way, everything felt that much more impactful.

“Her heart was beating against my chest, and mine immediately responded by matching the rhythm. Our hearts were communicating in a way that our egos wouldn’t allow with words. The heartbeat is the purest form of honesty.”

Stepbrother Dearest had a storyline that I couldn’t get enough of with characters who made me fall in love right alongside them. Greta and Elec’s story was full of nail-biting angst and I adored every single moment of it. My heart ached in moments while I laughed out loud at others. I was insanely happy with the progression of their relationship and even more impressed with Penelope Ward’s writing. I’ll definitely be running to add the rest of her books onto my TBR so I can read them ASAP!



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Author Bio

Penelope Ward is a New York Times, USA Today and #1 Wall Street Journal Bestselling author. She grew up in Boston with five older brothers and spent most of her twenties as a television news anchor, before switching to a more family-friendly career. She is the proud mother of a beautiful 11-year-old girl with autism and a 9-year-old boy. Penelope and her family reside in Rhode Island.

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