Stepbrother Dearest by Penelope Ward {Review}

Stepbrother Dearest by Penelope Ward
Genres: New Adult, Romance, Contemporary
Date of Publishing: 23rd September, 2014
Links: | Goodreads | Amazon |  Barnes & Noble |
My Rating: ★

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.

Stepbrother Dearest is a standalone novel.

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




This is precisely what Stepbrother Dearest was to me. A big. Fat. No.

Or a series of them. Whatever.

I think the first thing that you, dear reader, should know is this—this book is overstated. It’s overhyped and overpublicized and over-flaunted and over-read and over-everything. There isn’t one character that you’re going to root for in this trashy excuse for a book and hopefully, by the time you’re through with this review, you aren’t going to have to.

Here’s the true summary of the story:

Part 1

Stepbrother Dearest starts with Greta, anxiously awaiting her stepbrother Elec as he comes to live with her and her mother, who has married Elec’s father, Randy. By the way that she talks about Elec’s moving in, you would think that it’s the Second Coming of Christ.

Anyway, once he comes in, she tries to be all good and friendly with him (she is his stepsister, of course) while also simultaneously trying to jump his bones. He has an Apadravya that she finds so fascinating, that she lets him rob all of her underwear and her vibrator and instead of being grossed out by that she goes buys some new ones. Because that’s the only possible reason, right? She liked his cock piercing and decided to murder her dignity.

This happens, then that happens and then that happens and suddenly, Elec has to go back to where he came from. California. Leaving Greta all alone.

Part 2

Seven years later, due to what we call a tragedy, Elec and Greta happen to meet again. But now this seems to be the case:

He was Hers.

I was His.

It. Was. Fucked. Up.

Yes. It. Was. Also. It. Was. Boring. And. Lame. And. A. Waste. Of Time.

Obviously it’s pretty clear that Elec was seeing someone else and Greta was pining over Stepbrother Dearest. Whether or not they get together is what the reader is supposed to be enthused about.

A few things you should know about Greta:

  • She’s had a lobotomy; so she’s basically a prawn. No spine of her own.
  • She has NO self-respect.
  • You haven’t had your fill of Mary Sues’? Here, take another one.
  • Her standards of hot and your standards of hot are different. Even if I don’t personally know you, reader mine, this much I can say with absolute certainty.

Elec, being “Stepbrother Dearest” himself, is supposed to be the following:

  • Hot
  • Alpha
  • Tattooed
  • Cocky

But after having wasted about 4 hours of reading time, here’s what I think he was:

  • Stupid
  • Rude
  • More mood swingy than a 15 year old on her period
  • Basically all out horrible

Even while I read the book, I was constantly asking myself why I was willingly putting myself through this BS. The writing was below mediocre and the story…gosh, that was a frikkin’ joke. And the truly depressing part is that this story had a lot of goddamned potential. There was plenty of room for a lot of angst and longing and fucking yearning but nope. All we get is Jerk #1 and A Prawn. And hideous side characters. And a stupid story.

And that tattooed, stereotypical, headless torso of a cover.


Penelope Ward is the New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal Bestselling author of Gemini, Jake Undone, My Skylar and Stepbrother Dearest. She grew up in Boston with five older brothers.  Penelope spent most of her twenties as a television news anchor, before switching to a more family friendly career.

Penelope lives for reading books in the new adult genre, coffee and hanging out with her friends and family on weekends.

She is the proud mother of a beautiful 9-year-old girl with autism (the inspiration for the character Callie in Gemini) and a 7-year-old boy, both of whom are the lights of her life.

Penelope, her husband and kids reside in Rhode Island. She is currently working on her fifth novel and last in the Gemini series, Jake Understood (expected publication early 2015).


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