Don’t you judge. I had actual tears in my eyes numerous times as I was reading this book. Tears that are usually reserved for angsty fan fiction.
I happen to like erotica but I am very picky about what I read from that genre. Yes, I have read the first two books in the Fifty Shades trilogy. It’s not my favorite but I didn’t hate it as much as a lot of hardcore readers did because I had the perfect Christian Grey in my mind and (the most important part of all) I didn’t take it too seriously. I treated it as I would a fan fiction. I realized that it made it easier for me to get through those books. Other erotica fiction that I’ve read are more profound, better-written, and dare I say, hotter. Some have even landed on my favorites list (Belinda by Anne Rampling).
Let’s get this out of the way: sex sells. If you have the perfect title to struck the sexually curious chord in a reader’s body, you’ll have him/her caught in no time. That is what happened here. I was in search for erotica for a change and the title caught my eye. I was already in a shelf full of sex and bondage, a book needed something else to stand out. Stepbrother Dearest screamed “taboo” the loudest. We are introduced to Greta, a then 17-year-old goodie two shoes who lived with her mom and stepdad. One day, she finds out that she has a stepbrother of the same age named Elec. He wasn’t in the best of terms with his dad but he’s going to stay with them for the time being anyway. Okay, let’s list down all the usual erotica tropes that make the cut:
- a virgin young girl (but not without her secrets)
- a tattooed and troubled bad boy who becomes the hottest guy in town (or at least at school)
- she tries to ignore him but she kind of has no choice but to be around him all the time
- he’s wanted by all but wants the only person who is totally opposite from him, the only one he cannot have (for a bunch of reasons)
- turns out, he’s not much of an asshole after all
- good girls get the bad boys in the end
I think that’s the gist of it? Yep. But wait… there’s so much more to this book. The first half of the story ends with Greta and Elec confessing their true feelings to each other, culminating in a night of
forbidden passion. Elec left Greta (and myself) in tears. It was so heartbreaking. The story then picks up seven years later when our couple finds each other again. I prefer the more grown up part of the story than their teenage years. They’re still awkward but more believable. A death in the family brings everyone together and then some. Elec takes with him a girlfriend and she’s one of those types of characters/people that you just cannot hate. I felt so sorry for her because she clearly loves Elec and believes in their relationship but she was so clueless about him. I did shed a few tears in a scene between Elec and Greta where he shows emotion that is surprisingly not unbecoming of him.
Unlike many random erotica novels floating around, Stepbrother Dearest is very well-written. Sure, it has its share of ridiculous wordplay and below-the-belt jokes that got old fast but under the surface, it has a lot of heart and an actual conflict that they tried to resolve. I can’t help but root for everyone in this story especially Greta. And Elec too. He does a total 180 from the asshole stepbrother to just the sweetest guy ever.
Rating: 4/5. I would’ve given it a 5 if not for the last line of the main story.
He’d now officially become his brother’s bastard child who impregnated his stepsister.
Yep. Choice of words. Not that I fault the author; I mean, she used it because how else can you address that. It’s personal preference, I guess. Haha, I’m no prude but after the delicious angst in the climax (har-har) of the story, this very line reminded me that at the end of everything, this is still a trashy erotica.