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As if being a teenager isn’t hard enough, imagine your mother deciding to marry your long-time, unattainable crush’s father.  This is exactly what happened to Jenny when she was in high school, and she’s never quite gotten over it.

Jenny has always been a little weird.  As a theater kid, she knew she’d never really fit in with the popular crowd, and that didn’t bother her.  She’s intelligent, quirky, and cute.  And she’d rather march to the beat of her own drummer than try to be someone she’s not.

Ethan has always been effortlessly cool. Back in high school, he was one of those jocks that everybody listened to. He could certainly never be seen with someone like Jenny, but their parents getting married ruined that for him anyway. Now he’s living the dream in New York City and trying to forget about the girl he’s loved since he was just a teenager.  The one girl he told himself he could never have.

Then Jenny gets an audition for a speaking part in an off-Broadway production.  Armed with a suitcase and her stepdad’s assurance that Ethan really won’t mind if she sleeps on his couch for a few nights, she hops on a bus from small-town Ohio to her dream city, New York.

To say that Ethan is surprised to find Jenny asleep on his couch would be an understatement.  Turns out dear old dad never told him she was coming.  He sends his hookup of the day packing and tries to process the fact that this girl, the one he moved halfway across the country to get away from, is here.

What a fun ride.

I picked this one up on a whim and read it over the course of about three hours.  It’s a light, fluffy read that doesn’t take itself too seriously. It doesn’t focus too much on the fact that Jenny and Ethan are stepsiblings, aside from Ethan angrily correcting anybody who mistakenly calls Jenny his sister.  Most people they encounter remind them that they’re not actually related and it’s not a big deal.

Things I really liked:

  • Ethan and Jenny knew each other before their parents’ marriage and had secretly crushed on each other both beforehand and afterward.
  • Even though Ethan knew that he and Jenny couldn’t be together back then, he still stood up for her and made sure other boys treated her with respect.  (All unbeknownst to Jenny, of course.)
  • The running joke of everybody in the world having read Jenny’s diary when she was growing up.  Nothing is sacred!
  • Ethan and Jenny’s love and support for each other.  Ethan is so supportive of Jenny’s acting, and Jenny is so supportive of Ethan’s art.  There’s no question that they each think that the other is amazing.
  • There are little blips of drama, but overall this book is very low on the angst scale.

The only negative I can really come up with is this: The writing’s not the greatest (there are typos and grammatical mistakes throughout, and the formatting is a little weird), but the story moved along so nicely that it didn’t bother me as much as it usually would.

I was really pleasantly surprised by this book.  I honestly never thought that I could enjoy stepbrother romances, but this and Stiff have changed my mind.

Final rating: ★★★★☆