⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (5 Stars)
I just like this book so much…
“Time passes by you like a bullet,” he says, “and fear gives you the excuses you’re craving to not do the things you know you should. Don’t doubt yourself, don’t second-guess, don’t let fear hold you back, don’t be lazy, and don’t base your decisions on how happy it will make others. Just go for it, okay?”
This book… It should be a manual for how to write forbidden romance. Who knew that you could take steamy taboo and make it classy, believable and heartfelt? Well, in Birthday Girl, you can.
“It’s always the same wish. Every candle. Every time. I want a life I never want to take a vacation from. That’s my goal.”
The book starts on Jordan’s birthday, and she’s having a tough time. She’s neglected by her parents, she barely can’t pay the bills, she’s bartending until late at night and she has a really shitty boyfriend. One that throws a party in their house before she arrives home, crashes the place, gets kicked out by their landlord, forgets to pick her up and ends up needing bail. Yeah, that type of a**hole.
However, while waiting for the guy ON HER BIRTHDAY (before she knew the disastrous things he was up to at their place – without her) she decided to pass the time in an old theater, during a late-night showing of The Evil Dead. There she meets Pike, an intriguing stranger that immediately connects with Jordan.
Unfortunately, on the same night, she finds out that hot stranger is a**hole’s boyfriend father, AND, because they were just kicked out from their apartment they need to move in with him temporarily. DUN DUN DUN…
And, surprisingly the plot flows very smoothly from then on. Jordan is still trying to figure out who she is the world, trying to learn from her mistakes, wanting to be a stronger person who is still kind. Pike is just trying to live his life, be a good dad and find some companionship. While their mutual attraction for each other is growing in the confined spaces of the house, it never feels cheap. They both fight really hard to deny any chemistry, although their connection is undeniable. They respect boundaries and grow as friends first and foremost. A-hole boyfriend is barely around by this time and only shows his face again to expose that he had been cheating on Jordan since her B-Day party.
After that, well, Pike and Jordan can’t really fight the urge to be together anymore.
“You gave people a chance, and they abused it. That’s their fault, not yours.”
They both grow so much in this relationship. They fight, talk it out, and it the end support and accept each other.
Penelope Douglas hit all the right notes with this one, giving us a story that despite its taboos is just about two vulnerable people finding their place in the world.
“You ever going to tell me what you wish for?” “It’s bad luck to tell… But I will say, I always wish for the same thing, and every day it comes true.”
Oh, I forgot to mention that this book also deals with a big age gap relationship (19 years), but this is such an afterthought for me because they both treat each other with respect and I kept forgetting that this was a factor at all.