Review: Rival by Penelope Douglas

rivalReviewed by Joanna

Woo! I love this series – it’s my kind of heaven to find a great character set and get to see them paired off. This book is all about Madoc, the other bully from the first Fall Away novel, and Fallon, his stepsister who’s back in town.

Fallon and Madoc didn’t grow up as siblings so that’s good and non-icky, but they did live in the same house in their mid-teen years and the inevitable happened – they gave their virginity to each other. They were rivals who fell in love but stuff went wrong and as Fallon later puts it:

“From your lips I was torn.”

Her social-climbing mother didn’t approve and Fallon was banished to boarding school for two years. But now school’s out for summer, the parents have separated, and Fallon wants revenge for the rejection and hurt and everything she went through.

So our protagonists share Madoc’s dad’s mansion whilst Fallon gets her plan into action and even though there’s animosity between them, they can’t deny the still-present attraction. Then there’s this great scene in a rain storm where they get angry at each other and the truth starts to come out. It’s just after a party where they’ve been jibing at each other and emotions are high.

What’s great about this is that it’s not prolonged – this is in the first quarter of the book so we don’t have to wade through the ‘big misunderstanding’ for too long. Instead we get the sweet satisfaction of them both realizing the other didn’t betray them. And they get it on again. It’s hot.

Fallon is awesome. She’s a lot cooler than Tate from Bully, in that she’s all about piercings, weird clothes and non-conformity. Madoc is energetic, preppy, smart and built – he goes on quite a journey as he grows up, leaving behind the dickish behavior where he was Jared’s dumb joker wingman. He becomes his own man and he’s really likable. He throws great parties at the house, and I love that he lets Jared and Tate have a secret bedroom there so they get some alone-time. He’s also so cute with Fallon. Madoc is great boyfriend material and my favorite of the guys. I think. This changes depending on my mood.

It’s not plain-sailing, of course, and there’s a pacey, angsty story which shoves our lovers around til they get to their HEA.

It’s great to see the rest of the cast of characters from Bully – we see more of J&T and also Jax. He’s awesome, particularly at the end and the next book is about him. So yay.

This is the second in the Fall Away series but could be standalone if you want.

Rating: A-

Click to purchase: Amazon

Rival
by Penelope Douglas
Release Date: August 26, 2014
Publisher: Penguin

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