Book Review – Birthday Girl by Penelope Douglas

by Maryse on April 29, 2018 · 13 comments

in My Book Reviews

Birthday Girl
<— Another epic epilogue that pretty much completes this entire angst-fest. ;) Oh the forbidden love of it all!!! Forbidden… but within socially “accepted” measures.

Just… still… plenty to be judged by (and TICK certain people off by). But it had all the butterflies, the *throw-your-kindle* moments, and OH MY THE STEEEEEEAM. HOT. HOT. HOT!!!!!!!!! *oooooof* And yes. I did read ‘em. How could I not? ;)

Julie O: I loved Birthday Girl. No billionaires, no recluses, no weirdos, just an average man. And because he was older thank God this wasn’t a “daddy” book.

marina: Just finished Birthday Girl which was very good. Somehow it reminded me of Thoughtless at moments and then it didn’t at all. Now clueless what to follow these up with??? Argh.

JenC: Eeeee, had to immediately 1-click and start Birthday Girl and am absolutely LOVING IT. Boohoo for work, really struggling to put it down!

Shelly: I’m 35% in and loving it!

Kandace: I really loved it. It was a slow burn. He was all MAN! I thought it would be more dark and forbidden. It was pretty romantic. You could feel them falling for each other.

Carina: Sooooo goood.

Kostantina: Omg I stayed up all night reading birthday girl too !!! Gahhhh Let’s just say I was so book hungover that I had to wing my lesson plans haha my students got a nice “ study hall” today !!

Aimee: I stayed up to read birthday girl last night. Another 5 star!! Major book hangover what to read next???

Nicole: Birthday Girl was AMAZE! Can’t wait to hear your thoughts. Pike please!!!

So what’s it about?

College-aged Jordan and her irresponsible boyfriend Cole find themselves in a sticky situation when they are evicted from their apartment. Best friends since high school, and so much more as “new adults”, they are struggling between becoming real adults, and still having all the fun that keeps getting them into trouble.

But no worries. While Jordan doesn’t have the most stable and reliable family and home life (she was raised in a trailer park, and her sister, albeit wonderful and loving, is a stripper and has no qualms about it), Cole takes advantage of his own parental discord by inviting himself (actually both of them) into his estranged father’s life. Having always sided with his manipulative mother, with barely a relationship with his own father, his father is all too quick to let them live with him (rent free).

His father is a higher-up construction worker, and has always provided for his son (and in turn, his ex) for years, doing quite well for himself. His priorities lie in his responsibilities, and his son is #1, even if his son has barely given him the time of day, until now.

Everything felt easy. But the girl of my dreams is off-limits. She’s Cole’s, and she’s nineteen. There’s no way. She’s a kid, and my brief, sordid thoughts will stay hidden in my head.

Oh yes. You see where this is going. ;)

Jordan immediately takes charge of “their fair share” of the free housing (she cleans, cooks, and does all the chores that Cole’s father requests of HIM – while Cole is out with his friends), and Cole’s father (Pike) notices.

It’s not weird my son’s girlfriend wants to pay her way and be helpful, but it is weird that he’s not here, too. Does he know she took his place, helping out this morning? What kind of man is okay with that? I taught him to fulfill his obligations…

He’s disappointed in his son, but truly bonds with his son’s appreciative and fun girlfriend.

I can’t help but laugh. She’s fun to make happy.

Oh…. the bonding. ;)

“I just want the life.”

The life.

Those words hit hard, and I don’t know why.

Maybe because I’m still waiting for the same thing.

And allllllll (ALL!!!) of the insecurities and jealousies, protectiveness…

“Not dressed like that, you don’t.”

Her eyebrows pinch together. “Excuse me?”

I inch forward, dropping my voice as I speak to her. “My neighbor has been glued to his balcony watching your every move out here,” I bite out. “God knows what he’s thinking.”

“That’s not my problem,” she argues. “I was hot. I jumped in the pool. My clothes are on.”

“Yeah, like a second skin,” I finish for her, my teeth baring. “You can’t pull that shit here. It’s a family neighborhood. Not your sister’s strip club.”

…and unbalanced moments that come with it. Including social norms and gossip… and his (undeserving?) son.

I’ll let you experience the whole angsty, butterfly-inducing shebang (and the jealous moments come from ALL sides of the table). Oh yes. It gets fun, my friends. And it hurts, too.

Oh I want SO BADLY to put my most favorite quote right here that hit me right in the feels!!!!!

But I won’t. I’ll let you discover it for yourself. ;)

4 stars! <— I felt ‘em all, sided with the best of ‘em (at least… who I consider the “right side” to be on), and yet understood every single thought and second-thought… even when it made me furious.

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{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Kandace M April 29, 2018 at 6:36 PM

Great review!

Maryse April 29, 2018 at 6:41 PM

YAY!!! Thank you Kandace!!!! :D

Ashley April 29, 2018 at 7:16 PM

I LOVED this book! In fact it put me in kind of a slump where nothing else is living up to it right now. I love forbidden romance and Penelope Douglas does it so well. And yes, there were some great quotes in it!

Jen C April 30, 2018 at 1:01 AM

Love the review Maryse! Loved the book as well – just enough of everything – angst, drama, light moments, taboo etc! I’m really looking forward to Motel after that introduction to Danni!

JulieO April 30, 2018 at 5:25 AM

I wanna know the quote!

Grey April 30, 2018 at 5:31 AM

Oh Maryse, you naughty little thing…stirring up such controversy over your fave quote. I think maybe I could guess what it was. I didn’t put my fave quote in my review either…because it was kind of late in the book. Awesome review, as always!

Maryse April 30, 2018 at 5:40 AM

;) I may add the quote below the “star” section with spoiler alerts before it…

I’m thinking about it.

amandalyntweets May 2, 2018 at 3:08 PM

i vote for the quote!!! i vote for the quote!!!

JulieO May 2, 2018 at 4:38 PM

Here! Here!

Maryse May 2, 2018 at 8:07 PM


Okay here it is… and it’s probably not as obvious as you thought (it’s such a subtle moment), but this scene, and this private exchange broke me in the best of ways…

*spoiler alert*

*spoiler alert*

*spoiler alert*


“I’m sorry I took so long,” he whispers in my ear.
“You did,” I cry. “You took so long.”

JulieO May 2, 2018 at 10:19 PM

That got me too!

amandalyntweets May 3, 2018 at 10:45 AM

*melting into a pool of mushy love goo*

Maryse May 3, 2018 at 11:17 AM


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