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Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Rival by Penelope Douglas (Review)

Title: Rival
Series: Fall Away #2
Author: Penelope Douglas
Published: August 26, 2014 - Penguin
Format: Print copy received for review

Madoc and Fallon. Two estranged teenagers playing games that push the boundaries between love and war…

She’s back.

For the two years she’s been away at boarding school, there was no word from her. Back when we lived in the same house, she used to cut me down during the day and then leave her door open for me at night.

I was stupid then, but now I’m ready to beat her at her own game…

I’m back.

Two years and I can tell he still wants me, even if he acts like he’s better than me.

But I won’t be scared away. Or pushed down. I’ll call his bluff and fight back. That’s what he wants, right? As long as I keep my guard up, he’ll never know how much he affects me….

Ok! Rival by Penelope Douglas – it blew me away! Let me start by saying, I haven’t read any other books in this series, and while I believe this book worked as a standalone, there were references to things that just threw me in the beginning of the book. I do think it would have beneficial to read book one, and I might even go back and read it because Tate and Jared seem pretty damn awesome. With that being said, I’m not sure how they could be better than Fallon and Madoc, because those two just freaking rocked it.

The basic premise of this story is that Fallon and Madoc are step siblings in the very loosest sense of the word. They’ve never behaved as family, and their parents barely even act as if they are married. However, it does bring the whole taboo side to this romance, and for that I was totally in love with it. It made it feel even more dangerous and dark. New Adult books are stuffed with hardcore emotion and tense situations, and Rival was right on base with that. Fallon and Madoc had some choppy history that involved some hooking up in the cover of night. Then they were caught and separated. The story starts up with Fallon’s return, and you know she has more on her agenda than a happy reunion. Madoc isn’t happy to see her, and in fact, her whole return is pretty dramatic.

Let’s talk characters! I don’t know which one I love more, so let’s just say ladies first. Fallon! She is 18, pierced, tattooed, former skater. The girl rocks. She’s got an award winning skank for a mother, and a father who is probably wanted in a few states at least. But she’s a strong girl. She reaches for her inner strength and pulls herself up time and again, no matter what crap life throws at her. And it really throws a lot at her, over and over. Her story is so heartbreaking at times, I really felt for this girl and all she’d been through. When you read her story, you can really feel her pain and agony over certain situations in her past.

I was done following.  Time to lead.

Then we have Madoc. At first, he kind of gives off a Ryan Phillipe a la Cruel Intentions kid vibe, meaning he comes across as a spoiled rich kid. He drives a flashy car, lives in a gigantic house, absentee parents, and more money than he needs. But that’s just the surface. Still waters run very deep with this young man, and there is so much more than meets the eye. Throughout the book you keep getting these flashes into his true self, and his true self rocked my freaking world. He is amazing. He is intense and tragic and emotional and fearless and well, he’s Madoc. Suffice it to say, I loved this guy more than I should love a fictional character! It’s said that he “picks up the pieces” and that is proven over and over.

"I love you," I whispered into her mouth.  "Let's go home."

Fallon and Madoc are addicted to each other. They are like these powerful magnets that orbit around each other, and when they collide it is nothing short of cosmic. If Rival were made into a movie there were be many scenes that would absolutely make the coldest of hearts swoon at the pure passion and energy that flows through them. Some keywords that come to mind when I think about Rival are things such as passion, addiction, lies, chaos, tension, and crazy sexual attraction. And lastly, and the most important: LOVE. Oh yeah, there are definite true things going on here!

Fallon and Madoc have a lot of bullshit to overcome to reach their happily-ever-after. Lies and manipulation are at the top of the list. The actions of some people had me doing an internal rage at the injustice of what was done to these two young people. It was a pleasure to watch them fight and love in equal measures. One thing I can say for sure, this is a couple I won’t soon forget. They fought hard for their happy ending, and deserve every second of happiness coming to them. 

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