Birthday Girl by Penelope Douglas Review + Playlist



He took me in when I had nowhere else to go. He doesn’t use me, hurt me, or forget about me. He doesn’t treat me like I’m nothing, take me for granted, or make me feel unsafe. He remembers me, laughs with me, and looks at me. He listens to me, protects me, and sees me. I can feel his eyes on me over the breakfast table, and my heart pumps so hard when I hear him pull in the driveway after work. I have to stop this. It can’t happen. My sister once told me there are no good men, and if you find one, he’s probably unavailable. Only Pike Lawson isn’t the unavailable one. I am.


I took her in, because I thought I was helping. She’d cook a few meals and clean up a little. It was an easy arrangement. As the days go by, though, it’s becoming anything but easy. I have to stop my mind from drifting to her and stop holding my breath every time I bump into her in the house. I can’t touch her, and I shouldn’t want to. The more I find my path crossing hers, though, the more she’s becoming a part of me. But we’re not free to give into this. She’s nineteen, and I’m thirty-eight. And her boyfriend’s father. Unfortunately, they both just moved into my house.


4.75 Stars

If you like:

  • New Adult Romance
  • Age Gap (19 years)
  • Contemporary Romance

Then this is the book for you!

TW/CW: abuse from an ex-boyfriend that is mentioned

So this is another book I bought because of booktok, and boy did this book suck me in! Also, I wouldn’t recommend this book for the faint of heart because it’s a raw and gritty romance book.

I wasn’t really sure what to expect from this book because I’ve honestly never really heard about this book prior to seeing it in the video that made me buy it. I had binge read this book over the course of two days (even though I really wanted to read it straight through) staying up past midnight, waking up earlier to get some reading in, and reading on breaks. This book shows that ups and downs of a relationship that has so many odds against it that you’re not sure if it’s going to work out even if they got together.

From the very beginning Jordan shows a lot of perseverance and determination. She lives with her bestfriend who is also her boyfriend in a small apartment who has been changing lately. Jordan works an insane amount of hours at the small town’s dive bar to pay the bills, takes classes during the summer, and hopes and dreams for a life that is better than the one she’s living right now. Her mom left her family when Jordan was a young child, her father is an alcoholic, and her older sister left their home as soon as she could to get away leaving Jordan to have to take care of herself from an early age, so Jordan’s no stranger to having to tough things out and roll with what life throws at you… except when it comes to love.

On the night of her nineteenth birth, her boyfriend Cole isn’t picking up her phone call to pick her up from work since her car isn’t working, so she goes to a small movie theater that has midnight showings of old films. Right as she’s settling into her seat before the commercials show, she spills her drink and ends up moving next to this guy who strike up a conversation. Despite just meeting, they really hit it off and are comfortable being around each other. This guy has an air of mystery and confidence that draws Jordan in.

After the movie ends, they are about to go their own ways when he overhears Jordan talking on the phone saying Cole’s name, and that’s when Pike realizes that Jordan is dating his son.

Now before you go asking, how Jordan and Pike didn’t realize who the other was, it’s because Cole never introduced Jordan to his parents because both Jordan and Cole have rocky relationships with their parents.

It turns out that Cole was throwing Jordan a party for her birthday but it got started early, and the cops were called to their apartment because of loud music and a fight that landed Cole in jail and also leading to the landlord kicking them out of the apartment.

Pike sees this as an opportunity to try and mend his broken relationship with his son and offers Jordan and Cole a spare room in his house in exchange for them saving money to get a place of their own and for them to help with the house and lawn.

During the time that they’re there Cole becomes even more evasive of everyone including Jordan. And, Jordan ends of spending more time with Pike since he’s the only other person in the house. Jordan only talks to her sister and her boss at the bar, so it’s not like she has a large circle of people to talk to while Pike is basically the same only ever really talking to his friends/coworkers from high school.

Despite having this connection on a physical and emotional sense, they keep things platonic because Jordan is still with Cole until one night when Jordan sees him hooking up with a girl in the pool. This has apparently been going on for weeks, and Cole leaves the house. Jordan decides that it’s time for her to move on from Pike’s house as well since she was staying there with Cole, but when Pike takes her to her father’s trailer and sees the condition of it and and the family that she’s about to go back to, he sees that it would drain the life out of her despite Jordan trying to make the best of it. He decides that it would be best for her to stay at his house, but Jordan isn’t going back because she feels like she’s mooching off of him, so Pike allows for her to buy groceries and pay the water bill or something like that.

Even after they’re broken up, Pike tries to keep things platonic between him and Jordan, but one leads to another and they’re secretly together. Except Jordan wants to have their relationship public despite Pike wanting to give it a little more time. Everything is going as fine as it could be until one night when Cole and his mom are staying at Pike’s house, and Jordan is ready to tell Cole about the relationship. After saying that he’s not ready, Jordan sees that he’s never going to be ready and walks away from the one person that makes her less than stellar life bright.

Jordan knew that she could see herself in a relationship with him from the beginning, but now that she’s gone, Pike has to decide if he’s willing to let the one person who brought so much light back into his dull normal routine slip through his fingers.

I loved this book because despite their obvious attraction toward one another, Jordan and Pike never acted on it while Jordan was still with Cole because it could have been very easy for them to hookup since Cole was never around. Even when Jordan was so unhappy with how time was affecting her relationship with Cole, she was still they trying to earn money to make a better future for them despite him never being there to help her and taking so much from their relationship.

There was a good amount of growth in all of the characters from Jordan, Cole, and Pike throughout the book at different speeds. I was honestly scared for Cole because of the way that he was withdrawing from Jordan and being gone from their relationship even before she found out about his hook-ups, so I was glad for his turn around. While Jordan needed for things to be in her favor for her to finally catch a break and enjoy life for once in her life instead of having to worry about every little detail, and Pike well I think he really was lonely and needed a special person to break down his wall to help him see that he still had so much to live for!


  • Flashlight by Hunter Hayes
  • The Girl Who Cried Wolf by 5SOS
  • Made to Be by The Hara
  • Mine by Taylor Swift
  • Bail Me Out by All Time Low ft. Joel Madden
  • I Warned Myself by Charlie Puth
  • Sad Song by The Vamps
  • Better Man by 5SOS
  • Springsteen by Eric Church
  • Starting Line by Luke Hemmings
  • Can’t Remember to Forget You by Shakira and Rihanna

Happy reading until next time,

3 thoughts on “Birthday Girl by Penelope Douglas Review + Playlist

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