Friday, August 23, 2013

Bully by Penelope Douglas

Bully (Fall Away, #1)
By Penelope Douglas


My name is Tate. He doesn't call me that, though. He would never refer to me so informally, if he referred to me at all.

We're neighbors, and once, we were best friends. But then, one summer, he turned on me and has made it his mission to screw up my life at every opportunity. I've been humiliated, shut out, and gossiped about all through high school. His pranks and rumors got more sadistic as time wore on, and I made myself sick trying to hide from him. I worried about what was around every corner and behind every door.

So I left.

I spent a year studying abroad and bathed in the freedom of life without Jared. Now I'm back to finish up high school and get the hell out of here forever. I'm hoping that after a year of breathing room, he's moved on and forgotten all about me.

But even if he hasn't changed, I have. I'm not interested in avoiding him or turning the other cheek anymore. We're going to go head to head, because neither of us wants to back down.

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4 lip-smacking smooches!

Tate and Jared were once best friends.  But then everything changed.  Jared left to spend one summer with his dad and something happened.  Something made him hate her.  And then it became his mission to humiliate and ruin her socially.  And so he did.

Tate lived in fear of Jared's next scheme.  But then everything changed.  Tate left to study abroad for her junior year and something happened when she returned.  Something made her want to fight back.  And then it became her mission to stand up for herself.  And so she did.

I really liked this book!   In fact, I am a little surprised that I liked it so much!  It deals with bullying, an unpleasant subject in itself, but it’s made worse by the fact that a boy is bullying a girl … and enlisting his best friend Madoc (another guy) to help him.  Thankfully, Tate leaves town for an entire year early on in the story so their cruelty isn’t drawn out.  When she returns, it’s GAME ON … Tate isn’t going down without a fight.  And fight she does. 

“Do you know what this is?” I took my middle finger and patted the corner of my eye with it. “It’s me, wiping away the last tear you’ll ever get.” - Tate

Tate quickly realizes there’s a fine line between love and hate and struggles with her growing attraction to Jared.  Being next door neighbors doesn't help.

Son of a bitch.  Why did it always take me a second or two to remember why I hated him?  His shiny brown hair was a mess.  I loved that.  His chocolate eyes glowed with confidence and mischief.  I loved that.  His toned arms and chest just made me wonder what his skin felt like.  I loved that.  He made me forget how awful he was.  I hated that. - Tate

She even finds herself turning the tables on Jared and becoming a bully herself.  Tate pulls out the big guns when Jared's late night parties get out of hand.  I found myself imaginarily  (yes I made up a word!) hi-fiving Tate after Operation Take Down Party #2!  Tate discovers quickly though, hurting Jared does not even the score so she decides to let him go.

No more.  I couldn’t do this anymore.  There was no life in feeling like this.  It was all a game to him, but I didn’t have the heart to play it anymore.  I’m not strong.  I’m not a bully.  I’m not happy.  I knew what I needed to do. - Tate

As Jared’s resolve weakens, he begins to open up to Tate, sharing what happened the summer that changed everything. 

"As much as I tried, I could never erase you from my heart.  That’s why I was such an asshole and kept guys away from you.  You were always mine." - Jared

And once Tate lets her guard down, she and Jared begin to rediscover the friendship and love they shared.

I tried to think, but I couldn’t.  I didn’t want to.  All the years that we’d been apart filled this one moment. - Tate

Will Tate and Jared get their happily ever after?  Once Jared relinquishes his bully status, someone else is ready to become the new bully and destroy Tate.  And this person does not mess around.

I love how Penelope created such deplorable characters that I ended up liking.  Changing my attitude towards Jared and Madoc was no small feat.   And bringing things full circle with Tate and Jared after everything he put her through and making it actually work …

Well done, Penelope.  Well.  Done.

Bully is part of a series but does not have a cliffhanger.  We’ll be sitting on the edge of our seats over here waiting for the release of Until You (Fall Away, #1.5), same story just in Jared’s POV, and Rival (Fall Away, #2), Madoc’s story!  And, hopefully, we'll get a little more of Tate and Jared in there somewhere! 

A housewife can dream ....

Reviewed by Selene

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