Published by Penguin on 6/17/2013
Genres: New Adult, Romance
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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. No, he'll barely even speak to me.
But he still won't leave me alone.
We were best friends once. Then he turned on me and made it his mission to ruin my life. 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 stay out of his way. I even went to France for a year, just to avoid him.
But I'm done hiding from him now, and there's no way in hell I'll allow him to ruin my senior year. He might not have changed, but I have. It's time to fight back.
I'm not going to let him bully me anymore.
***This novel contains adult/mature young adult situations. It is only suitable for ages 18+ due to language, violence, and sexual situations.
Oh man! That was good. What an angsty and delicious read – I ate Bully up!
I started reading this book on my lunch break at work. Rookie move. I’m advising you against following my moronic move, because I regretted it immediately. By the end of my lunch break I was a few chapters in and rehearsing lies in my head that might get me out of work. I couldn’t think of any, so for the next few hours I was hopelessly distracted, and I’m sure I’ll be cleaning up whatever mess I made when I head back in to work. I’m not even a little bit sorry about it…Bully is that kind of book.
Penelope Douglas’ debut novel centers around two high school seniors (it’s not YA, trust me) who after growing up together as best friends, now live to make each other’s lives hell. If you like the enemies-to-lovers trope even a little bit then you’ll love this book. These characters have great chemistry, and even through the scenes that make your chest burn with angst, there’s still a sweet tenderness between them that makes you want to root for them so badly it aches.
I thought this story felt very natural. I believed it. Penelope Douglas was able to, and with only a few chapters, capture the depth of feeling and painful history between Jared and Tate. I loved that, because these stories never work for me unless I can connect with their backstory and feel as emotional as the narrator does. I connected with Tate right away, empathizing with everything that she went through. I knew who I loved early on, and I knew who I hated early on, and it wasn’t long before I was completely entrenched in the roller coaster of exhilarating drama. Because of that, I was never bored.
So not only was I an idiot for starting this on my lunch break, but I was an even bigger idiot for waiting so long to cross it off my TBR list. I had this book on my radar for a while and I always hesitated to read it, because I assumed that it would just be another book with a heroine that’s treated like shit by the hero who takes the abuse like some spineless fool, but I was wrong. There were times when I was nervous because Jared was sometimes truly horrible to Tate, but she wasn’t a powerless victim. She had grit, and she did dirty too. They were both bad at times, which made the tension between the two even more addicting because it was coming from both ends. I loved that. I was also nervous that I wouldn’t be able to forgive Jared for what he did, because his reasoning would be too weak (as it sometimes is with these tropes), but my worries were for nothing. I loved him, and empathized with him, and just wanted him even more. My weakness for brooding heroes will never go away. I do wish the ending had been drawn out a bit more, but I have a full-length alternate POV book to look forward, so I’m not too upset about it.
Moral of the story: don’t be an idiot like me. Pick up Bully and devour this intense, emotional, and addictive treat. Just don’t start it on your lunch break. 😉
**Edited on 12/20/15**
A note on Until You (the alternate POV to Bully)
This is a great alternate POV book. Emotional, honest, and unapologetic. I loved getting a deeper look at Jared’s thoughts and feelings and seeing his complexity and flaws. He’s still many shades of grey, and Douglas didn’t use this book to excuse everything he did, she used it to show us why he did it, and to me that was good enough. I’m not sure I’ll continue this series, because I like where Jared and Tate are and I’m not in a hurry to see them experience any more heartbreak (as is hinted if you read the synopsis to Aflame), but I’m very curious about the other characters, particularly Jax, so I’ll wait and see how long my resolve lasts.
As far as Until You, I recommend it to anyone who loved Bully; it’s a great extension of that story, and not a redundant retellings. And if you felt that Bully was a bit incomplete, then I definitely recommend this as it will satisfy your need for more.
So far, that’s 3/3 for Penelope Douglas (read Misconduct!), so I’m definitely adding her to my auto-buy list for future releases.