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
3.5 / 4 out of 5
I’m a sucker for hate-to-love stories, childhood sweethearts and characters redeeming themselves throughout the book and this is all entwined within Bully. I am on a reading spree with authors who are attending the Edinburgh Book Event and have had Bully on my kindle for a while now, so when I found out Penelope was attending, I quickly got to reading Bully and despite myself finding it a bit slow starting, I really got into it when Tate grew some balls and fought back against Jared.
Penelope has written a great debut. She made feels all sorts of feelings throughout the book. She made me hate Jared, made me feel many of the emotions that Tate went through, from the timidness of the bullying to getting back from Europe and fighting back. Every little feeling she has, I felt it and when you can connect like that, it makes me love your book a hell of a lot.
Despite not experiencing full-on bullying (no idea why as most gingers seem to get bullied eye roll), I have had snide comments aimed towards me and I know the feeling of asking myself why I’m being aimed and that is exactly what Tate asks herself. Many people will be able to relate to Tate’s character and I think that is what makes this book a bit more real in my eyes. Most people being bullied don’t retaliate, but I enjoyed it when Tate did. When she fought back and wouldn’t let Jared hurt her anymore. I felt proud of her for that.
They always say there is a fine line between love and hate and Tate and Jared simply exhume this. They have a shared history – they were childhood friends and despite the hatred that Jared has towards Tate, inside she still felt something for Jared and it was plan to see that Jared did too – when you kind of read between the lines from what he tells Tate and especially from Madoc when he tells Tate the rumours they spread – the ones she didn’t know about and the stupid reason he went along with Jared.
I felt that Tate was weak in the beginning. With the prologue we learn a little about her bullying and how she is basically the laughing stock of her school with being pranked and embarrassed almost daily by her old best friend Jared. We see her afriad of him, afraid of the unknown, afraid of what prank is next. I could totally understand her panic at seeing Jared and her panic of needing to get away from him.
But then she comes back a year later from Europe and its like shes a new person. The year has been good to her, she seems confident, different, happier yet you know inside, she is shitting herself at seeing Jared and the final year ahead of her. Will Jared leave her alone? Will he go back to tormenting her? After a talk with her best friend K.C, she decides to grow some balls and fight back if Jared does anything.
Although I felt Bully began a little slow, I carried through and felt the pace pick up in the second half. I liked the strength that Tate had –even if sometimes she was still feeling timid, she never showed it and always fought back against Jared. I liked that she manned up to not take his shit anymore and yes, sometimes the way she handled things weren’t at best but she did what she had to in certain circumstances and although my heart pounded in some scenes, I was like Tate, slowly coming to terms with not actually hating Jared, but liking him, learning to love him again.
Jared was a complete dick. Not just a dick but a massive douchebag motherfucker for the things he did to Tate, the things he put her through. But, god help me, I learned to love him too. I could see underneath all that anger and hate there was still the young boy who loved his best friend, who still wanted her in his life, hence why he made hers miserable It was like he couldn’t let her go, and so instead of having her be his best friend, he needed to act like a royal bully towards her. We know he changed ever since that one summer and we do found out what happened…in bits. I still couldn’t understand his need to hurt Tate after that summer, but then I could see why he felt he needed to hurt her….
We do see Jared grow up. We see him conflicted over Tate, over his love/hate for her but when he gets his shit together, you do really like him. You like how he has loved Tate since forever and how he needs her. To him, she has always been his, even if he’s had a funny way of showing it and yes, it may seem a bit weird that he bullied her and now they are together but they just fit. You’ll understand when you read it.
The little things Jared does to Tate made me swoon. His way with words, the way he shred his soul to her, how he told her about his summer three years ago, to his pain, but he had one constant thing in his life – Tate. If not the way he wanted her, she was still there. I adored these two together, through the bullying, the fighting back to the change of events when actually yes, there is still that chemistry, that bond between them and thank god Tate did something to change it. That one part not only tore Jared apart, but me too and I’m glad it was kind of the changing dynamic in their relationship to where they are now!
I cannot wait to read Madoc’s book because he is a bloody hoot and I cannot wait to see more of Tate and Jared’s relationship too!