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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.

333 pages, ebook

First published June 17, 2013

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About the author

Penelope Douglas

39 books72.5k followers
Penelope Douglas is a New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author. Their books have been translated into nineteen languages and include The Fall Away Series, The Devil’s Night Series, and the stand-alones, Misconduct, Punk 57, Birthday Girl, Credence, and Tryst Six Venom. Please look for The Hellbent Series, coming next.

They live in New England with their husband and daughter.

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Profile Image for Emily May.
1,993 reviews298k followers
July 9, 2015

I am conducting what I'm shelving as a "New Adult (NA) Experiment". I'm going to work my way through some of the popular New Adult books and see if I can weed out the crap and hopefully find some surprising gems. Here's hoping!

Dear book,

I was ready to like this book. I was ready to be forgiving of the small negatives. I was ready to make excuses for it, try and justify the bad and pretend the good overshadowed it. I don't even remember the last time I wanted to like a book this much. Despite what you may think from my reactions to most books in the NA experiment, I don't just spend my time looking for things to bitch and moan about in these books. I'm looking for the NA books which are different and actually tell a good story, even if it is a romance. This book's description didn't sound like the others that are all virtually identical. So, I wanted to love it. I really tried. But I couldn't. There were too many things. The negatives were flying at me on every page and, after a while, I couldn't ignore them. Which is sad.

We started on reasonably good terms. I really liked the idea of the book for two reasons: 1) I wanted to see how the author handled the subject of bullying and 2) I was intrigued by the promise of a bully being turned into someone we could love. The book didn't really deliver on either of those. For the former, the book started by using a chapter to give us an example of the way Tate had been bullied for several years by a guy who used to be her best friend but turned on her. It was sad, it was awful and I felt sorry for her. Objective achieved. Then we cut to a year later when she comes back from a year studying in France, determined not to let him win this time around. What this book then became was a showdown between two beautiful people who clearly wanted to shag but decided the best kind of foreplay is that where they antagonize the hell out of each other. It wasn't really a story about bullying, it was just about them each trying to get one up on the other.

As for the second reason I was attracted to this book, Jared (the guy) did win me over to some extent. I feel a bit strange about it because, on the one hand, I can see why he behaved like he did and I can find some level of forgiveness for him. But I'm not really able see a) why Tate forgave him so easily and b) why he changed back so abruptly (I don't think Tate's class monologue was a convincing enough reason). The reasons for his behaviour make sense, but his progression back to how he was before and the HEA don't. The main problem - and I shouldn't be surprised by this - is that the author doesn't attempt to humanize him first. That would have made it a better book and a more believable story. But instead of being humanized, Jared is sexualized first. And using his hot body as an excuse for forgiveness didn't work because that's not a good enough reason and I don't find this an attractive description of a man: "I doubt you even wait until the condom's off before forgetting their names." There must be something wrong with me.

But anyway. This stuff wouldn't have been enough for a one star rating on its own. With just this, I would have given at least two stars, maybe even three on a good day. The problem I had, the HUGE fucking problem I had with this book was the protagonist. God, she was the very meaning of insufferable. And her best friend wasn't far behind. On that subject, this seems to be incredibly common in NA books: BBF (Bad Best Friend) Syndrome. It's like a requirement for the protagonist's best friend to encourage them to forget about all the bad stuff a guy has done, just forget that he's a total jerk because he is SO HOT. Jared harassed Tate for years and yet her best friend advises her to get together with him and, when she doesn't, decides to have a go herself!

Forget the best friend, let's get back to the high-and-mighty queen of preciousness herself. Tate views everyone but herself, her parents and Jared with utter disdain. Being inside her head was like waging a war against every other female because of the things they wore, the things they said, and the guys they were with. For one, I feel it is always best to avoid stupid phrases like "queen bee of the mean girls", but it was when she referred to everyone Jared was with as being "slutty" because they were all over him that I felt like someone had really lit my fuse. She walks onto every scene, describing the others as "slutty looking girls". If they weren't sluts, they were bitches or "twits", every woman is an enemy to Tate in this book - even her "best friend" isn't immune. Piper, the girl Jared uses and casts aside, gets the worst of it: "Piper had her face buried in his neck. She looked trashy in her short, tight black dress and heels. Who wore heels to the beach?"

Look, I go to a University that used to be an all female institution. It's not anymore, but there are still currently around two women to every one guy. I know women. Smart women, stupid women, extroverted women, shy women, ambitious women, funny women, geeky women, sporty women, straight women, gay women... and I don't believe that I have ever seen a single woman as vapid, shallow and senseless as all the ones who exist in this novel. They walk around with their breasts bulging out, drooling over men who only love the marvellous Tate (who is, naturally, above all this breast-bulging, drooling business). I guess it's bad that I find myself siding with the antagonist in all this. And don't even get me started on that ridiculous fight in the school corridor between Tate and Piper.

There is so much slut-shaming, woman-shaming and obsessing over virginity in this book. For Tate, her virginity is a gift-wrapped present to be given to the one most deserving, while having sex with multiple guys is shameful. This quote is a particular favourite of mine: "I'd been called a bitch before, and it didn't hurt the way being called a slut did. Being a bitch could be a survival technique. They get respect. There was no honor in people thinking you were a slut." Reading that was a bit like dying a painful, anti-feminist death.

But wait! Just when you thought the guys got to escape Tate's judgement because of their penises, she casts a withering glance over them and their stupid ways. Honestly, she is the most annoying character ever. "The girls had no other interests beside shopping and makeup and the guys here gave me the urge to sanitize my eyeballs after seeing the way they looked at me." For godsake, Ms Precious, go sanitize your eyeballs somewhere we don't have to hear you whining, here you go, use this acid.

Tate's thoughts when Ben came to talk to her and tried to be nice were particularly annoying too. He was really sweet and lovely, didn't judge her on the rumours, and just wanted a conversation. And what is Tate thinking about these niceties? She is inwardly cringing at him because he likes country music. What a moron. Whereas jackass who takes pleasure in humiliating her at least likes "cool" music. Moron. Tate, I hope you fall into a burning ring of fire, down down down with the flames going higher, and I hope you stand by your man until Piper Jolene steals him. Then you'll be all blue eyes crying in the rain, dreaming of what you'll do with a subway token and a dollar tucked inside your shoe. I can't think of a reason to use the words "you've got to know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em" but I'm going to anyway. And, really, who needs a reason for anything beyond: because tractors are sexy.

And, on that note, I shall depart.
Profile Image for Penelope Douglas.
Author 39 books72.5k followers
Shelved as 'finished-writing'
April 17, 2015
Thank you to EVERYONE who has left reviews and messaged with feedback. Truly. As a new author who had no connections and no network, I cannot tell you how much your support has meant. It has been a wonderful year and a half since Bully's release, and now three books later, we complete the circle.

Jared and Tate will continue to finish up the series. Look for Aflame in April 2015!

(Note: This is not the cover. Just a teaser pic.) Thank you everyone again!
Profile Image for the burning dreamer..
266 reviews556 followers
November 8, 2016
First off, I admit: I'm a sucker for love/hate stories. And after reading the premise for Bully, I was super psyched to see where it would take me.

Alas, I feel like I've stepped into a trap.

I've come across a thousand FANFICTIONS that were so. much. better. (Hell, comparing it to that feels like an insult to fanfictions themselves.) But this is simply yet another blasted romance novel suffering from the 'new-adult-unoriginal-cliche-itis' that's been circulating around and contaminating 80% of the contemporary books I've read. God, I believe this is the gazillionth time I'm labeling a story as 'cliche' which is making my limited vocabulary feel somewhat cliched- but there's just no other way to put it when all these books turn out to be the same! A pity, really, because I felt this storyline held so much potential.

The central focus of Bully sticks with the relationship between our severely annoying protagonist, Tate (and in case you were wondering, she's a she, and to furthermore weird you out, her full name's actually TATUM. I know, I know. *shakes head in exasperation* A little advice to you authors out there: if you're intending to pick an uncommon name for your main character, make sure you don't mix uncommon with unusual. It serves to be highly distracting throughout the entire read, especially when you have these guys constantly popping in your head:



–and her best friend-turned-life ruiner, Jared. Two years into high school have been a living nightmare thanks to this guy and his ludicrous pranks and rumors (and I do mean ludicrous, because honestly, is the school comprised of absolute dimwitted idiots to believe all those blatantly false things about bowel diseases and STDs? Jesus fucking christ.) and for two whole years, she's done nothing to bring a stop to it.

Then one day, shes decides to pack up and leave for France for a gap year, and returns with no visible transformation in her personality— which really confuses me because wasn't that supposed to be the whole point? But oh wait, guess I missed out the part where she gets sprinkled in pixie dust and spontaneously develops a bout of confidence and tough-girl bitchiness to face her bully (not to mention the fact that all the guys at school seem to be dealing with a sudden infatuation with her despite treating her no better than a leper before).

Cue a slew of kneez to the ballz, snarky t o t a l l y o r i g i n a l comebacks and heated confrontations. But besides all this BS, the real kicker was that she was so fucking enraptured by his dreamy good looks and just hubba hubba who cares that dickhead who heedlessly torments me for no apparent reason surpasses the douchiest of douchebags because my oh my look at those sweet set of abs!

WHAT IN THE WORLDS IS WRONG WITH YOU? I get that you were close to this guy in your tween days, but after the shit he's put you through, I think it's about time you sort yourself out and get. the fuck. over him. It's like she gets possessed by hormones every time she's around him, only to have said hormones abandon her next to practically any other guy. Especially Ben Jamison, who's not only charming and good-natured, but considered one of the most attractive hunks at school- and wonderful Tate here seemingly can't find a single fuck to give about him all due to the one lone fact that he has a taste for country music. Ugggh, where's my whip?

I can't even begin to tell you how awful it was having to bear with her narration! She deems it a necessity to hatefully label each and every female present in the story either a 'bitch' or a 'slut' or whatnot, but then takes pride in being considered one of those. According to her, she hasn't got any friends to hang out with, so I think it's safe to assume that Tate Brandt is an A+ judgemental son of a gun. Oh, and the only 'true friend' she does have is as shallow as they can get: people, I bring to you K.C! Seriously, is it that hard to just stick with Casey or do you find some sort of satisfaction at being ~different~ by not doing that?

K.C., being fully aware of Jared's assholish mistreatments towards Tate, doesn't hesitate in pursuing him after falling victim for his perfect looks *cringe* and insists on her best friend to let go of the past and accept him for who he is (in case you didn't know: a manipulative bag of dicks). *double cringe* Obviously, it's only fitting that Tate should get supremely mad at her for the way she's acting- except it's for all the wrong reasons. Whether she's ready to believe it or not, she's jealous of K.C. and wants her paws off her man so to say (and do remember, said man is the same guy who's turned her into a social monstrosity).

The whole ordeal is just so bloody infuriating, all I wanted was some bleach to douse my- no wait, their eyes out with. Not a single character in the book that I could give less of a damn about! They were all just...so...


Like I said before, the main focus was on the romance, which let me tell you, was just plain shitty. I felt no chemistry between Tate and Jared whatsoever and couldn't even find myself sympathizing much with his past (oh yes, did I not mention? Mr. Mysterious here has his very own secret past to strip away all his faults, how perfectly understandable!)

All my energy was just so directed towards my vexation at them, I couldn't take it anymore. The sole reason I even finished this off was to finally discover what had induced Jared's initial coldness towards Tate (spoiler alert: it's disappointing). And then I forced myself to reach the finish line with ragged breaths to see how the author planned on ending this because THERE'S ACTUALLY A SECOND BOOK???????? Gag me.

All in all, don't bother with this.
Just please.
Rest assured, it's not going to be worth it.
Profile Image for Aestas Book Blog.
1,059 reviews74.9k followers
December 4, 2013

Bully was a wonderfully addictive read that kept my heart racing from start to finish. I could not put it down! 5 stars!!

He loves me... He loves me not... He loves me... He loves me not...

Jared and Tate grew up next door to each other. Jared was sweet, generous and friendly and they were the best and closest of friends. But not anymore. The kid who had held her hand through the pain of losing her mother, who had climbed trees with her, and who had snuck over for sleepovers was gone and now he seemed to live solely to torment her.
"Every party we go to, or every time I relax at school, there's some prank or embarrassment to ruin it."

The title of this book did not lie! The hero genuinely was a bully in the first part of the book and to be honest, I wasn't sure how I was ever going to fall for him. He was mean. Not like violent or abusive or anything, but the things he said and did were genuinely hurtful and unkind.
"Even after everything he'd done, part of me still missed that boy who was my waking thought and constant companion as a kid. But that Jared was gone now. In his place was a sour, hateful douchbag that had no regard for me."

But the real question that I kept asking myself was...  why?  As a general rule, behavior like his is a result of some sort of extreme hurt but for the life of her, Tate couldn't figure out what she did to wrong him and she was hurting deeply both for their lost friendship and for the pain he was causing in her life.

Now, because the story was told entirely from Tate's perspective, it was a while before I got to discover what had made Jared turn into a bully which left me plenty of time to wonder at the possibilities...

Everything about him was just so contradictory. He blared music late at night so she couldn't sleep but covered for her at school when she was in trouble. He made sure none of the guys at school ever touched yet and yet clearly didn't want her for himself. I kept trying to figure him out. Maybe it was his messed up way of trying to protect her? Maybe he didn't feel good enough for her and was trying, in the only way he knew how, to look out for her?

A part of me couldn't help but try to rationalize or at least understand what was going on inside his head because the more I read, the more it was clear that his actions were not just straight up meanness. There was something more behind it. Misguided and wrong perhaps but I could sense something... 'good' in him maybe? Although at first I wondered if maybe that was just my natural desire to redeem the hero of my book... needless to say, it stirred up a lot of questions and kept me totally hooked and curious to see where the story would go next.

I also really want to point out how much I loved the heroine. She was smart, sassy and certainly no pushover. Given the 'bullying' theme of the book and how she was the victim of it, I was curious how she's react to it all and was pleasantly surprised to see how much she fought back and stood her ground. She even had several badass moments and certainly earned my respect as a character. In her own words: "I wasn't a whiner and I didn't want to be rescued." <--- yup! I loved her!

This book will make you see where bullies come from and show you how a perfectly sweet and loving person can be shaped into a tormentor.
"This is how bullies are made."

The author did a phenomenal job of portraying Jared. She managed to capture his conflict in subtle ways that were just strong enough to keep you guessing at his real motivations behind his actions. He was clearly being a bully but at the same time, it was also clear that he wasn't a bad guy.
"There was a time when I had all his attention and I loved it. And as much I wanted him to leave me alone, I also liked..the way he was looking at me right now. And then I remembered that I hated him."

I will say though that despite everything going on between them - Jared and Tate had some seriously chemistry!! Talk about unresolved sexual tension! I mean really! But I loved that despite everything he did while he was being mean, that he never crossed the line into touching her... that again was more proof to me of him feeling something deeper for her.
"Don't touch me." I'd meant to yell, but it came out as a whisper.

Jared moved his head from side to side trying to catch my eyes, his lips inches from my fave. "If I ever lay my hands on you," he said low and husky, "you'll want it."

I really hated myself for admitting it, but despite the bullying, he made my heart flutter. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. I know. But still... *flutter*

I loved the way the author subtly included little elements and details that made me fall for him while he was being a bully but yet that also didn't excusing his actions. She made it clear to the readers that there was something deeper beneath the surface... something that the heroine couldn't quite see at first.

Parts of the book just had me grinning like crazy - almost in a way that was a little reminiscent of the Neighbor from Hell books but.. in high school. Gah! It felt wrong but I just couldn't stop smiling in certain places. But then something would happen that would sober me right up.
"I hate you!" I screamed at his face and meant every word...

"Good!" he shouted in my face, boring down on me. "Finally. Because it's been a long time since I could stand the sight of you... I promise you will be in tears by next week."

Little by little, Tate began to piece together bits of his life... a life she hadn't been a part of since his 'change' at fourteen. She begins to notice things... scars on his back, subtle ways that he protected her... and yet none of it quite added up.
"When Jared was fourteen, his father called and asked if Jared could come and visit him for the summer. Happily, Jared agreed and left for eight weeks. After that visit, though, he returned cold and cruel."

But I still just couldn't figure Jared out. Did he like her (somewhere deep down inside)? Did he hate her (unlikely, based on his actions and words)? What made him so angry with her? Why did he want to hurt her? Why did he want to protect her? ... Questions. Questions. Never-ending questions. I needed to know WHY!

This book also had a lot of deeper issues going on as well. When someone is bullied, how far do they get pushed before they retaliate? And, by doing so, are they not themselves just perpetuating the cycle by becoming a bully themselves? Or is it self-defense? Is it justified? Understandable? Necessary? Completely wrong? Where were the lines drawn?

I was nervous going into this book... could I fall for a bully? Did I even want to? I hate bullying. It makes me sick. But I could sense from early on that Jared was a little different. He certainly wasn't all bad and his actions weren't random... and something about him made me desperate to find out what had happened to him to make him the way he was. It had to have been bad...

When his backstory came out, it broke my heart. Completely. It explained everything. It of course didn't excuse it, but knowing what had happened in his life, you could at least understand where he was coming from.

But at the same time I absolutely adored how, despite the tragedy of it, Tate didn't just fall into a weepy heap and accept him back. He had seriously wronged her (regardless of his reasons) and she made him work to earn her forgiveness.
"I'm sorry," he whispered. "I know I can make this up to you. Don't hate me."

The book took me through a range of emotion and even left me teary in places seeing the friendship they'd once had, the hurt that was left over, the anger that was thrown around and the hearts that were left bruised.

This was one of those books that made me want to slow down and pace myself so that I didn't finish it too soon. The story sucked me in, made me care, and totally absorbed me in these characters' lives and journeys. I loved every word.
"Are you mine?" I asked as I wiped me tears.

He kissed the corners of my mouth softly... "Always have been," he whispered.

This is a New Adult book. There is steam and sex. The scenes are not fade-to-black, but yet also are not overly graphic. They're more emotional than anything.

There is definitely a happy ending here. No cliffhanger! But, this is the first of a series so it does leave room to explore their story further after this book so there is no epilogue. But still, I was left completely happy, satisfied and overflowing with warm, fuzzy emotions.

From start to finish, Bully grabbed a hold of my heart. I could not put it down. I could not stop turning the pages. My heart raced, broke, and healed. It was a unique twist on the bad boy meets good girl tale. Beautiful, painful and addictive. 5 stars!!

I honestly can't believe that this a debut novel! The writing was effortless and just allowed you to flow seemlessly through the story. I was very impressed and will certainly be looking out for more from Penelope Douglas.

Highly recommended!

... and OMG that was a long review!! O_O

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Profile Image for Val ⚓️ Shameless Handmaiden ⚓️.
1,864 reviews30.2k followers
October 23, 2020
5 HUGE Asshole Stars

I REALLY enjoyed this book.

Now, I know bullying is a serious and highly sensitive issue. And I'm not downplaying that or tying to make light of that.

I am speaking about this strictly as a 30-something, non-impressionable ADULT reading a work of complete fucking fiction.

So I'm not going to get into any social commentary regarding this books portrayal of bullying and all its evil.


My review is from an entertainment (aka how "un-put-downable" was it?) standpoint only.

And this shit floated, people.


In other words, I was totally absorbed - aka otherwise rendered completely useless in my normal life until I finished this story.

Jared was such a magnetic character.
And I loved him. He was mysterious and alpha and a TOTAL ASSHOLE. And I'm always a sucker for those traits. I also really loved the idea of he and Tate being best friends as kids. Because what little girl doesn't dream of having that with the cute boy next door? I loved their push/pull, I FELT their connection, and I just really loved Jared.

Oops, I already said that.

My bad!

Anyway, I'm definitely looking forward to more from this author.
Profile Image for Kristen.
834 reviews4,771 followers
November 21, 2015
3 Stars – I have very mixed emotions about this book.

While I liked this book for the most and was captivated by the author's realistic portrayal of bullying, I must admit, this book left me with mixed feeling.

Bullying is a real-life problem and I felt the author did a great job showcasing its powerful ability to hurt the human soul while at the same time showing the resilience of the human spirit.

For me, though, this book had some undeniable stumbling blocks. This story was too Young Adult for my personal tastes. And while I felt Tate's character was well fleshed out, richly developed and multilayered, the rest of the cast of characters, including Jared, for me at least, seem at times one-dimensional. There was a lack of character development and character depth to them. They seemed to be locked into the scripted roles they were assigned. Because of that, I found it difficult to sympathize with Jared's plight and the reasons for his atrocious behavior once it was finally revealed; or, for that matter, to understand why Tate was so willing to forgive and forget all he'd done to her when he finally changed his actions. Sadly, I was never given enough reasons to fully like Jared's character.

All in all, I'm glad I read this book. If you enjoy the Young Adult/New Adult genre then you will more than likely LOVE this story. Considering the characters were in high school, I would classify this book Young Adult. Definitely a mature Young Adult, as it was fairly steamy.

Review posted at: Swept Away By Romance
Profile Image for Lana ❇✾DG Romance❇✾.
2,059 reviews12.2k followers
August 18, 2015
5 Stars

I had loved Jared once, but now I knew, without a doubt, that "my Jared" was gone.

God. This book. I mean, THIS BOOK. Words fail me to describe just how much I loved this. I've had this in my kindle for what feels like ages since I got it as a freebie way back in 2013. I've seen it making the rounds on Goodreads and for some reason I still hadn't read it. If I can kick my own ass for not reading this sooner, I would, because this book? This book reminded me about all the reasons why I fell in love with New Adult romance to begin with. And I'm not talking about the manufactured angst, stupid decisions, at at times gratuitous sex scenes. No. I'm talking that all-encompassing feeling, just the right amount of gut-wrenching angst, you hate but love the hero, and you want to high five the heroine kind of read. It was like it was custom written just for me.
This is how bullies are made...

Jared will be a hero that every reader will love to hate. I sure as hell did. But as much as I wanted to hate him, I can't deny that I was always wondering what was buried right below the surface to make him act the way he did because you just knew there had to be something. I have to say that Penelope Douglas did a phenomenal job with character development and that's what made the book as good as it was. The characters were multi-faceted and strongly developed. You get to know both of them as the story progresses and you also begin to understand both of them that much more.

What truly made this book for me was Tate. She wasn't your typical NA heroine. This is a girl that had a backbone but didn't take it overboard. She wasn't intentionally cruel or flippant, she stood up for herself and she owned it. She was comfortable in her own skin and it was the perfect balance to the Jared's mercurial moods.
You were my tempest, my thunder cloud, my tree in the downpour. I loved all of those things, and I loved you. But now? You're a fucking drought. I thought that all the assholes drove German cars, but it turns out that pricks in Mustangs can still leave scars."

I can't remember the last time a book kept me up all night, completely incapable of setting it down for even a second because I needed to know what happened next. I was sucked in from just the first chapter and read this in one sitting. This is exactly the kind of angst that I'm starving for. Imperfectly perfect, rage inducing and yet flawless. That probably doesn't even make sense, but if you're an angst whore like me, you'll know what I mean. My absolute favorite trope is the enemies-to-lovers, hate/lust thing and Bully delivers that in spades. While there were parts I wanted more from, I still can't rate it down for that simply because this book absolutely enthralled me. So much so, that I couldn't even bat an eyelash at any minor quibbles it may have had.
We can be confused about what is good for us but not about what we truly want.

Simply put, it was amazing. Just amazing. This is a book that I recommend to any lovers of New Adult romance. I have found myself a new author to obsess over and my only regret is not reading this fantastic book sooner.
Yesterday lasts forever.
Tomorrow comes never.
Until you.

For more reviews visit
Profile Image for Christy.
3,923 reviews33.1k followers
February 3, 2015
4.5 Crazy good stars!!!!!
 photo 675d5263-c07e-436f-b425-ff16c4af2841_zpsa257d1c3.jpg

For her whole high school career, Tate has been bullied. By one person in particular... Jared. Jared is Tate’s neighbor and used to be Tate’s best friend, but now, he isn’t. He is just someone who enjoys making her life hell.

 photo 340a1bbb-32fd-4f26-bc86-93220a3f4f3b_zpsbac637a2.jpg
I had loved Jared once, but now I knew, without a doubt, that ‘my Jared’ was gone.

The worst part about it? The summer before their freshman year of highschool, Jared went to stay with his dad. When he came home, he was different. He wanted nothing to do with Tate. And she has no idea why.

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Thats the worst feeling in the world. To be that close to someone, to love them, and for them to start treating you terribly. It’s like she doesn’t even know him anymore.

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Tate goes to Europe for her whole junior year. She sort of becomes her own while she is over there. She comes home for her senior year, ready to start fresh. She is determined to ignore Jared’s antics, have a good year, and make the most of her last year of high school.

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She is sick of all of Jared and his friend’s crap. She won’t put up with it anymore.

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Tate is feisty. Strong willed. Tough. She was an awesome heroine. And Jared... Oh my Jared....
This may make me seem a little crazy- but I will just say it right now. I LOVE JARED. Okay, a lot of people loved Jared by the end of the book. Not me. I loved him the entire time I read this book. He was a jerk. An asshole. A bully. But there was just something about him that pulled me to him... I was rooting for him the whole book, so yay!
Once he said “If I ever lay my hands on you, you’ll want it.” I was a goner. Let me throw this out there. I don’t like ‘bullies’. Picking on people for any reason is not cool. There was just something about this guy... you could tell he and Tate had a love/hate thing going on, and I could tell there was some reason he was acting the way he was.

After Tate starts sticking up for herself, things start to change for her and Jared. Not at first, at first he is still just as determined to piss her off as ever. He even messes around with her best friend just to get a rise out of her. As the story builds, you can’t help but notice the sexual tension between these two, and the protectiveness Jared has over Tate. Eventually, things between them escalate.

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This is hard for Tate to come to terms with. On one hand, this guy was her best friend for years. She has always loved him, she is very attracted to him. She just doesn’t think she can trust him. Jared still isn’t ready to open up to Tate. He doesn’t feel like he can tell her why he has been the way he has been all those years. All he can do is apologize.
“I won’t hurt you. I’ll never hurt you again. I’m sorry.”

But is that ever going to be enough for Tate? Can she ever trust Jared, or is it all just some ploy to get to her again?

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Once I started this book, I had trouble putting it down! It captivated me from the beginning. This is a topic not everyone is comfortable reading about, but I think it was pretty awesome that she went with it. And for being a YA book- there was some really nice steam in there ;))
An emotional story about love, friendship, standing up for yourself, and forgiveness. A wonderful debut novel!

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Profile Image for Rose.
1,881 reviews1,064 followers
July 7, 2013
Initial thoughts: Not worth the time taken to read. I honestly thought it would be a better read than it actually was - it wasn't terrible in the beginning, but at the same time, as it went on, it glorifies and romanticizes bullying to no end. I have a lot of words to say about this and I'll try to be as constructive as I can about what went wrong with this read after I meditate a bit over it.

Full review:

This is a difficult review for me to write, but I'm going to start this reflection with a few thoughts about current trends I see in popular literature. I think it's fair to say that conflict drives much of what we read and the experiences that we get from that conflict in a work make us value it in a myriad of ways. But one thing that I absolutely loathe that I see on the rise is the fetishization (not sure if that's a word) of problems at their deepest roots, that entail suffering without context for what it is or having any moral consequences. I've read stories where rape is glorified, where abuse - physical, mental, emotional - is championed and desired over respect in a relationship, and in the case of Penelope Douglas's "Bully", bullying is seen as something that's desirable despite of a victim's experiences.

I'm not going to take away from Douglas's narrative in the fact that it is compulsively readable and that it starts off with a heroine that does stand up for herself in the face of torments that she endures from the people who surround her. "Bully" had me, I went along with the story for a while. But then it lost me as it became clear that in all the measures surrounding this story, it glorifies falling in love with someone who torments you. Regardless of whatever issues the hero had, it doesn't justify what he did to Tate, and I sincerely doubt after all that Jared did, Tate could forgive and lust after him as easily as she did.

Tate (Tatum) is a young woman who returns to town for her senior year after being away for a year in France. Her father is out on business, leaving Tatum by her lonesome at home, with a grandmother who occasionally checks in on her (though that was a little hard to believe, I suspended my disbelief enough to follow the story). Tate was once friends with her next door neighbor, Jared, but after he returned home after a stay with his father, he started to bully her. Some turns of his bullying is horrific to say the least, alongside his friends and jealous girlfriends who join into making Tate's life miserable when she returns to town. Still, I liked how Tate stood up for herself in spells, and her retorts in places were actually humored well. I don't know how I felt about the monologue - I know some people would think it's emotionally resonant, but for me, for all the considerations of what Tate went through, it didn't hit me as hard as I would've liked.

After a point, it was obvious that Tate was championed as having a love/hate relationship with Jared despite the horrible things he said and did to her. I hated that because there's a line between the whole "I love you/I hate you" dynamic and having a hero who obviously gets off on hurting others while the heroine still succumbs to lust in light of that. This actually could've been a narrative where it clearly established Tate lusted after the boy that Jared used to be, but that measure was lost in the foray of the current actions that Jared did to her.

I still think one of the few authors who managed to portray a hero who was a jerk but was truly repentant of his ways and manages to be likable in turns was Kody Keplinger. Granted, "The DUFF" is YA, and this is NA, but at the same time - that felt more real of a story than this one and truly had something to say about its characters and the issues/conflicts it presented. "Bully" was shallow, underdeveloped, and fetishizing a major social and societal problem in comparison.

It forces the point home when Tate is a victim in so many ways and shouldn't have had to endure it, especially with other people in her circles simply dismissing Jared's actions so casually and them telling her in so many words "give him a chance". Eff NO. Yes, it's true that in order to understand the root of bullying and bullying behaviors, you have to see what factors play into the behaviors that are displayed and come to an understanding about why the bully engages the victim in the way they do. Usually that comes with getting help and having the bully deal with with what's perpetuating those behaviors in proper context. But to come at the expense of the victim and in not so subtle terms put the responsibility on the "victim" to change the "bully"? No, just no. I don't care what age group this book is intended for, that's not a good attitude to approach the matter.

Even when Tate figures that K.C. goes out with Jared for a time, I found it hard to believe Tate would turn a blind eye or feel guilty for distancing herself from a friend who would do that. Granted, I know the lot of us have different coping points and thresholds for forgiveness, but this narrative asked me one too many times to overlook some jarring conflicts in an attempt to see how the leading love interests "get together." It was milked and manufactured and I did not see the constructiveness of its portrayal here.

Overall, I was very disappointed with the narrative here and I couldn't get behind the relationship or the insinuations made on the subject matter here. It's drama for the sake of drama, with characters that I'm supposed to believe fall in love, but it didn't progress with any kind of realistic terms for me to believe in it.

Overall score: 1/5
January 8, 2023

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DNF @ 20%

Here's the thing about Penelope Douglas-- I think you either love or hate their books. They have a very distinctive style that's very soap opera-y and edgy and kind of feels like a bird's eye view into what it's like living in a small midwestern town. I bought a whole bunch of their books when they went on sale because I remembered actually liking CORRUPT, but now I'm wondering if that was a false memory because I haven't liked CREDENCE, BIRTHDAY GIRL, or PUNK 57. It's not even that I hate their books; they just make me uncomfortable and kind of squick me out. I know some people like that feeling because they enjoy reading books that push their boundaries and sometimes I do, too, because that's how you think about human behavior and what makes people tick. But all of their books are narrated in first person and their heroines kind of embrace internalized misogyny just a little too much for me to fully get on board. Tate, as a heroine, feels like the kind of girl who pulls up the rope ladder behind her because her girl power comes at the expense of other women. Respect for this being, like, the first major popular bully romance but I just couldn't get into it.

1.5 to 2 stars
Profile Image for SueBee★bring me an alpha!★.
2,417 reviews14.3k followers
August 15, 2017
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★★★★! Bully, a debut by Penelope Douglas. Broken, jaded & sexy high school senior deals with the aftermath of having bullied a girl he can’t forget!

“You were my tempest, my thunder cloud, my tree in the downpour. I loved all those things, and I loved you. But now? You’re a fucking drought. I thought that all the assholes drove German cars, but it turns out that pricks in Mustangs can still leave scars.”

As the title would indicate this story is about bullying. And as irked and disgusted I am about anyone, I repeat anyone, picking on someone who is weaker, I feel that there are different types of bullying. When a boy likes a girl and picks on her is not the same as when a person is being targeted for being different, weak or not liked. Bully is a boy-likes-girl story, but it does in no way condone bullying, on the contrary.

Bully opens up with a Prologue at a party Tatum Brandt, Tate has decided to attend before her departure to study one year abroad. It is revealed that Tate has been bullied all through high school by her neighbor and former friend Jared Trent. Jared and his friends play on last prank on Tate only underscoring her relief to be leaving.

Thanks to Jared, my high school experience had been one long succession of rumors, pranks, tears, and disappointments.

Fast forward a year to Tate’s return for her senior year of high school, she has changed. Though she clearly always must have been strong to endure the bullying, she is now projecting a new maturity, worldliness and confidence about her. That combined with Jared having come to the decision to no longer bully makes for a different experience at school. The story follows them in the fall of their senior year through high school drama and events unfolding prompting them to delve into, relive and sort through the bullying that Tate had experienced; The details of Jared’s and Tate’s friendship, fall-out, the aftermath and bullying will be revealed throughout the story. In addition there is betrayal, self reflection and above all sexual tension and a budding romance.

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Jared Trent has many qualities that make for a great hero; uncanny beauty, popular - clearly a charismatic leader - mysterious, sexy, damaged and elements of sinister. This is his story of redemption! For the first half of the book he had me at the edge of my seat. While the second half sort of fizzled.

“There were so many times when we were kids, growing up next door to each other, that I thought Jared was the greatest. He was sweet, generous, and friendly. And the most beautiful boy I’d ever seen.”

Six words to describe Jared: Damaged, jaded, enigmatic, cynical, protective and immature.

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Tate Brandt was a wonderful heroine, so strong and resilient, smart and mature. I loved everything about her. However I did not care for her “friend” K.C.

“There was a time when I had all of his attention and loved it. As much as I wanted him to leave me alone, I also liked how he seemed surprised. I liked the way he was looking at me right now. And then I remembered that I hated him.”

Six words to describe Tate: Smart, strong, resilient, mature, good-hearted and forgiving.

I really enjoyed Ms. Douglas writing style. She has created a wonderful heroine and captivating hero. I was very much rooting for Jared and Tate. The sexual tension and build-up was spellbinding. The first half of the book had me glued, but the second half felt rushed and glossed over. Bully left Jared and Tate in a good place. The sequel will be about Jared’s friend Madoc who had a prominent part in this story. Overall an excellent read!

“Yesterday lasts forever. Tomorrow comes never. Until you.”

Hero rating: 4.5 stars
Heroine rating: 5 stars
Sex scenes rating: 4.5 stars
Sex scenes frequency: 3.5 stars
Storyline concept rating: 3.5 stars
Storytelling skills rating: 5 stars
Story ending rating: 3.5 stars
Book editing rating (5 = no edits spotted): 4 stars
Overall rating: 4 stars

Would I recommend this book: Yes.
Would I re-read this book: Maybe later.
Would I read future books by this author: Yes.

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Profile Image for chan ☆.
1,072 reviews51.5k followers
July 8, 2023
reread 7/8/23: need a dual pov... maybe one day i'll reread the book from jared's pov but prolly not anytime soon.

reread 11/24/19: all my thoughts are pretty much the same as the first time but especially the bit about p. douglas books working SO MUCH BETTER as dual POV. kept wanting jared's thoughts but he remains kinda one note because we don't get his POV. not bad, not my fave of hers'.


I was hoping we could move forward without looking back.

the good
This is my second book by Penelope Douglas and wow was it a trip. This book focuses on the former friendship and hate-to-love relationship between Tate and Jared. Tate and Jared were friends in middle school until he went away the summer before high school. He comes back changed, and bullies Tate by spreading rumors and teasing her.

What I loved about this book was the level of introspection that Douglas manages to add to their stories. For me, I can't relate to a character unless I can get inside their head. I also find it hard to justify shitty behavior if they don't explain it as well. Tate's reactions to her treatment are complex and make sense given the circumstances. She's a well fleshed out character and I definitely wanted her to get what she wanted.

the bad
While this was my second book by this author I believe it was the first one they ever wrote. And it definitely shows. If anything I am incredibly impressed in how their caliber of writing has changed over a 3 year span but this book had a lot of bad NA tropes. Namely, the attitude of Tate towards other females in the book. She becomes incredibly possessive of a guy she's not with and tears down her friend because of it. AND!!!!! .

I also think that Punk 57 worked so well (and a lot of other NAs do too) because it had dual narration. In this one, it was REALLY hard to sympathize with the love interest because he was a dick but you couldn't really figure out why until the end of the book. I am ALL for the hate-to-love trope if it's done well but it wasn't that convincing in this book. Bullying your former friend for almost all of high school is more than just a little psychotic and the explanation given, while heartbreaking just doesn't really add up. The quote I included in this review was a direct result of this... how do you expect someone to look forward after the torment you've caused them without stopping to ask more questions???

I definitely didn't hate this book, and I sped through it because it kept me entertained. But I'm going to have to read more from this series before I really pass judgment.
Profile Image for "That's All" Ash.
157 reviews1,934 followers
February 9, 2014
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“I like storms. Thunder, torrential rain, puddles, wet shoes. When the clouds roll in, I get filled with this giddy expectation. Everything is more beautiful in the rain. Don’t ask me why. But it’s like this whole other realm of opportunity. I used to feel like a superhero, riding my bike over the dangerously slick roads, or maybe an Olympic athlete enduring rough trials to make it to the finish line.”

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This book shivered my pulse.

“On sunny days, as a girl, I could still wake up to that thrilled feeling. You made me giddy with expectation, just like a symphonic rainstorm. You were a tempest in the sun, the thunder in a boring, cloudless sky. I remember I’d shovel in my breakfast as fast as I could, so I could go knock on your door. We’d play all day, only coming home for food and sleep. We played hide and seek, you’d push me on the swing, or we’d climb trees. Being your sidekick gave me a sense of home again.”

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This book tossed a hurricane into my lungs.

“You see, when I was ten, my mom died. She had cancer, and I lost her before I really knew her. My world felt so insecure, and I was scared. You were the person that turned things right again. With you, I became courageous and free. It was like the part of me that died with my mom came back when I met you, and I didn’t hurt anymore. Nothing hurt if I knew I had you.”

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This book left crinkles at the corner of eyes like smiling wounds.

“Then one day, out of the blue, I lost you, too. The hurt returned, and I felt sick when I saw you hating me. My rainstorm was gone, and you became cruel. There was no explanation. You were just gone. And my heart was ripped open. I missed you. I missed my mom. What was worse than losing you was when you started to hurt me. Your words and actions made me hate coming to school. They made me uncomfortable in my own home.”

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This books left teeth marks in my bottom lip.

“Everything still hurts, but I know none of it is my fault. There are a lot of words that I could use to describe you, but the only one that includes sad, angry, miserable, and pitiful is ‘coward.’ In a year, I’ll be gone, and you’ll be nothing but some washout whose height of existence was in high school.”

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This book wrecked my eyelashes.

“You were my tempest, my thunder cloud, my tree in the downpour. I loved all of those things, and I loved you. But now? You’re a fucking drought. I thought that all the assholes drove German cars, but turns out that pricks in mustangs can still leave scars.”

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Probably one of the best books I’ve read in a very, very long time.

So. Yes, Penelope Douglas.

You’re officially on my radar.

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Profile Image for Pavlina Read more sleep less blog  .
2,434 reviews4,593 followers
July 13, 2013

Yesterday lasts forever.
Tomorrow comes never.
Until you.

Tate and Jared are neighbours and they were best friends...

One summer..Jared turned on Tate!He began to bully her..Spreading vicious rumours,humiliating her..Time passed and things get worst..

“What was worse than losing you was when you started to hurt me. Your words and actions made me hate coming to school. They made me uncomfortable in my own home.”


Tate comes back for her senior from France..But coming home she's tired of being afraid and being a coward and letting him control her life.She takes her best friend K.C.'s advice and decides it's time to start fighting back!!


“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 get.”

Jared is a complicated character.He is an arrogant playboy.At first Jared was jerk but when you learn more about him..you see that he is so sweet and charming.
I really liked seeing Tate's transition from being an introvert to someone who could completely hold her ground.I love the way she made sure no one messed with her.I thought she did an amazing job standing up for herself.

The sexual contents were more a borderline adult than YA and I liked that!

"I want to touch you.".."I want to feel what's mine.Whta's always been mine."
“Are you mine?” I asked as I wiped my tears.
He kissed the corners of my mouth softly, and I felt heat rise up my neck. “Always have been,”
he whispered against my mouth."


Jared and Tate:



For more reviews you can check mine and Kristinas's blog. :D

my link text


Profile Image for Ramona Popescu.
378 reviews134 followers
October 2, 2017
When I think about how I've started reading contemporary romance, the first book that pops in my head is Bully. I was fascinated by a lot of elements, mostly the striking way in which the love scenes were described, but the list can go on forever and ever.

Now looking back after reading around 300 books, I think that "Bully" is unique in plot and in theme provided. There weren't a lot of books that had this approach, making you question the morality of the characters and really raising awareness for a difficult problem.

"Bully" was intense from page one and managed to catch my attention immediately. The story between Tate and Jared is one of a kind and when you drawn the line, it is very confusing to choose sides. Let me explain more in detail:
Tate and Jared were close, super close and had a wonderful friendship. Tate loved Jared, but was afraid to tell him that, because he was super popular and she wasn't confident enough to share that with him. It is all pink with ribbons until Jared goes to stay with his dad for the summer holiday and comes back different but in an ugly way. After that, he becomes Tate's bully, harassing her with every chance he got, and believe me it was not pretty.
This book confused me so much, because of the mixed feeling it generated. You want them to be together, but in the same time you want Tate to kick him in his manly parts and move on.

On the first hand, I would of want Tate to fight harder and not to forget easily the way Jared treated her. He brought down her confidence and self esteem and she should have made him work harder for her love and forgiveness. If I were to think better, she is very admirable for managing to forgive him, because what he did was not ok. She had to go to France to get away from him:)

Jared on the other hand was very tormented and conflicted, that went through a traumatic experience, but nobody deserved to be treated this way because of it. He blamed Tate for his past, but he was so wrong. Maybe he felt stronger, wiser and could forget what happened then, but in the end I don't think either of those things work. The pain still remains and he inflicted it on a person that loved him so much.

So, I am confused. I loved them as a couple and for their endless sexual chemistry and intensity, but on the other hand, maybe it was better for them to be apart, because I just can't understand how you can love somebody that damages you so badly. But I know, in the end you can forgive and move on when you truly believe that person is sorry. I know, but it is not fare.. She was too king and carrying and sweet to put up with all his baggage and stuff.

I can write an essay for this book, but for me is still special, an example of love and hate towards the hero, because he is my main target. I didn't managed to completely love Jared, because I am a person who can't forget depending on the damaged made. Lucky for him Tate did:)


For more reviews please check https://readwithloveblog.wordpress.com
Profile Image for Bibi.
1,288 reviews3,230 followers
October 15, 2018
Gaaaaah... oh dear sweet Jesus, someone pls save me from books with unnecessary and excessive angst.
Admittedly, I am not the target demographic and if the author's writing skill hadn't been so darn good, I would have chucked this down to "that book that is loved by everyone else except for me", however, I did enjoy the enemies turned lovers story and I totally get the appeal.



I. Didn't. Like. Tate. She's just so beautiful that all the boys wanted to date her or whatever. 🙄🙄🙄🙄😴😴. Yeah, not for me, thanks.
Profile Image for Dayana.
26 reviews
February 17, 2014
- Glorifying destructive behavior? Check.
- Reinforcing negative gender relations stereotypes? Check.
- Normalizing violence and sexual assault? Check.
- Romanticizing bullying? Check.
- Exclusively female centered slut shaming? Check.

Rarely (read: never) does a book make me wish for stronger censorship laws. This book being advertised as YA did that.

** EDIT **

... and then the author went and extracted a single part of my review to share on her Facebook page out of context.

Stay classy Penelope Douglas. Stay classy.

Profile Image for Katrina Passick Lumsden.
1,780 reviews12.8k followers
July 16, 2014
Gah, another tough one to review. I don't understand quite a few things that occurred. Really. And I consider myself a fairly intelligent person. A lot of this just didn't make any logical sense.

Jared and Tate used to be besties. The summer of their 14th year, Jared goes to stay with his father for a few weeks and comes home different. Now he hates Tate. When the book begins, they're both 16, and Jared has spent two years bullying Tate. He's also enlisted the help of his friend, Madoc. No one really knows why Jared hates Tate, not even Tate herself. She's meek, weak, confused, sad, etc. Then she goes away to study in France for a year. When she comes home, she makes the decision that Jared isn't going to take her senior year away from her, so she begins to fight back. And here's where the hilarity ensues.

Only not really. None of this is funny. It's confusing and taxing and cruel. I give the author props for the way she wove some serious angst into this tale, but so much of it was just completely unnecessary. I understand how things could turn out this way if the people involved chose to act the way these characters did. But I just can't see real people acting that way. If my best friend of four years suddenly started bullying me with no obvious reason, you can bet your ass I wouldn't quit hounding him until I got some answers. Tate just...well, she apparently just gave up. It was like Jared said a few mean things to her and she stood there confused, then just shrugged and said, "Well, whatever" and accepted the new situation. And she wondered why Jared thought she was a self-serving bitch?

You know, I was going to say that it seemed like one of them deserved better, but now I think they really did deserve each other. In all their emotionally stunted glory.

Why did no one ever get Jared psychological help? Dude went through a lot, and no one thought it prudent for him to see a counselor? K.

I just...wanted to love this. I really, really did. It was just a wee bit over the top for my taste. Especially toward the end when things start really spiraling out of control what with a sex tape and everything. It was like a teen drama on MTV or something.

Oh, and let's not forget K.C. Dear me, how could I forget? If one of my friends started dating a guy who'd bullied me for three years and basically told me I just had to deal with it....yeah.

Last but not least, I am sick to death of the way female sexuality is being portrayed in books like this. The girls who have sex are "slutty" and/or "not nice girls". Most of the sexually active females in this book are evil. Jared ends up being Tate's first, and that's oh-so-romantic since they've loved each other since they were kids....but it was perfectly all right for Jared to be out screwing everyone and their dogs beforehand?

Sheesh. I disliked this book more than I thought.

Even for all that, I thought the message was....no. I don't know what I thought. This book confused me, and for that, I can't forgive it.
Profile Image for • Lisa •.
555 reviews1,532 followers
June 22, 2013

"I want to touch you, I want to feel what's mine. What's always been mine."


What's it all about?
Two former friends Jared Trent and Tate Brandt now find themselves as mortal enemies. After years of being inseparable the duo find themselves in the ultimate love/hate relationship. Tate has suffered for years at the hands of Jared's constant taunting and pranks so after a year away in Europe Tate returns to Shelburne falls high school determined to be stronger. In a standoff between hate, lust, secret reveals and broken hearts what will become of a friendship that was and a hate filled relationship that may have run it's course.

Meet the characters ...
Jared is troubled and angry at the world for his past. He is handsome with a streak of mean, if you've got a thing for a bad boy with a sad past then Jared will hit the mark for you.

Tate is essentially a good girl gone a little astray, throughout the story she  has conflicting behaviours, on one side shes the studious all round high school brain, on the flip side she's the ball buster, a girl who is not afraid to stand up for herself after years of hiding away.

What I liked/loved ...
The author has created an easy reading style, which makes for a lighthearted reading experience. The story has all the makings for a usual over dramatised young adult story which has angst written all over it giving the story extra interest and intrigue. We are also given a plot that delivers a bit of everything, a taste of mean girls and bad boys, sexual tension, and a surprising amount of heat for a YA storyline. 

Final thoughts ...
If you love YA then you will no doubt enjoy this story, it is on the immature side of that genre so steer clear if that isn't for you. All in all an enjoyable escape into the pre adult world of high school drama and falling in love. 


July 25, 2018
ATTENTION ❗️ nearly-rape, child-abuse, alcoholism, bullying

“I like storms.
Thunder torrential rain, puddles, wet shoes.
When the clouds roll in, I get filled with this giddy expectation.
Everything is more beautiful in the rain.
Don't ask me why.
But it’s like this whole other realm of opportunity.”

Story ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Tates life is a living hell. Jared, her former best friend, is bullying her and making her school life miserable. But after one year gone she’s not the vulnerable weak girl anymore. Now she pushes back and finally she sees something more than Jareds hatred.
But after all these years of pain and anger is there really a way to see Jared as her former best friend and accept the feelings that’s in the air?
Im not really sure if I liked the story or not, but the fact that I read this book in one day should be a great factor. But I had some problems with the whole bad boy trope involving bullying and all. I love bad boys, don’t get me wrong, I’m a sucker for pained villains, but not the type that treat the girl like shit and tells her “that he doesn’t care if she’s alive or dead”. Yeah, I don’t care how cute he is in the end. That shit is just unforgivable. Sorry not sorry. Deal with it.

Character ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
“Being a bitch could be a survival technique.
They get respect.”

I wasn’t so sure about my feelings for Tate. I mean I loved her when she shut down stupid comments with her sassy mouth, but the way she acted around Jared was so... ugh, I don’t know. Maybe I can’t really relate because my male best friends in my childhood were the nicest and treated me well.
But still, I liked her a little bit.
Then Jared. I mean, I do get why Tate was so attracted to him. But the way he treated her was just a major no go.
And I don’t care what happened in his childhood or blabla. For me these are low and poor excuses for such a horrible way of treating others.
Sure, he’s handsome and drives great cars. But I would choose a person with a wonderful character over and over again.
I get that our past shouldn’t hound us forever, but you should be really remorse about things you do and in a time space of more than one year you should realize that when a girl cries, she’s hurt? Idiot.
Sorry not sorry.
You ask yourself - why does she give “characters” four stars? Because I felt something for the characters. I felt hate, or pity or I was sad and a little bit happy.
But I felt something.

Relationships ⭐️⭐️
“You were my tempest, my thunder cloud, my tree in the downpour.
I loved all those things, and I loved you.”

First of all I’m a sucker for the childhood-best-friend-plot. Can’t blame me for that. I wanted a cute neighbor who watches rains and storms with me. But no, only boring old people.
But then I’m also extremely unforgiving.
If you’re ever disrespectful or mean to me, I’m probably gonna hate you until you die.
I mean I can forgive, but not meanness or cruelty and especially not bullying.
Yeah, I know this was the whole bad boy trope, but still. Not my style of relationship. Definitely not.

Writing style ⭐️⭐️⭐️
Hm, im not really sure about that one either. First of all it was definitely addictive, no way of denying that. But the writing wasn’t special or brilliantly steamy or something like that. It was nice, it was enjoyable and it was written in just one POV - Tate.
I did love one part of the story - Tate’s monologue. It was so beautiful and breathtaking. My heart was pounding like crazy and I was happy and sad at the same time.
All in all it was really entertaining and I’m glad I read it.
Profile Image for Katerina.
422 reviews16.9k followers
May 27, 2016
I didn't want light and sweet romance.I needed angst and pain and tears and fights and all kinds of feelings.
And I found them all in Bully.
“This is how bullies are made.”

How bullies are made?Is there a reason for their behavior and the pleasure they find in physically and emotionally abusing innocent people?Do they feel a surge of power when they belittle others?I can't say I was a popular girl in school (you see,I was the geek,the perfect student and that didn't exactly make me Miss Congeniality) but the discomfort I sometimes felt was nothing compared to the things Tate went through in Bully.And what I learned while reading this book,was that when bullies see weakness,it makes them even more hungry.When they see tears once,they crave more.Ignoring them or fighting them are the only options to survive.
“Isn’t it about time you fought back?”

What happens though when in the urge to fight you become like them?Bully follows Tate and Jared's story.They were childhood friends,until after spending one summer away Jared became Tate's worst enemy.At first she let him get to her,she suffered and did nothing about it until she decided enough was enough.And that's when things got complicated.
“You were my tempest, my thunder cloud, my tree in the downpour. I loved all those things, and I loved you.”

Actually I am,after reading the first pages and witnessed the way Jared treated Tate,I couldn't imagine why she would ever want to be with him and what reason was enough to justify his actions.And it took me a while to forgive and trust Jared,but I ended up irrevocably in love with him.And with the story.

The reasons I loved Bully
-The music.Avenged Sevenfold,Papa Roach,Apocalyptica,Bullet for My Valentine?I just went to metal heaven!
-The feelings.No kidding,it was an emotional rollercoaster.The fury and the sadness over the injustice of the situation were overwhelming,but I could also feel giddy and fuzzy and the butterflies were dancing paso doble in my stomach!
-The line seperating abuser from victim was fine and blurry.There was plenty food for thought and Penelope Douglas painted vividly,without holding back,how cruel teenagers can be and how easy it is to cross the line and the war that rages inside you when you do.
-Just the perfect amount of drama.
-The sexual tension.

Enough said.
-The romance.Besides the hot and heavy make out sessions (and more) there was also love,the love between two kids that found in the other a safe haven,a lantern to guide them back to light.And even though Jared broke Tate's trust and heart,he could put them back together.

If you have any doubts about reading this book,just ignore them.You are going to love it.
Profile Image for Jessica ❥Chatterbooks Book Blog❥.
799 reviews2,836 followers
March 8, 2021
4.5 stars

Bully has been on my tbr for a long time. I decided to finally pick it up on a whim last night, and I'm so happy that I did! It was exactly what I needed! This is one of the best books I have read all year, and I think I'm falling in love with Penelope Douglas! 😍
Profile Image for mark monday.
1,678 reviews5,257 followers
Shelved as 'unread-forever'
March 28, 2015
so nice to see the topic of bullying being turned into a romance! that is definitely the way to deal with bullies. they just need hugs and kisses and your virginity! poor misunderstood bullies. Jared the manly wittle bully with daddy issues just needs to be wuved by someone. bullies just pick on you because they are secretly in love with you. why even bring up the idea that bullying can cause kids to kill themselves. that's not romantic, yuck!

in the words of one of our top reviewers:

"This may make me seem a little crazy- but I will just say it right now. I LOVE JARED. Okay, a lot of people loved Jared by the end of the book. Not me. I loved him the entire time I read this book. He was a jerk. An asshole. A bully. But there was just something about him that pulled me to him... I was rooting for him the whole book, so yay!"

self-esteem much?

gosh the author sure knows the right topic to choose to make some money. not a cynical choice at all! and I see that this is apparently the first book in a series. I wonder what the second book will be called. how about "Date Raper"? the wuveable misunderstood wapist just wants to wuv you!! as long as he's a hunk, who cares?

 photo judgingyou_zps7792c868.gif

Profile Image for Jen .
804 reviews586 followers
September 16, 2013
”You were my tempest, my thunder cloud, my tree in the downpour. I loved all of those things, and I loved you. But now? You’re a fucking drought. I thought that all the assholes drove German cars, but it turns out that pricks in Mustangs can still leave scars.”

For 3 years Jared has been making Tate’s life a living hell. He taunts her at every turn, makes up nasty stories about her and threatens any guy that even tries to get close to her. The kicker? Tate and Jared were once the best of friends and Tate has no idea what she did to piss Jared off. Up until their senior year, Jared’s ruined any chance Tate has had at a normal high school existence and girlfriend is DONE!

I definitely enjoyed this book. The story’s told from Tate’s POV and we really get to see how much Jared’s bullying has messed with her life. Academically she excels but socially she’s completely unsure of herself. The wonderful thing is that she’s in no way unsure of herself as a person and she knows exactly what she’s worth. To see her finally stand up and start taking charge was absolutely awesome!

Don’t touch me and don’t talk to me.” I hovered over him, sneering. Madoc’s eyes were closed as he breathed hard. “Did you really think I would go out with you? I hear the girls talk, and contrary to popular belief, good things do not come in small packages.”

There’s nothing more entertaining than seeing a formally abused girl turn the tables and knee a jackass, in this case Jared’s best friend, in the balls. I could read that shit for days! While Tate had me from the beginning, it took me a long time to warm up to Jared. At about the fifty percent mark we start to see chinks in the armor he’s erected around himself and he finally starts to actually show signs that there might be a decent human being lurking under all of that animosity. It’s obvious from the beginning he harbors some deep feelings for Tate and when he finally, after much coaxing, lets Tate in it’s a beautiful thing.

As much as I loved this book, I still had some issues. This poor girl was bullied for years by a popular boy and everyone just fell in line with it, no questions asked. She’s beautiful and smart and at some point I would hope a few brave souls, excluding her one best friend, would question why she was being turned into a social pariah. At times she was physically grabbed by Jared’s cronies and no one seemed to give a shit. And no one seemed to question Jared's relentless pursuit in making her life a living hell. I also didn’t fully buy Jared’s reasoning for the bullying. If he truly loved her to the extent he said he did, he would never have made her as miserable as he did and then be SURPRISED about the fact she didn't trust him. Although I loved reading this from Tate's POV, a chapter or two from Jared's perspective might've helped me understand his character and his hurtful actions more.

Bottom line, this is a really fantastic book. I’m already looking forward to Madoc’s tale and considering he was asshole number 2 in this story, I think that says something about the great writing that went into creating this book.
Profile Image for ✰♊ Angie ♊✰.
327 reviews148 followers
August 16, 2017
Holy shite... I L.O.V.E.D. it!!!
I mean, I loved it hard.
I could not put it down.

*the GIF above is representative of my excitement for this 5 star read upon my completion of it at 3am.

Who's a sucker for complete alphaholes?


Jared is a complete and total alphahole. And, boy, did I lurve the big jerk.


I can take it. Judge away! I'll just be sitting here blissfully reliving all the yummy feels this book gave me.

Profile Image for Mo.
1,363 reviews2 followers
August 4, 2016
This is how bullies are made

This one was all over my feeds a few months ago but I think I had been burned by jumping in and reading a FIVE star book that turned out to be only OK for me. So I decided to wait a while before starting this one. Was it good? Yes, it was. I am now 48 = when I started it I sort of said, Maura, do you really want to be reading books about kids who are younger than your son and THIRTY YEARS younger than you??? Not really, but went for it.

This is how bullies are made

“You were my tempest, my thunder cloud, my tree in the downpour. I loved all those things, and I loved you. But now? …..

This is how bullies are made

Really liked Tate. She was strong, had been through a lot in her life. Jared, yep, liked him too and knew there must have been something that turned him into what he was.

This is how bullies are made


This is how bullies are made

“Because you were there. Because I couldn’t hurt who I wanted to hurt so I hurt you.”

This is how bullies are made

This is how bullies are made

I had to suspend the disbelief a bit for this book as I really don’t think Jared would have turned so drastically if he really, deep down, liked Tate. Think that is why it missed the five star rating for me. Still and all a very enjoyable read.

This is how bullies are made

I hear the next one is from his POV = not sure if I can venture there as I was badly burned by Walking Disaster which was from an alternative POV…. but I have been told that it is nothing like that.

This is how bullies are made

Profile Image for Lo Bookfrantic.
773 reviews574 followers
June 30, 2017


Genre: YA-Contemporary Romance 
Type: Standalone Book 1 of Fall Away Series
POV: First Person – Female

teaser 2 6-28-17

“You were my tempest, my thunder cloud, my tree in the downpour. I loved all those things, and I loved you. But now? You’re a fucking drought. I thought that all the assholes drove German cars, but it turns out that pricks in Mustangs can still leave scars.”

Tatum "Tate" Brandt has been bullied by one person in particular her entire high school years.  She was easily intimidated by him aka Jared.  Jared was once her best friend until he wasn't; and she couldn't understand why in the world he would be so mean to her.

"Thanks to Jared, my high school experience had been one long succession of rumors, pranks, tears, and disappointments."

Jared Trent was the popular boy in high school.  Everyone wanted to be him or be with him.  The girls melted over him.  Jared had bad boy written all over him.  He loved to race cars and was a complete mystery to me.  Something dramatic happened to him when he was fourteen years old and I am a sucker for damaged boys I desperately wanted to know more.

"Jared indulged in my misery like it was candy. He had fed me to the wolves time and again, reveling in the unhappiness he caused. Jared, my friend, was completely gone, leaving a cold monster in his place."

  I have wanted to read this book for such a very long time.  I don't know why I waited so long because this story was so good.  From the very first page the book grabbed my attention and I just wanted to know how this would end.  At first I will be honest I had mixed feelings for Jared.  He made me frustrated and I usually like assholes but he was up high up on a new level of assholes but I still found myself desperate for answers to know why he was such an ass.

"His eyes were like the cover of a book- giving you hints but not the whole story. And I wanted to know the story."

The tension buildup between Tate and Jared was intense I loved every second of it. It totally may me melt for him more haha.  I had mixed feeling about Tate as well. Like the insecure shy part of her drove me mad until she finally decided to stand up for herself; I like that personality much better. I felt like the anger and the heat buildup created for an excellent sexy read and made a much intense relationship.

teaser 1 6-28-17

"His mouth crashed down on mine, drowning out my protest. His lips devoured me, hard and fast, like I was being eaten alive."

Overall, I enjoyed this story a lot.  The chemistry, the tension, the drama, everything was exciting and the author did a wonderful job creating a unique story that I won't be forgetting anytime soon. I feel that readers who enjoy broken heroes, young adult drama and second chances will truly like this story.

 “Yesterday lasts forever. Tomorrow comes never. Until you” 

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