Friday, July 4, 2014

REVIEW - BULLY (Fall Away #1) by Penelope Douglas:

TITLE: Bully
SERIES: Fall Away
AUTHOR: Penelope Douglas
GENRE: Romance, Sociology Abuse
RELEASE DATE: Feburary 18, 2014
PUBLISHER: Penguin Group
PAGES: Approx. 333

RATING: 4.5 Stars!

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.***

4.5 On Edge, Anxious Stars!
Gripping, Addictive, Intense... Overwhelmed! I Could. Not. Put This One Down! 

The Review: 
Though I have very mixed feelings about this book, I completely loved it. First off, let me say, it was well written and I loved the story and what it stood for and since I was completely immersed in it, reading it all in one night, I can conclude that it was one of those books you love to hate. The characters, mainly the hero Jared, will make you both love them and hate them. This book was painful to read. I found myself gritting my teeth, balling my fists and silently shouting expletives in my head, sometimes aloud. Angsty doesn’t even start to cover how to describe this book.

Tate has been ridiculed, embarrassed and bullied for the past couple of years. Jared, the source of all her torment is her once, childhood best friend, the boy she loved and the one person she should have been able to trust above all others. But after returning home from a summer visit with his father when he was fourteen, Jared turned from the protective, caring and kind boy he once was to an aggressive mean boy. Deciding to get away from all the pranks and bullying, Tate travels abroad for school and vacation for a year. But she’s back now, in the town that caused her so much grief and hurt, hoping that her time away will have changed things and made them better. 

But after just one confrontation with her past, she realizes escaping isn’t as easy as she’d hoped, even if she has decided to find her inner bad girl.

Jared is gorgeous, he’s popular, he’s feared, he’s respected, he’s got girls hanging all over him... and he has secrets. Deep, dark, horrifying secrets and with a hate raging as strong in him as the one he carries, an outlet is fundamental and Tate has become the object in which he releases all that anger, hurt and pain. 

Quote Spotlight...
“It never mattered to you before,” I pointed out...
“What? You sitting in a tree during a storm?”
“No, me getting hurt.”
“Tatum?” His voice sounded soft and gentle, and I instantly felt warm all over. But then he spoke again. “I wouldn’t care if you were alive or dead.”

Characters and Thoughts...
I liked Tate a lot. When we first meet her, she’s scared and shies away from social situations all because she’s been bullied for the last three years. Jared came back from a summer visit with his dad a changed boy and started treating Tate like public enemy number one. He’s never given her a reason but Tate’s always wondered why he went from the best friend she ever had to her worst enemy. He goes to great pains to make sure Tate suffers, doing horrible things to her in the form of rumors, teasing, pranks and verbal beat downs. He pulls his friends into the bullying and this makes Tate constantly look over her shoulder, wondering where and what form the next embarrassing trap will come from.

My stomach was in knots the entirety of this book. Watching all these things play out, all the sneering glares, quiet whispering and right out snickering was written so well I felt like I was walking in Tate’s shoes, living through her torment right along side her. I felt so bad for her and I really, REALLY disliked Jared and his partner in crime, Madoc. I even grew to dislike Tate’s only BFF, KC, because with a few sweet words and a bit of hero play from Jared, KC turns from Tate’s confidante to accusing her of being the problem. And then there was the kids in that town. I wanted to strangle EVERYONE with the exception of Tate!

But then secrets are revealed and things start to change for Tate and Jared. However, after everything, I’m not sure I could ever trust a person who did those things to me, even after knowing his reasoning. This is where my conflict comes in. I wanted Tate to be able to move past all that pain and find a way to let it go but trusting Jared would have been hard for me, if I were her. 

As for Jared, I really loved to hate him most of the book. You could tell the things he was doing were for a revenge of some kind. Through the incredible writing, you could also tell he was conflicted even as he carried out these awful plans. And even when we find out his secrets it took until the end of the book for me to like him... and truthfully, I’m not sure like is the correct word. Probably acceptance is more like it. Yes, he was gorgeous and a completely hot bad boy but I felt he needed to atone more and truly feel the guilt of what he’d done. I both loved and hated him!

NOTE: The next book in the series, Until You (Fall Away 1.5) is in Jared’s POV so I’m hoping to get all those goodies and “feels” from his side of the story! Yay. I’m excited for that one.

I can’t conclude this review without taking the time to acknowledge how this author does a wonderful job of showing what bullying can do to a person. How the daily hurt and conflict and fear can turn you into a person you don’t recognize in the mirror. Tate found herself doing and saying things she normally wouldn’t have done. She found an aggression inside her she didn’t like but found necessary unless she wanted to continue to cower and be stomped all over. I do love how for the most part, she was able to hold on to her true self. But it did change her and how she viewed people, the world and the way she fit in it. 

Quote Spotlight...
“Well, I was kind of worried about my anger issues, but now I’m kind of worried about yours....”
“It’s your fault, you know?”
“What?” Jared asked....
“You made me mean....”

The Wrap Up: 
This is one of those books that will make you think.. and think.. and think some more because you are so conflicted about how to feel. I loved the book. I loved the story. I really didn’t love some of the characters and their actions. But I wasn’t supposed to. I was supposed to be conflicted. This is not your traditional love story. Tate is either really stupid or an incredibly forgiving and wonderfully kind person. She’s strong, that’s for sure because I’m not so sure I would have been strong enough to let it all go. But I’m glad she did because when these two finally come together, they are sexy as hell and the story turns from sour to sweet. Now, on to the next book!

More Favorite Quotes...
”I want to touch you.” His words were against my lips now. “I want to feel what’s mine. What’s always been mine.”

“... I want to make sure I never lose your trust again. I want to be one of your lifelines, Tate. I want you to need me...”

Buy the Book!

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