Jan 2, 2015

Review: Bully by Penelope Douglas

Title: Bully
Author: Penelope Douglas
Publisher: NAL
Publication Date: 2.18.2014
Pages: 333
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Series: Fall Away #1
Source: Purchased ebook

Rating: 4 Stars

Summary (from Goodreads):
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 book never should have worked, was the thought running through my mind when I finished. Because it shouldn’t have, but it did. I don’t know if it was Penelope Douglas and the fact that her writing grabbed me in a chokehold from the first page and refused to let go or maybe I just really needed something to enjoy (a guilty pleasure, if you will), but I had almost no expectations going into this book and was continually blown away with how much I enjoyed it.

A romance born of someone bullying another? It sounded like high school Stockholm syndrome. Who falls for the person tormenting them? But maybe because Tate and Jared had history that wasn’t angry and violent, but sweet and loving.

I loved Tate in this book. Yes, at first she let Jared (and his bestie Madoc) beat her down in the metaphorical, non-physical sense repeatedly. She took it and took it, but then when she returns from a year overseas, she decides enough is enough and starts standing up for herself. And it is AWESOME. From broken noses to groin kicks to snark, this girl starts giving as good as she gets. But my favorite part? Whenever Tate does something, she checks herself by asking if she’s crossed a line and become a bully herself. I loved that about her. And the fact that when she feels she’s gone too far she apologizes, even to her own bullies, shows serious maturity.

As for Jared. Well, I get his motivations. Kind of. He has some serious issues and while I get there’s reasons driving him, sometimes they seemed a little too easily explained away, but I found myself letting it slide because this book just worked for me. Again: GULTY. PLEASURE.

The only person who I wasn’t feeling, even by the end of the book was K.C. She didn’t act like much of a friend to Tate, let alone a best friend, but she’s supposed to get her own story soon, so we’ll see how she fares in book 2, RIVAL.

This is a fun and fast read, especially if you love new adult books along the vein of Abbi Glines and M. Leighton. I definitely recommend it.


  1. This sounds really different! She falls for her bully? I have to see how this happens! I have read falling for the stalker stories, so I'm totally into these unlikely romances!

  2. Hmm, this does sound like a guilty pleasure read- which might be just what I need! The cover is kind of provocative, with the sexy image and the word Bully on it, so I might have to read it just for that!

  3. Right? I don't understand how someome can fall in love with a bully. I haven't read it, but yours is not the first favorable review that I've seen. I guess I should find out for myself :)


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