Thursday, July 25, 2013

Review and Giveaway: Bully by Penelope Douglas

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.

4.5 Star Review

“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…But that kid was long gone now.”

Jared and Tate were young best friends, until the one summer before freshman year when he went to stay at his dad’s place and came back a different person.  Now he is cruel and intimidating to Tate, and only to Tate. 

“I’d wracked my brain a thousand times trying to figure it out.  He was cold to most people, but he was downright cruel to me.  Why me?”

 Tate has spent the last couple of years hiding from him, even going so far as to hide from him by spending her junior year of high school in France.  She has endured pranks and rumors from Jared that have forced her to be on guard all the time in school and to keep herself hidden.  Not only is it Jared that intimidates her, but also Jared’s best friend Madoc has been coerced into making Tate’s high school days a living hell.

“I’d be going home in tears again.  No doubt.”

Tate has now returned from her year abroad and unfortunately Jared hasn’t eased up on his cruelty. Tate’s best friend convinces Tate that she needs to start fighting back and not let Jared get the upperhand every time.   Tate isn’t letting Jared get the best of her for the duration of their senior year.  She is fighting back and performing acts that a stealth burglar would perform.  Jared is caught off guard by Tate’s daring performances.

“I underestimated you.  You haven’t cried yet, have you?...I promise you will be in tears by next week.”

A class assignment is where Tate is able to cut Jared to the core.  She uses it to her advantage to let him know how much he hurt her and how much she misses what they had. 

“Jared could push me, hurt me, take what he wanted, but showing him that he had hurt, but not broken me, was how I won.”

Jared and Tate seem to be on a whiplash tour of emotions – both of them causing the other to gain hope that their friendship can be saved.  But did Jared push it too far and is there any hope for their friendship to be saved following a viral incident?

“I told myself a hundred times today that he couldn’t be trusted.  He was a liar.  A bully.  But his words were getting to me.  He looked upset.  Either he was a really good actor, or…he was telling the truth.”

You will go on quite the ride with Tate and Jared.  This book deserves high praise for giving the reader an emotional journey throughout its course.  There is anticipation following every page turn and elation when you can savor in one of Tate’s small victories.  Both Jared and Tate have acts of anger embedded in them, but my particular favorite is Tate going ballistic on Jared’s car.  That in itself is worth the price of this book. 

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