Sunday, July 7, 2013

Spotlight on Penelope Douglas' Bully: Character Interview with Tate and Jared, review and giveaway

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.

Three Chicks Interview Tate and Jared

We loved reading your story and have so many questions about why (those are all directed at YOU Jared-why why why) and how! (those are for you Tate-as in how could you put up with him for so long??) We are thrilled to be able to talk with you and have some of our questions answered. 

Three Chicks: What are your plans for after high school? Tate-you wanted to go to Columbia for pre-med-are you going to separate colleges, how will you make things work for the two of you?

Tate: Well, I’ve been accepted to Columbia. Jared doesn’t have much interest in New York, but Madoc’s off to LSU and is trying to get Jared to apply there. I’ve got a feeling he’s got something up his sleeve though. He won’t tell me.

Jared: There’s nothing to tell you baby….not yet anyway.

Three Chicks: Jared, are you still racing at the Loop?

Jared: No, it’s winter, but when the snow melts I think I’m looking forward to seeing what Tate can do….until summer anyway. Roman and the rest of the college kids will be home and things are going to get interesting.

Tate: Excuse me?

Jared: What?

Tate: You don’t think it’d be challenging to race me?

Jared: Shit, don’t start with that again.

Three Chicks: Tate, does Jared ever let you race his car for fun?

Tate: The question is “Do I let him race mine?”

Three Chicks: Jared, why did you turn all your torment from the summer with your father on to Tate?

Jared: When I came back, I was the complete opposite of the boy that’d left. Tate knew me as happy and good. But the shit I’d seen…I could take the hurt. What I couldn’t take was seeing Jax locked in the basement for hours crying or the fear of never knowing when I was going to be slammed into a wall. I was miserable and scared. My parents weren’t there for me. And seeing Tate laughing and smiling, happy without me, while I was screaming for her, the only one that I thought loved me…I just cracked. Of course, she wasn’t missing me. She didn’t need me like I needed her. No one wanted me. So I pushed all of it down, swallowing the f*#king hurt until it turned into something stronger. I hurt her because, at the time, she’d hurt me. Didn’t you ever stop to think at some point how you were pushing the person who loved you away from you? Every time I dominated Tate, I had control. Exactly what I didn’t have with my parents. In a stupid kid’s head, I reasoned that she hadn’t loved me when I needed her to, but I could make her hurt. And I got high off that.  

Three Chicks: Tate, after you heard Jared’s explanation for why he changed towards you, how did forgive him so quickly. In spite of all the abuse that happened to him, he hurt and humiliated you for years?

Tate: I don’t think I wanted to hold onto the baggage anymore. I still didn’t trust him. We’re still working through that. But I always missed Jared, and when he finally started to let me in for the first time in three years, I knew it was real. I’ve known him a long time, and I knew what was buried underneath. I wanted it back.

Three Chicks: Jared, you have had your share of girls in high school, did you ever feel guilty that you slept around so much, but made sure that Tate had a hard time even getting a date? (it was kind of a dog in the manger attitude-you could have a lot of fun, but she couldn’t?)

Jared: Yeah, I was shitty. I know that. I know she should’ve had her own experiences without me getting in the way, but no one was good enough for her, least of all me. It wasn’t my call to make, but honestly, I didn’t really think about it as me having fun while she wasn’t. Every time I closed my eyes, it was Tate I saw. 

Three Chicks: Tate, you have been best friends with KC for years, but things were strained when she was hanging out with Jared. You seemed like you would live with it if you had to, for the sake of your friendship. Don’t you think KC was breaking the girl code by going out with Jared?  (Lisa says, “because we sure as hell think she did!")

Tate: Definitely! I wanted to drag her away by the hair when I saw her kissing him. But Jared couldn’t win. I wanted to survive him more than I wanted to deal with my friendship with K.C.  

Three Chicks: Jared, when you were forced to have a girl drive your car at the Loop, why did you pick Tate? You two were barely speaking at the time.

Jared: Tate knows cars. Couldn’t really say that about any other girl I knew. 

Three Chicks: Tate, you had to have realized how hard the sex tape would have been for your dad, what did you say to him about it?

Tate: I owned up to it. My dad doesn’t need frills and “I’m sorry” over and over again, and he doesn’t want tears. He knew that I knew that I’d messed up, and we weren’t going to dwell on what was already done. Jared and I faced him together and had to deal with the new rules.

Three Chicks: Jared, you seem to have a great relationship with Tate’s dad. How is that possible considering most dads wouldn’t be so accepting of you, considering your famous video appearance co-starring with his daughter in the tape?

Jared:  Yeah, well the relationship’s not so hot now. But James, Tate’s dad, is a no-nonsense kind of guy. F*#k up, own up, and then get up.   

Three Chicks: Jared, when your dog got out and Tate found you drunk, you said she “F*#ked you up” that day. Were you referring to her monologue in class that day?

Jared: Yeah, I had buried myself in a safe, dark cave and Tate started peeling away the rocks. She brought me back. And she still cared. That was obvious. In that classroom, I wanted nothing more than to have her back, but I didn’t deserve her friendship. For the first time in a long time, I wanted something I didn’t know how to get.  

Three Chicks: Jared, how far did she get into it before you realized she was talking about you and how did that affect you?

Jared: When she talked about riding her bike in the rain. We did that together.

Three Chicks: Tate: How is your relationship with Jared’s mom?

Tate: We talk, but there’s a wedge. Something I can’t get over. And I don’t really trust her. She’s not very forthcoming about who she sees exactly on the weekends. Jared’s never met the guy.

But as for our relationship, I try to be civil to her. For Jared. He loves her, even though he won’t admit it, and she loves him. I just think they’ve learned to not need each other and the connection is broken.  

Three Chicks: Jared, why did you spiral out of control when Tate left for a year to go to school in France?

Jared: As soon as she left, it’s like I was hungry but nothing satisfied me. Food tasted like shit, partying just made me numb, and I tried to drown myself in girl after girl. I tried everything I could to put her out of my mind. Hurting Tate was the only thing that kept me focused. When she left, I spun out, looking for a release.

Three Chicks: Jared: Did you ever think of contacting her?

Jared: And say what? I miss you. Come home?

Three Chicks: Jared: What if she had gotten involved with another guy over there?

Jared: I’d like to say I would’ve left her alone, or maybe talked to her like I do now, but I think we know that I wouldn’t have handled it well…but, I would’ve handled it. 

Three Chicks: Tate: Are Piper or Nate still a problem for either of you?

Tate: If they are, I’ll handle them. 

Three Chicks: Jared, do you think you have anger issues or is it only a problem when it involves people you really care about; when Nate attacked Tate or you found out what your brother’s foster parent had done?

Jared: Never really thought about it, but yeah, no one messes with Tate, Jax, or Madoc…except me.

Three Chicks: Jared, did you ever figure out which keys you were missing from when Tate threw them in the woods to get you to tell her what happened?

Jared: Yeah, the key to the school. I wasn’t really supposed to have that one anyway, though.

Three Chicks: Tate, you have had some violent outbursts yourself; breaking Madoc’s nose, punching Piper, beating up Jared’s car-what did that poor car ever do to you??

Tate: Haha, hurting the car did hurt Jared, even though he didn’t really deserve it—wait, yes he did!

Three Chicks: Tate, do you worry about your own temper?  

Tate: No. Other people should though.

Three Chicks Jared, what was going through your head when Tate went all Carrie Underwood on your baby?

Jared: Ummm…f*#k, f*#k, f*#k?

Three Chicks Jared: At one point you told Madoc that you didn’t care anymore if Tate dated anyone else. Did you mean that?

Jared: Partly. The pranks and rumors were stupid. We’d grown up, at least a little more. Besides, Tate’s gorgeous. Not many guys were going to care anymore if I said this or that.

Three Chicks: Jared, why did you start hanging out with KC?

Jared: Certainly not for her annoyingly peppy conversation.

Three Chicks: Jared and Tate, how important is Madoc to the two of you?

Jared: Madoc doesn’t pry, too much anyway. He never tried to “handle” me. If I wanted to party, he’d say “Your house or mine.” If I wanted to go pick a fight, he’d say “I’ll drive.” I don’t know if I need him, but I’m damn happy he’s around.

Tate: I don’t know much about Madoc. He’s Jared’s friend, and he’s definitely loyal.—to both of us. As long as he keeps his hands to himself, we can try to build a friendship.

Three Chicks: Do you think he will ever settle down with one girl?

Jared: The only girl I’ve ever seen Madoc enjoy the company of without sex is his stepsister, Fallon. But she went away a couple of years ago to boarding school. Madoc won’t be settling down anytime in the foreseeable future. It’s just not him. 

Three Chicks: Jared, now that you aren’t forced to visit your father anymore, do you? What did the two of you talk about when you did visit him?

Jared: I can’t talk about him.

Three Chicks: Jared, you were so loving and patient for Tate's first time. (Jen sighs)  How special did that make you feel, knowing that you were her first, considering you couldn't exactly say the same? (Jen rolls her eyes)

Jared: Everything I did was acting out. Kind of like revenge. I’m not going to say my behavior doesn’t matter, because it matters to Tate. But I’m really glad that I don’t have to think about another guy touching what was mine. As for me, like I said, I don’t even remember their faces. It was always Tate. 

Three Chicks: Tate, do you ever worry that Jared will shut you out again or want to go back to being a player?

Tate: He still not entirely forthcoming. I want to know more about that summer, but he doesn’t want to go back there. And no, Jared’s fidelity is one thing I definitely don’t question.

Three Chicks: Jared, do you worry since Tate never had the chance to date a lot in high school that at some point she will want to go out with other guys?

Jared: Not as long as I can keep her happy. 

Three Chicks: The necklace that Tate made for her mom-what does it mean to each of you?

Tate: Honestly, I hadn’t thought about that necklace in a long time. I was sad that year, because everyone was making crafts for their moms and I had no one. Jared told me to make one anyway. That necklace represented a way for me to get my mom back in my life even though she was gone. I could still love her. Still do things for her. Still make her proud.

Jared: Not sure. I know it’s more about holding onto a part of Tate. Maybe it was control. Maybe it was love. I can’t say…

Three Chicks: Jared, when did you start using it as a good luck charm and why? (Kristie says, “that was such a sweet thing!”)

Jared: I don’t remember. Been a while. But I know I needed to have it with me. Looking at it, I remembered a time when Tate loved me. A time when I liked myself.   

Three Chicks: Where do you think the two of you will be in 5 years and what do you hope your future will be like?  

Tate: Hopefully together. Life throws you drama. It always does, but we’re two halves of the same shell. I don’t think we’ll fit with anyone else the way we do together.
Three Chicks: Thanks for answering our questions, we're looking forward to reading more about Tate, Jared and Madoc (maybe not so much about Piper and Nate and the jury's still out on KC -LOL) from Penelope Douglas later in 2013!  

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. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Love the sound of this - will be adding it to my tbr pile ;)


  2. You will love it-move it up the list!

  3. This book was amazing! I can't wait to read more from this author. I'd love to read more of Jared and Tates story.


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