Hi! I'm the author of The Summer I Said Yes and Love Me in Shadows. I made this blog to talk about my favorite books. Thanks for stopping by :)
This is a book that has gotten a lot of attention recently. As in, even my mother knows about this book and she doesn’t even read romance novels. Though it was recommended to me by a few different people, I resisted buying it for a long time because I just honestly didn’t know if I wanted to read about a bully.
The bully in Penelope Douglas’ debut novel isn’t the Twilight type of bully who flares his nostrils and looks kinda scary when he encounters the heroine. He’s mean. Really mean. Since I read a lot of reviews before buying the book, I thought I knew what to expect, but damn, Jared was just such an asshole.
I’ve read a lot of books where the heroes are assholes. Some of my favorite books, in fact, feature bad boys. Jared isn’t physically abusive, but as her former childhood friend, he knows exactly what to say or do to get under Tate’s skin, and does everything he can to isolate her from her peers. Douglas does an amazing job of showcasing the fears and uncertainty teenage girls go through as they learn to be strong and go after what they want. And that’s exactly what makes the first part of the novel so difficult—seeing Tate’s youth and vulnerability.
After a trip to France, Tate comes back a new person ready to face her biggest fear: her bully. This is where the book really takes off. You begin the novel cheering for Tate, and it’s incredibly satisfying to see her grow, take charge, and stand up for herself. Let’s just say I really loved Tate. But as I read the novel, I feared that I would never love Jared.
Well, thankfully, Ms Douglas redeemed him. As Tate begins to gain her confidence, Jared slowly begins to lose his. As Tate gets stronger, Jared becomes more vulnerable. And when Jared realizes that he can’t break Tate anymore, he begins to break. This transformation isn’t easy. It’s messy. There’s a lot of back-and-forth, and Jared’s behavior gets crueler as he tries to break Tate’s strength so he doesn’t have to face his own weaknesses, but when he finally does, he becomes the hero Tate knew as a young girl.
I love these kinds of transformations, but they’re easy to mess up and it takes a very skilled author to pull them off. I’m so thrilled Penelope Douglas did. Bully is a dark, complicated and beautiful story that sticks with you long after you finish it. It deserves 5 out of 5 stars, and my recommendation :)