30 October 2013

Review: Bully by Penelope Douglas

What they say: 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.

What I say: I'm in two minds about Bully and it took me a while to actually write up my review because I couldn't figure out if I loved or hated it. Tate and Jared are enemies who live next door to each other. They were childhood best friends until Jared returned from visiting his estranged father when he was 14 and started bullying Tate. Tate has now returned to America for her senior year of high school after spending a year abroad in France. After putting up with years of Jared's abuse and bullying, Tate is no longer prepared to sit by and take it.
The problems I had with the book were mainly based around Jared's actions towards Tate. He is absolutely vile to her, making her pretty much a leper at school. I felt Tate was extremely forgiving, far more so than I could ever hope to be. Tate finds an inner strength but she is willing to forgive some pretty nasty actions and words. The things Jared has done to her were bad BUT the things he said to her were far worse.
My other problem is Jared himself. I didn't think his reasons for being a bully in any way justified his actions. For most of the book I desperately wanted to know why he was like that, but when I discovered more about his history I still couldn't forgive him completely. I think a lot of it was because he continuously tortured the one person who meant more to him than anything because it was his coping technique. I think the length of time he carried on his harsh behaviour was what actually annoyed me. I could understand his initial hurt reaction and his lashing out but to carry it on for years seemed extreme.
The things I didn't like about Bully were in a perverse way also the things I really liked! Jared's darkness was intriguing and I enjoyed reading more about their childhood. Although I would have liked Tate to stand up for herself earlier and to hold more of a grudge, that just wasn't her and I supported this about her personality.

4 infuriating Stars in my Sky!

My fav non-spoilery quotes:
  • "This is how bullies are made I thought, but it still felt good to lash out, and I didn't want to stop."
  • "I wasn't protecting you," Jared said matter-of-factly, pinning me with a heated stare. "I was jealous."
  • "Hey, Tate. I'll do a threesome with you. My compass always points North."
  • I saw Sam peeking in, looking comically like Dobby cowering behind Lucius Malfoy.

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