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.
First of all, I would like to make clear that this book is well written regardless of my feelings, from this perspective, it is definitely worth reading. Now that this is cleared let’s continue.
Second of all, let’s pretend that I did not read the next book (or the rest of the series, well I still have a few pages left from the last book…anyway). This is important to remember when continuing to read this review. The second books is from Jared POV and it recounts the same events (with some new content added), but here I will refer strictly to this book, while trying not to think of the events in the others. So for now, until I post the next reviews, let’s pretend this is the only book in the series.
Bully is a book I refused to read for a long time, mainly due to its title. So why now? Well, I realised I have not reviewed nor read a book in a very long time which is unacceptable if I wish to continue being a book blogger (This does not mean I have not spent every night reading! I did, but not books), but also because I deleted most of the books on my iPad and this was something I could not part with. The title is important, but not the most important feature of a book so I tried to focus on the content.
Bullying is something I very much against as I know what are the consequences and what it can do to a person and to their self esteem. Bullying is something that affects even the strongest of individuals, it is a weapon of destruction and at the end of the day, no matter the circumstances, it is unforgivable and unforgettable. “What does not kill you, makes you stronger” Sure, I agree with this, but why should someone be the victim of such cruelty just so they can become better and stronger as human beings? The few benefits, if they can even be called that, a person might gain are nothing in comparison to what they lose and what they lose is something they might never recover, not fully in any case. After reading this hopefully you are able to understand where I am coming from and my reasons for avoiding this book, especially considering the most probable ending. Indeed, the book is a HEA.
Tate seems like a great person; smart, ambitious. She is everything a teenage girl could ever hope of becoming, on top of that she is also beautiful and has her life planned. Tate knows exactly what she wants to achieve and she works hard to fulfil her dreams of helping others. No one should ever be a victim of bullying, no one, not ever! Tate become a victim and for no reason whatsoever, but that is usually the case. Bullying hurts no matter what, but when it is your best friend, the person you trusted the most in this world to be by your side and to protect you who is harming you, it hurts even worse. Jared was Tatum’s best friend as a child, the person she confided in, the person she trusted, the person she least expected to betray her. During their friendship they reached a certain level of intimacy, there was also the trust, the admiration, the loyalty and the love they felt for one another. All that was destroyed with Jared’s first act of bullying.
In this book Jared is presented only from Tate’s point of view and later on we learn a bit more about him from their conversations, but nothing can excuse his actions. By the time we learnt what he went through it was too late. Yes, of course, you feel sorry for him, as no child should ever go through what he went through, but that does not mean he had the right to take it out on others. Getting to know Jared better and understanding his connection to Tate helped me see him in a different light and made me want to understand the reasons why, it made him more humane, so slowly I learnt to forgive, to let go, but forgetting is difficult. Jared robbed Tate of the opportunity to enjoy her last few years at home with her dad, her opportunity to make new friends, he made her become someone else and most of all he robbed them the opportunity to love each other.
Tate changed in order to survive, it is a textbook survival mechanism. That is why in her case, it is a lot easier to forgive some of the things she did. I emphasise the word “some”. In a way she had a choice not to become a bully herself, but it is impossible to predict how a person will react when they become a victim. It comes a time when they can no longer take it, when they span. Everyone has a limit and if you keep pushing it… Like I mentioned earlier, despite being strong and having a goal in life and focusing on that, she was affected, Jared’s actions did have consequences which we will see again in later books.
Overall, I do not regret reading the book and I hope you won’t either. Penelope Douglas is a great author and her writing style is captivating. She is the only one who managed to convince me to continue reading, through her words, this book despite it being something I did not feel comfortable reading in the beginning.