Bully (Fall Away #1) and Until You (Fall Away #1.5) by Penelope Douglas
Release Dates: Summer & Fall 2013
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.
Have you ever been so angry that hitting things felt good? Or so numb that you actually felt high? The past few years have been like that for me. Traveling between fury and indifference with no stops in between.
Some people hate me for it, while others are scared of me. But none of them can hurt me, because I don’t care about anything or anyone.
I love her so much that I hate her. We used to be friends, but I found out that I couldn’t trust her or anyone else.
So I hurt her. I pushed her away.
But I still need her. The sight of her centers me, and I can pool all of my anger into her. Engaging her, challenging her, bullying her…they are my food, my air, and the last part of me that feels anything human.
But she left. She went to France for a year, and came back a different girl.
Now, when I push, she pushes back.
I decided to review Bully and Until You together because they are basically the same story, just told from different POVs. Bully is told through Tate’s eyes, while Until You gives us Jared’s. There’s a lot of repetition between books (for obvious reasons), but there’s also details we missed out on.
Bully was soul crushing. Tate is back from a year abroad and the bullying her former best friend Jared dishes out towards her is getting worse. Before she left, Tate decided enough was enough and started standing up for herself. This fuels Jared’s desire to make her cry. It’s obvious how much Jared despises her, but like Tate, we’re left in the dark about why for quite some time. When the reason is revealed, I did not think Jared was at all justified, but you can’t help but feel for him. Eventually he starts worming his way into Tate’s heart (and mine), and proves he’s dedicated to righting his wrongs.
After reading Bully, I felt some compassion for Jared. While I’ll never believe bullying is ok, I was willing to give Jared a second chance like Tate. He came off as remorseful and his birthday gift was definitely a winning move. I truly believed he was redeemed.
When I saw Until You was in Jared’s POV, I wanted to gobble it up to see if I could like Jared a bit more, but my Lord was I disappointed. By the time I finished reading Until You, I hated Jared. Maybe we didn’t need the insight into his mind. He was fueled by such irrational hatred, it was ridiculous. I understand that it showcases how real bullying can come to be, but in a fictional ‘romance’, it just killed any positive feelings towards Jared. The only real positive I felt towards the book was seeing that Tate’s best friend wasn’t the unfeeling brat she came off as in Bully.
I do feel Ms. Douglas does know how to weave a strong story, her writing is hypnotizing. She was able to pull strong emotions out of me (and many readers). I am planning on reading the next book, Rival, when it comes Aug. 26. I enjoyed Madoc’s antics to get Jared to pull his head out of his butt when it came to Tate, so I’m hoping his book will be more enjoyable.