Bully (Fall Away #1), by Penelope Douglas ✰✰✰✰✰


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.

My Casting

This is how bullies are made.

Squeeeeeee!!! Freakin’ awesome!

I absolutely love love loved this book. This is the definition of a hate-to-love story and it totally rocked. I could not put it down.

I was really craving a book that would make me stop everything I was supposed to be doing and devour every word… and that’s exactly what Bully did!

I’d heard the hype about this book and seen lots of my book buddies giving it great reviews and five stars, so I knew I had to give a shot asap. And I’m so pleased I did.

As much as I adore NA and adult romance, there is something warm and fuzzy about a great YA romance. The encounters at school, the peer politics, the dances, the bonfires, the sports meets… so much opportunity for drama. And then of course, there’s the first love, the virginal heroine, the first kisses, first touches, etc. I absolutely love it.

“I want to touch you.” His words were against my lips now. “I want to feel what’s mine. What’s always been mine.”


Bully has all of that. This is the archetypal ‘bad boy/good girl’ story, mixed with the ‘childhood friend’ and the ‘enemies to lovers’ story. You get all that, wrapped into one delicious, heart racing package.

“Tate, you’re mine, and I’m yours. Every day you’re
going to realize that more and more. When you believe it without a doubt, then I’ll have earned your trust.”

The characters in this book are of YA age, and still at school, but it is pretty steamy for a YA. Just a warning.

So, the story introduces us to Tatum (Tate) who has lived next door to Jared for eight years. As children, they were inseperable, best friends. But then one summer, everything changed and Jared started hating on Tate.

“You were the person that turned things right again. With you, I became courageous and free. It was like the part of me that died with my mom came back when I met you, and I didn’t hurt if I knew I had you. Then one day, out of the blue, I lost you, too. The hurt returned, and I felt sick when I saw you hating me. My rainstorm was gone, and you became cruel. There was no explanation. You were just gone. And my heart was ripped open. I missed you.”

She became the victim of his relentless bullying campaign and he made it his mission to make her life hell.
Tate leaves her home to live in France for a year and when she comes back, the story really begins.

“Isn’t it about time you fought back?”

I luuurved Tate when she began to stand up to Jared. Her ball busting, no shit attitude and her quick wit really made me want to punch the air on multiple occasions!

“I thought that all the assholes drove German cars, but it turns out that pricks in Mustangs can still leave scars.”


K.C., however, I wanted to throttle! K.C. is Tate’s best friend and she irritated the shit out of me! She was weak and fickle and just generally a bit of a twat. Who needs enemies. Tate was incredibly forgiving where I would certainly have pulled her hair out by the roots!

Jared. Hmmm… where to start. He’s a complex character. He’s soooo mean throughout the first half of the book. I wanted to hate him and I certainly did feel the compulsion to slap him. A lot. But I just couldn’t not love him. He’s hot, nasty and clearly completely broken.

“I’m sorry,” he whispered. “I know I can make this up to you. Don’t hate me.”

And don’t worry ladies, he does completely redeem himself. You will be totally in love with Jared ‘Bully’ Trent by the end of this book.


I loved the idea, through this book, that being bullied creates bullies. Ok, maybe that’s the wrong word, I don’t love that, but it was incredibly thought provoking. Throughout the book, sweet, friendly, kind hearted Tate was becoming more and more bitter and spiteful as she lashed out against those who were wronging her. She was becoming the bully. Intentionally causing pain to others. It’s a strong message that all bullies are just human beings and something along their journey has made them the way they are. The idea that this knock on effect from the catalyst of one person’s pain, can cause a downward spiral of heartache and hatred in others. Where does that end? It’s no excuse and certainly, bullying cannot be condoned in any capacity, but it’s an eye opening thought.

The sexual tension in this book just absolutely rolled off of the pages. One minute he’s spreading rumours about her, then he’s kissing her, then he’s telling her he doesn’t care if she’s dead or alive, then he’s all over her like a rash. Whiplash, much?! This is a perfect example of the silly boy, who fancies the girl, pulling her pigtails in the playground. Magnified by one hundred!


Three times I honestly thought I might spontaneously combust… all I’ll say is, kitchen, race night and science lab. Pheeewwww! And that’s before they even get their shit together.

“If I ever lay my hands on you,” he said low and husky, “You’ll want it.”

So, clearly, I really loved this book. Duh. Lol. I implore you all to go out and add to your TBR lists, if you haven’t already, buy it, download it, whatever… and read it! It’s absolutely great and I’m soooo looking forward to book #2, which I believe is Jared’s best friend, Madoc’s story!


Bully Statistics
Steam Rating (out of 5): ♥♥♥♥
Ending: HEA
Series: ✓ (Fall Away series)
Reading Order:
Book #1 – Bully
Book #2 – Rival (Not yet released)
Can this be read as a standalone? Yes
Childhood sweetheart
Second chance
First love
Warning. This book includes… 
Sexual content
Abuse – verbal & physical
Writing: Great

Find this book on Goodreads


Purchase this book on Amazon.

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This entry was posted in Angst Overload, Bad Boys, Bully, College Romance, Delicious Sexual Tension, Five Stars, Friends to Lovers, Penelope Douglas, Series, Stand -Alone, Steamy Reads, Virginal Heroine, Young Adult Reads. Bookmark the permalink.

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