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.
And Tate has no idea who this cold stranger is who took the place of her best friend.
After years and years of high school torture, made even more torturous by Jared and his friend Madoc, Tate decided to spend her junior year in France... far, far away from the harsh antics of her used-to-be best friend.
That is, until Tate comes back for her Senior Year when things started heating up, because finally... Tate's not letting these bullies get under her skin anymore. No, sirree. Watch out, Shelburne Falls, Tate is fighting back.
In Penelope Douglas' BULLY, we get a glimpse of what it's like for Tatum Brandt to be the center of attention. Not the popular cheerleader kind of attention, but the harsh bullied kind. We can see how she struggled to get through each day at school in the midst of all the alienation and the ridicule she experiences. All because of someone she used to consider as her friend, even a best friend. I guess the saddest part of it all is not the bullying, per se, but the betrayal that Tate feels. She has no idea how she managed to piss off Jared, how their tight friendship dissolved into hate and derision. He won't talk to her. He won't even acknowledge her, well, unless he has something awful in mind, of course. As much as Tate wants to go back to their old friendship, she doesn't know where to begin fixing the colossal clusterfuck that is Jared Trent.
I like Tatum as a character. Yes, she has her own insecurities (especially when it involves Jared), but she's FEISTY! What's not to love about that? I love how she didn't let the bullying break her spirit and instead drove her to fight back. She's an admirable character. And then, we see her recognize what she's becoming into:
This is how bullies are made, I thought...
Jared Trent. Ah, the quintessential tortured bad boy. Well, he's not really portrayed as much of a bad boy unless it's anything about Tate. But that makes him a bad boy in my eyes. He is insanely mean to Tate and I can't help but feel sorry for Tate through all the things that Jared out her through. I mean, those rumors were bad enough, but public humiliation? *shakes head*
It intrigued me how Jared turned into such a bully. What happened to him that summer? That was the question running through my mind for most of the book. And, boy, the big mystery reveal? It all makes sense. Jared's demons aren't over or underplayed. It provided the right amount of drama to make the story interesting and to justify how and why he came to be the Jared we meet at the start of the book.
The sexual tension between Jared and Tate? That was so delicious to read! OMG! I could feel that they WANT each other. It's so undeniably there! This made me all the more curious as to what happened to Jared to fuck up what could've been a cutesy best-friends-turned-boyfriend/girlfriend thing between him and Tate. But then again, their coming together wouldn't be as sweet. (whoops!)
I am in love with the characters, and I am in love with the book itself! It's witty. It's funny. It's sad. It's infuriating. It's... a while plethora of emotions rolled into one. There are times when I could feel my heart breaking for Tate and then something would be so downright hilarious that I had to actually laugh out loud (Yeah, got a few weird looks from mom with that one). It's a vivid description of an issue that is so relatable to many kids across the world. Masterfully written. The story flows page after page and next thing you know, you're though with the whole book. The way Ms. Douglas handled the resolution of the conflict between Tate and Jared was tasteful and not overdone.
All in all, Bully is a wonderful book! You should read it! :D