“You were my tempest, my thunder cloud, my tree in the downpour. I loved all those things, and I loved you.”
Hi, my name’s Melanie and all I want to read this summer is New Adult Romances. This is my third Penelope Douglas book and, again, I’m so impressed. I loved Bully and it might be my favorite book of hers I’ve read so far.
Before I go any further, I just want to point out again for people who follow my reviews mostly for the Fantasy I read: I rate smutty books differently than other books! I know many of the relationships are toxic and problematic and I completely understand that they wouldn’t be the healthiest and/or most ideal of starts for people in real life, but I love steamy reads and I rate them purely off my enjoyment.
This all being said, trigger warnings for underage drinking and drug use, violence, descriptions of severe child abuse, and attempted rape. Also, I mean, this book is called Bully, and it is a book about a girl falling in love with her bully. There isn’t any major hazing or anything like that, but they both do some pretty mean things to one another. This is also a hate to love romance, but it’s kind of more like a love to hate to love romance, if that makes any sense, but no one writes hate to love as good as Penelope Douglas.
Our main protagonist, Tatum (one of my favorite female names of all time), leaves for France for a year to study abroad. She hasn’t had the easiest life since her mom passed away from cancer. She once had a best friend who helped heal the wounds from the loss of her mother, but one day that greatest ally became her greatest enemy.
Jared, Tatum’s now sworn enemy, lives next door to Tatum, and can’t stand the sight of any boy giving her any attention. When he’s not street racing, he’s making her life a living hell. This story surrounds them finishing their last year of high school, while they both try desperately to hide the feelings they have for one another and replace those feelings with hate.
The only reason I’m not giving this five stars is because I really disliked Tatum’s best friend’s actions. K.C. not only does something she knows will upset her best friend, but she lies about. Then, once she gets caught, she continues to do it. Like, what a terrible representation of friendship (or maybe an accurate representation of high school friendships, let’s be real). And then, to make matters worse, it is all just swept under the rug, forgotten, and everyone is over it. Like, no, you don’t do that to your friend. No matter how bad you’re hurting, you don’t make it better by hurting others.
The other thing is that there is a lot of slut shaming in this book. This is one of Penelope Douglas’ earlier books, and I haven’t noticed this in other things I’ve read by her, but there is a lot of judgement going on in this book when it comes to female promiscuity. Like, it doesn’t matter that these boys are all doing it, but they call out girls for sleeping with different guys a lot and it feels bad. Also, Tatum kind of borders on that “I’m not like other girls” line that is kind of gross, too.
But both of these things are minor enough that it didn’t ruin this book for me. I actually really, really enjoyed it and I find myself wanting to read everything by Penelope Douglas. Her writing is seriously addicting and every one of her stories have been able to completely immerse me and evoke so much emotion from me.
Also, it is important to note that obviously there is a lot of sexual content in this book, but all of the characters participating are 18+. Also, that first sex scene was 10/10. Like, sign me up for that now please.