Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★
Jared was Tate’s best friend until after a summer away he changed and started to make her life a living hell. Senior year was going to be different, she’d stop letting him push her around. After all it didn’t matter because next year she’d be leaving. Then something shifted between them and she finds herself in his cross-hairs again. Careful with how far you go, this is how bullies are made.
Something about this reminded me so much of Vicious by L. J. Shen to the point that I actually had to go and check to see which was written first. Bully is the first and honestly the tension between the two main characters is more palpable, which isn’t a surprise because that seems to be common when it comes to Penelope Douglas’ couples.
When I think Bully romance I wonder how far they can go, but to be fair neither of the books went too far. Jared spread rumors about Tate and his jabs were laced with desire, his hatred for her was based on abuse, similar to Vicious. They both seemed to walk that thin line between love and hate, but Bully felt better and more authentic because the two characters were such close friends. You could actually see where Jared’s moods shifted where as in Vicious it was more of a shallow explanation as to why she disliked Emilia so much.
I’m not sure if this was her first novel, but it does feel a little less polished as the others and that’s not a bad thing in any way shape or form. It’s still really strong and impressive. I can just see how she’s matured as an author and gotten more comfortable with the topics that she’s writing about. The steamy scenes were fewer than the other books I’ve read, but still really good.