bully by penelope douglas book review

Bully by Penelope Douglas Book Review: Not Dark, Just Bad

📖 GenreRomance, Contemporary, Adult
📃 Number of Pages333 pages
🪴 Average Goodreads Rating3.88 ⭐
🌻 My Rating2 ⭐

In essence: Bully by Penelope Douglas was a quick, but ultimately unsatisfying read with weak romance and horrible characters (spoilers below).

Let me explain.

So, the first thing that bugged me was: Why in the world did Tate come back to this school, and who let her? I mean, her father has a job in Europe and she’d be able to study there. She’s bullied all the time and has like one friend. Plus, she has to live alone (at 17!) back in her hometown. Why did she come back? What the hell?

To be honest, I suspended my disbelief for this because I thought it would have a purpose. You know, the hero coming over to her house often, them bonding, cooking, watching movies, and having that alone time. But, um, I really wasn’t satisfied with what actually happened. Her father could have been there and the story wouldn’t change much.

But let’s move on.

All of the characters in this were horrible. Tate (the main girl), hates all the other women around her. Everyone except her is slutty and dumb. But she’s not — she loves cars, and she’s into STEM, and she listens to cool music. The ultimate pick-me girl.

Then there’s Jared (the main male character). He had no personality. And he wasn’t even that sexy, to be honest, just very bland.

Her best friend, her grandma, and other side characters — they all sucked. To elaborate: Tate has been bullied by Jared for ages. Then her best friend and her grandma start blaming her for not trying harder to be his friend, for not giving him a second chance, for not being nice to him, for fighting back, etc. What? The? Actual? Fuck? To top it off, the best friend even dates Jared for a while. What?

I mean, Tate sucks too, but these people are horrible.

Then we have the romance. Or the failed attempt of one. The biggest issue here is that we don’t get to see these characters actually bond on a friendly level. They had numerous opportunities for it, but all we get is lust. They go straight from bullying to lusting and then a real relationship in like three pages near the end and it doesn’t work. We don’t get to fall in love with the hero or see why they work well as a couple.

And I’m not against dark or taboo romances here (I read and loved Birthday Girl by the same author), but it’s really just bad. I expected way more.

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