Jared and Tate were friends, best friends, until everything changed the summer before they started high school. Jared went away to visit his estranged father and when he returned, he was a different person. Now Jared's mission in life is to make Tate's life miserable. For the past 3 years, Jared has humiliated, shut out, and tormented Tate, all without explanation or apology.
When Tate returns for her senior year after spending a year abroad, she is no longer willing to sit back and take Jared's bullying. Determined to push back, Tate begins to stand up to Jared. As the two go head to head, the walls separating them begin to crumble and the pull that has always been between them gets harder and harder to ignore. As the truth comes to light, Tate will have to decide whether she can forgive the past and learn how to trust Jared again. Jared will have to face the consequences of his actions and prove his trustworthiness. But can the two of them really have a future when their past is never far away?
Penelope Douglas is a story telling master! This book is absolutely amazing and deserves 5 giant, gold stars! When I started this book, I hated Jared. I mean, I HATED Jared. He was such a Grade-A A-hole. His best friend, Madoc, wasn't much better, but more on him later. I thought that there was NO way that Penelope could redeem this character, at least in a way that was believable. He was just TOO HORRIBLE and so undeserving of a second chance, at first glance. You all know that I love my book boyfriends damaged, but Jared definitely pushed the line of what is forgivable. And while I was totally on Tate's side from the get-go, I worried that I would lose all respect for her when she simply gave in and forgave Jared's behavior, no questions asked.
Oh how wrong I was! Not only was Penelope able to redeem Jared, but she did it in such a way that made you understand (but still not condone) why he did what he did and what his true motivations were. And while Tate does forgive Jared, she certainly doesn't forget, and makes him work to earn back her trust. Instead of losing respect for Tate, she earned my respect for going toe-to-toe with Jared and not backing down. The result is a story full of angst, passion, and redemption, with a splash of holy hotness! I couldn't put it down and was completely wrapped up in this story from the beginning. Amazing!
Book #1.5: Until You
Until You gives us the events of Bully from Jared's POV, but is not a straight retelling of Bully. It can be read as a stand alone novel, but I wouldn't recommend reading it until you have read Bully. This is Jared's story and it goes a long way to fill in some of the holes in Jared's back story and fleshes out his character. I loved being in Jared's head, but I'm not sure I would have had the same response to the book had I not read Bully first. I enjoyed being able to see certain events from Jared's POV and this book really enhanced my experience of Bully and made me even crazier for Jared.
It also does a great job of better introducing us to Madoc, Jared's best friend, and his brother, Jax, both of whom are scheduled to get their own books! There is definitely more than meets the eye with these characters. While I hated Madoc in the beginning too (not as much as Jared, but still), it becomes clear that he's not such a bad guy and had his own motivations behind his attacks on Tate. Until You went a long way in changing my opinion of him. We also get to learn more about Jax and his relationship with Jared. I have a feeling that both of these boy will provide for entertaining reads.
As I've said before, I love my book boyfriends to be damaged, and this book solidified Jared's place on my list. I am super excited to see what's next for these characters.
Coming up in the Fall Away Series:
Madoc's story: Rival (Fall Away #2) - expected release August, 2014
Here—in her room, on her turf—is where she’ll let go of everything that makes her fight me everywhere else. I told her that she should lock the door to keep me out. She never does.
Madoc thinks that he has me pegged. He thinks that what you see is what you get, and that he’s on top of the world. Three years ago, I was cast aside and kicked out of my home all because of him. The little prince plays a game not even knowing that we’re at war.
Some people call it fighting. Others call it angst. Our parents call it sibling rivalry.
Jax's story: Native (Fall Away #3) - expected release winter, 2014