Bully & Rival by Penelope Douglas

Posted December 16, 2014 | 27 Comments

Bully & Rival by Penelope DouglasBully
Author: Penelope Douglas
Series: Fall Away #1
Published by: InterMix
Publication Date: February 18, 2014
Format: eBook
Pages: 333
Source: Purchased

My name is Tate. He doesn't call me that, though. He’ll barely refer to me at all, and he’ll hardly ever 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 worse as time wore on. I even went to Europe for a year, just to avoid him.

But I'm done hiding from him now, and there's no way I'll allow him to ruin another year. He might not have changed, but I have.

It's time to fight back.

Bully, Bully, Bully … what a crazy relationship we have. I can’t recall the last time a fiction book brought out such strong, polarizing emotions in me. I’d go from straight-up raging, like seriously have to stop reading because it felt like steam was literally going to come out my ears, to laughing and smiling.

I contemplated just posting my notes as my review, because I’m kind of all over the place with Bully. I’m not going to do that though. I have a lot of thoughts and things to say about this book, but honestly, I don’t even want to get into it all. I’m going to try and keep it short and just give you the gist of it.

What I appreciate is how multilayered and realistic the characters are. They made me rage, cry, laugh, and pretty much everything in between. Sometimes they were so contradictory that it made my head spin. I felt like I was on a constant continuum of extreme emotions with this group. I don’t agree with a lot that went down or the way things were portrayed. There were times I felt like I was in the Twilight Zone with the way blame was put on Tate. It was baffling. At the same time, it was fun and entertaining.

It’s hard for me say that I loved the characters, because I don’t. Yet, I do love them. Let’s just say my feelings are black-and-white with a whole lot of grey too. Trust me it feels as confusing as it sounds. This is something that actually makes me like Bully so much. It isn’t an easy book for me to like, I don’t want to like it. But I do. To be honest, I kind of hate myself for liking it as much as I do, because it still makes me pissed when I start thinking about certain situations. Gah! It’s frustrating.

I do have to say that Bully was addicting as hell. So much so, I had to immediately read the next book.


 

Bully & Rival by Penelope DouglasRival
Author: Penelope Douglas
Series: Fall Away #2
Published by: NAL
Publication Date: August 26, 2014
Format: eBook
Pages: 366
Source: Purchased

Madoc and Fallon. Two estranged teenagers playing games that push the boundaries between love and war…

She’s back.

For the two years she’s been away at boarding school, there was no word from her. Back when we lived in the same house, she used to cut me down during the day and then leave her door open for me at night.

I was stupid then, but now I’m ready to beat her at her own game…

I’m back.

Two years and I can tell he still wants me, even if he acts like he’s better than me.

But I won’t be scared away. Or pushed down. I’ll call his bluff and fight back. That’s what he wants, right? As long as I keep my guard up, he’ll never know how much he affects me….

Immediately after reading the frustratingly addictive Bully, I jumped into Rival. I’m happy to say that I had a much smoother experience with Rival and can easily say that I like it a lot.

This book brought out strong emotions, but not in the way Bully did. There’s a lot of ups and downs with Madoc and Fallon, and they go through a hell of a lot. It gets angsty and dramatic, but it’s also edgy and just as addictive as the first book.

I loved how we see Madoc and Fallon one way in the beginning, we only know part of their history. But as the story progresses, the layers peel away showing us the whole picture. The author did a fantastic job with it.

It isn’t just Madoc and Fallon, though. I kind of love this whole group of friends when they’re together, even Jared and Tate. And holy crap, am I ever looking forward to reading Jax’s book now.

After reading Rival, it’s abundantly clear that Douglas has a knack for evoking strong emotions and creating complex characters. At this point, I think I’ll read anything she puts out just because I’m guaranteed to feel something.

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27 responses to “Bully & Rival by Penelope Douglas

  1. You make me laugh Christy!!! The first book takes you all over the place emotion-wise, raging and tearing your hair out, but you still immediately pick up the next book:) I’m glad Bully was addicting though, and despite the Twilight Zone-esque nature of parts of it, you enjoyed it:)
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  2. I first heard about this series after reading Rachel’s review for Bully and I could already tell it would be a frustrating read and would either be a hit or miss depending on the reader. I can see why it would be addicting though!

    I am glad the sequel was a lot better for you, though! 🙂

    Lovely reviews, Christy!! 🙂
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  3. You sound so passionate about these books Christy! I don’t know if they’d work for me (they seem to be either yes or no books) but you make me want to give them a chance. Lovely reviews!
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  4. Amir
    Twitter:

    I admit that I skimmed through Bully but couldn’t read it through because I wanted to band the heroes head against the wall. I have heard good things and I do think I need to read it fully to be able to actually understand the book and its emotions. Now that I’ve read your review of Rival though, I’m thinking that maybe it’s better for me to start with the other books in the series before Bully since it’s a lot easier to read in comparison. Lovely double review, Christy! You always make me re-think books that I thought I’ve given up on lol
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