My name is Tate. He doesn't call me that, though. He would never refer to me so informally, if he referred to me at all.
We're neighbors, and once, we were best friends. But then, one summer, he turned on me and has made it his mission to screw up my life at every opportunity. I've been humiliated, shut out, and gossiped about all through high school. His pranks and rumors got more sadistic as time wore on, and I made myself sick trying to hide from him. I worried about what was around every corner and behind every door.
So I left.
I spent a year studying abroad and bathed in the freedom of life without Jared. Now I'm back to finish up high school and get the hell out of here forever. I'm hoping that after a year of breathing room, he's moved on and forgotten all about me.
But even if he hasn't changed, I have. I'm not interested in avoiding him or turning the other cheek anymore. We're going to go head to head, because neither of us wants to back down.
O.M.G! Ms. Douglas, how did you fall under my radar for this long?I've had this on my e-reader for FOREVER and I seriously can't believe it took me this long to read this!I am in total book hangover mode. The characters, the story, the writing. Everything. Was. Perfection. I’m usually not heavy into books where the Hero and Heroine are still in High school, however, considering most of the sexual situations happened at 18, I didn’t feel like a creeper reading it and was highly engaged throughout the entire book.
Let’s face it, bullying has and will (unfortunately) always be around. As children, teenagers and adults we will all face it at some point in our lives. Most bullies are the way they are due to insecurities, jealousy or their own fears. Ms. Douglas did an excellent job of showing what bullying is all about…from both sides. Even though the basis of this story was about a girl, Tatum, being bullied by her old friend, Jared, I felt there was way more than just the bullying aspect.
Through Tate’s eyes, we see how she handles being bullied. How she is hurt and also how she begins retaliating against it. The worst part is that she is being bullied by someone she used to be best friends with and, even if she doesn’t want to admit it, still cares a great deal for.
“During my year away, I had fought the urge to ask K.C. about him. Even after everything he’d done, part of me still missed that boy that was my waking thought and constant companion as a kid. But that Jared was gone now. In his place was a sour, hateful douchebag that had no regard for me.”
Tate was a strong, beautiful, sassy character. I loved her come-backs when someone was being an ass to her. She fought back. She didn’t let Jared have the complete upper hand. The only thing that killed her was that she didn’t understand his quick change of heart towards her. One day they were inseparable and the next, he hated her. He started spreading nasty or humiliating rumors about her. He even went as far as ruining all her would be dates. I LOVED how the author had her fighting back, but also was able to show us that in an essence, it was also making her into a bully by doing so.
“Jared flinched, and I immediately felt my insides shake. What was I doing? This wasn’t me! Bile rose in my throat. What did I just say to him? I waited for the satisfaction to come, but it never did.”
Jared was very confusing at first. He was good looking, popular, secretive and a straight up bad boy. You know, the kind you usually don’t want your Dad to find out about. I did not understand him or his motives to bully Tate and push her away. Part of me thought that he liked her and was doing the “boy thing” of being a jerk that boys sometimes do when they like a girl. However, he showed no interest in her whatsoever in that way. He was good at hiding his emotions and feelings. I had a really hard time “enjoying” his character in the beginning. He was so mean to her! It was only after Tate comes back from her year in France and actually fights back that you could see there was something more to his behavior. It actually seemed that he was hurt by her departure and that she was able to “kind-of” get to him.
'"When you recited your monologue this week, I…” he drifted off with a sigh. “I knew then that I’d really gotten to you, and instead of feeling any satisfaction, I was angry with myself. I wanted to hate you all these years, I wanted to hate someone. But I didn’t want to hurt you, and I didn’t really realize that until the monologue.”’
If I were to have changed one thing about the story, it would be to know the reason for his bullying a bit sooner in the story. But that’s only because I’m impatient.
In all honesty, if the story didn’t keep me guessing for so long about Jared, I probably wouldn’t have been as interested. When he finally admits to Tate why he treated her so badly, it’s pretty fucked up. His story literally shattered me. Even with all of his issues though, I still didn’t feel it was a good excuse to treat her the way he did. I also had a hard time trusting his motives. Does he redeem himself? Yes. I thought he did. However, I personally found it hard to stomach Tate forgiving him so easily. Jared didn’t have to work that hard to get her to forgive him after YEARS of tormenting her. I guess that just shows how amazing of a person Tate was. Most 18 year olds wouldn’t be so quick to start a relationship with someone after they were harassed by them, but Tate dove right in.
This book was not what I expected it to be. I didn’t find the whole subject of bullying appealing, but decided to give it a shot and am glad I did. This story made me feel many emotions… I felt bad for Tate having lost her best friend and him turning into a monster to her, I felt angry along with her and even with Jared, I felt both characters hurt and pain, I teared up at certain parts, there were even parts that made me laugh or smile. The sex scenes were steamy, but not too crazy considering the characters age and there was not a cliffhanger. There is even a bonus scene from Jared's POV at the end. I took my sweet time reading this because I didn’t want the story to end, yet it was VERY hard to put down. I highly recommend this and am so unbelievably excited for Until You, the second book in the Fall Away series, to come out! Considering how emotionally hidden Jared was, his story is going to be amazing.
| || |