Bully - Penelope Douglas (2014)

Tate and Jared used to be best friends but then one summer Jared came back from his dad's and turned on Tate. Ever since he's made her life a misery and Tate has no idea why. After a year abroad, she returns home for her senior year, vowing that Jared won't get the best of her this time. The bullying concept at the heart of this novel was one that is really suited to NA and certainly deserves attention. But whilst the antagonism between Jared and Tate felt real and was done well, I didn't feel entirely comfortable with the bully also being the leading man/love interest. Nor was I convinced by the reasoning for Jared's antagonism towards Tate. Similarly the shift in their relationship was too swift. Although the book has the intensity, content and tone of NA, the characters are that bit younger - 16 to 18 - and the large absence of parental figures throughout felt unrealistic. It is however a hugely addictive read and one that will evoke reaction. (JC)

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