Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Bullies and Forgiveness: Review of Until You

Title: Until You (Fall Away, #1.5)
Author: Penelope Douglas
Publisher: Intermix (Penguin Group)
Release Date: February 18th, 2014

From Goodreads...
***This novel contains graphic sexual content and harsh language. It is only appropriate for adult readers age 18+. 

Have you ever been so angry that hitting things felt good? Or so numb that you actually felt high? The past few years have been like that for me. Traveling between fury and indifference with no stops in between.

Some people hate me for it, while others are scared of me. But none of them can hurt me, because I don't care about anything or anyone.

Except Tatum.

I love her so much that I hate her. We used to be friends, but I found out that I couldn't trust her or anyone else.

So I hurt her. I pushed her away.

But I still need her. The sight of her centers me, and I can pool all of my anger into her. Engaging her, challenging her, bullying her...they are my food, my air, and the last part of me that feels anything human.

But she left. She went to France for a year, and came back a different girl.

Now, when I push, she pushes back.

My Review!
*Minorish spoilers.

Initially, I was scared to read this book. I read Bully last March, and it was one of my top three 2014 favorites. I immediately bought this one after finishing that, but then I just didn't read it. I kept pushing it back and back and back until Madoc's time came around and I remembered that I still had Until You on my kindle unread. But I was still nervous to read it. I was afraid that it would ruin the experience I had while reading Bully. I was afraid it would taint my love for the characters. Basically, I was scared of nothing. Because although I didn't love this one as much as Bully, I still adored it. It made the story that started in the first book feel whole, like it had come full circle.

I couldn't wait to get inside Jared's head. This bad boy intrigued me so much in the first book. He was awful, truly awful sometimes. He was harsh and mean and cold. He was not that great of a person. But I could tell that there was more to him than what we were seeing. That, underneath all of that, was a guy who was scared. Scared of feeling, scared of moving on, and scared that he would lose Tate completely. I needed his story. I needed to know why. I needed to understand him. And I did. Even if I didn't like his reasons, I could understand them. I could sympathize. And while I wanted to hate him for all that he'd done to Tate, I couldn't. There was something about the way Penelope Douglas wrote his character, so flawed and real and raw, that made me fall in love with Jared. His character development has been amazing, and I was so glad that I read this. Because, even though I loved him in Bully, I had to make sure that wasn't a fluke.

I still loved Tate, too. It was kind of funny being on the other side of it. Seeing her through Jared's eyes. Their chemistry has always been burning with passion and longing and desire and hate and love and regret. The tension, that hate-to-love tension, was simmering and oh, so delicious. Their relationship feels so real; it's full of depth and passion and a love that is reckless but selfless. Even though Jared made Tate's life a living hell, and even though I'd probably tell her to stay far away from him in person, I think they really do bring out the best in each other. They make each other better. They just had to go through a bunch of hurdles to get there. And if you thought that Tate was a doormat, I can't say that your opinions are unfounded. I just know that forgiveness takes a lot of strength. It takes a selfless person, and it's empowering. But Jared had to work for it. He had to show her that he could find his way back to that guy who sat in trees during storms with her because he knew she loved them. He had to earn her trust. And I loved that, in the end, they came out stronger; both as individuals and as a couple. They might not be perfect, but their love is strong enough to survive all of it.

But one part that I really loved about this was how the secondary characters were portrayed. Mostly K.C. and Madoc. So, if you read my Bully review, you'll know that I'm not the biggest fan of either of them. I was mad at K.C. for what she put Tate through, and c'mon, Madoc is an asshole. But he's a funny one, who makes the tense situations light. But in this book, there was so much more depth to both of them. Especially with K.C. And I finally put that anger aside, because after this, I know it's unfounded. And oh, Jax. I'm not sure how I feel about him yet, just because I know he's hiding a lot and we still didn't see him much in this one. But I can't wait for his story!

I wish we would have had a bit more background when it came to Jared's past and what happened at his father's. It would have hurt to read it, but I needed more of that. But I was so happy that Jared didn't let his father ruin him, that he took back control and didn't let the guy have anymore power over him. This man is a piece of work, and I loathed him. I wanted to hate his mom a little bit too, but she was like Jared. There was more to her, and I'm glad we got to see that in this book. Their relationship wasn't fixed by the end, nor close to being perfect, but it was left open, more so than it had ever been.

I'm not sure how I feel about Aflame. I don't know if I'm happy or mad about it. I thought their story was done in this one, and I kind of want it to be. Not that I don't love them or would adore reading more of them. But there will have to be more angst and drama, and they're gonna have to go through more hell to stay together. And I'm not sure I want to go through that. They have already been through so much, and I just want them to be happy and together. And this ending was kind of perfect! Why does it need to continue? What more is there to tell? 

I'm conflicted, but hell, I know I'm going to read it. There is just no way that I won't. And clearly I need to stop stalling and read Madoc's story. Because after reading Until You, I'm desperate for it.

4.5 Paw Prints!