Book Review: Aflame by Penelope Douglas

“‘I’m never letting you go again, Tate,’ I whispered, almost desperate. ‘I’m your friend forever, and if that’s all I get, then that’s what I’m taking, because only when you’re here’-I took her hand and placed it on my heart-‘do I feel like my life is worth a damn.'”


The tables have turned. Now I have the power—and it’s his turn to beg…
Everyone wants to be me.
Maybe it’s the sway of my skirt or the way I flip my hair, but I don’t care. Even though their attention is the last thing I crave, I just can’t stop. I dominate the track, the speed rattles my bones, and the wind and the crowd screams my name.
I’m her. The girl driver. The queen of the race. And I’m surviving—something he thought I’d never do.
They all talk about him. Did you see Jared Trent on T.V? What did you think of his last race, Tate? When is he coming back to town, Tate?
But I refuse to care too much. Because when Jared does come home, I won’t be here.
Tatum Brandt is gone. I’m someone new.

In Aflame we get to see the story in Tate’s and in Jared’s point of view. It is set four years into the future since we last saw them in Bully and Until You.

When I started reading the book, I felt it was just a repeat of what happened in the previous books. Tate was back to hating Jared, Jared was avoiding Tate, their obvious physical attraction kept drawing them into each other like magnets. Push, pull, push, same old story.

As I kept reading though, I noticed how things were different. Jared kept making the conscious decision not to hurt Tate, unlike before where he was controlled by his feelings and didn’t think before acting. He really was trying to be better for Tate.He was far from perfect, still messing up sometimes, but change isn’t easy and it isn’t fast. It’s scary and you have to work for it.

“I was the man I had set out to be for her when I left.”
“A man who stands in front of a woman does nothing more than block her view. She needs a man standing next to her.”

Tate, on the other hand, was more independent and stronger. Although, being strong isn’t always a good thing. She also turned cold and kept trying to force herself into something that didn’t feel right.

“Because that’s how well I knew myself now. No one dominated me.”
“But then she stayed distant- she kept pulling away -and it was like slowly the family was breaking. All of us. She wasn’t Tate without you….”

I felt frustrated as I read the book though, because I felt like  some of their problems were brought about by such unnecessary  misunderstandings. If they only took the time to talk to each other, even if it was through arguing, they would figure out that they were mad at each other over nothing. It was all because of unnecessary feelings brought about by jumping into conclusions. That’s how life is though. There are no logical reasons for how we feel sometimes, someone could be giving their all to us, and we still wouldn’t trust them out of fear. It’s not perfect, we can’t plan it all out and expect everything to go out way. Life is messy; love is messy.

“It’s easier to be angry and pass judgement than it is to take a chance. It feels stronger.”

The book tells us that it’s okay to grow on your own. Our lives shouldn’t revolve around one person, we have to be our own person. We shouldn’t go looking for our other half, but rather be whole on our own. Our significant other shouldn’t complete us, we should already be complete on our own.

It also shows that if you love someone and they love you back, nothing is going to keep you two apart. Love is complicated and it’s hard, and it could make you go crazy, but it’s definitely worth fighting for.

“As my friend, I like you, as my enemy, I craved you. As a fighter, I loved you,…. I keep you. Forever.”
“When you left me the first time, I was devastated,  and when you left me the second time, I was defiant. But both times I regret, I always fought with you instead of fighting for you, and if I commit to doing one thing differently for the rest of our lives, Jared, it would be to make sure you always know that I will fight for you. Forever.”


3 thoughts on “Book Review: Aflame by Penelope Douglas

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