The bully romance sub-genre is a required taste . . . you either love it, hate it or have mixed feelings.
That being said, what precisely are bully romance novels? You’ll find a dark and brooding hero who has his eyes on the heroine and wants nothing more than to make her life a misery. However, because of the delicate nature of the subject matter, not everyone should read bully romance novels.
Only a handful of bully romance books have made me feel uncomfortable, and it’s usually when the hero goes too far or the heroine doesn’t stand up for herself.
Check out these book suggestions below if you haven’t yet jumped on the bully romance bandwagon and explored the murky waters of bully love stories.
Look no further than this list of books with forbidden romances for more examples of the genre’s murky edges.
Bully by Penelope Douglas
Tatum Brandt and Jared Trent were close friends before Jared turned into their worst enemy.
Tate attends a party the night before she leaves for a year of study abroad and ends up the target of a prank that makes her feel more relieved than ever about leaving the next day. Tate has returned a year later, more confident than ever before. With Tate’s maturity and Jared’s decision to put an end to his bullying ways, they are left to sort through their past and address the bullying Tate was subjected to.
No matter what kind of high school romance you’re looking for, you should check out Penelope Douglas’ Bully. As an additional bonus, there is a lingering romance. There will be no insta-love in this house.
Tryst Six Venom by Penelope Douglas
From the outside, future prom queen and captain of the lacrosse team Clay Collins has it all: popularity, a charming boyfriend, and a picture-perfect family. However, it is all a ruse. As a result of her popularity, her boyfriend is an asshole, and her family is in ruins. Olivia Jaeger is the only person who can help her overcome her demons, but she is the only person she can’t have.
In order to get out of her small-minded town and away from Clay Collins, Olivia Jaeger only wants to survive her senior year and get a one-way ticket to college. Clay, on the other hand, has other ideas. In fact, they don’t involve Olivia letting her down.
It’s a sexy, steamy, and heartfelt FF enemies-to-lovers bully romance that’s impossible to put down. When you start reading this high school bully romance, you’ll be up well past your bedtime.
Vicious by L.J. Shen
Love the bad guy? Then Vicious is for you.
Vicious is a fictional assassin who is among the most vicious. In this town, he’s a real winner because he has a heart of stone and treats everyone like dirt. Emilia LeBlanc, the daughter of a hired servant who lives on the grounds of her father’s estate, is the most frequently the target of his jibes and snide remarks. When he finally gets the nerve to expel her, he treats her like a piece of garbage. After a ten-year separation, they re-connect. Vicious is determined to win her back and will stop at nothing to do so.
Take a look at Vicious for a bully love story where the hero has a big chip on his shoulder and takes it out on the daughter of the hired help.
Shunned by Steffanie Holmes
When a fire killed her parents and best friend, Hazel’s entire life was destroyed. She is given a second chance when she is offered a scholarship to a prestigious high school. She intends to take her time, get good grades, and then leave. Not counting Ayaz, Trey, and Quinn as her friends, Hazel doesn’t think she can rely on them. They don’t realize, however, that it will take more than a few taunts and pranks to drive Hazel from town.
Those who enjoy books about reverse harem bully romances, in which the victim is bullied by a group of men who all (usually) turn out to be romantic interests, will enjoy Shunned.
The Cruel Prince by Holly Black
Dylan and Jace were inseparable four years ago, when they were best friends. Dylan and her family were forced to relocate after a tragic event occurred. When Dylan returns to her hometown, everything has changed, and she learns this on the first day of school when Jace tells her that she is no longer welcome.
Dylan tries to look the other way when confronted with Jace’s ferocious animosity. Dylan gets her spine back when she realizes that Jace’s cruel new attitude is here to stay.
I recommend Cruel Prince if you’re a fan of the “friend-to-enemies-to-lovers” trope in bully romance books.
Cruel Prince by Ashley Jade
As a child, Jude’s parents were killed and she and her two sisters were taken away by the murderer to live in the land of Faery. Ten years later, Jude’s only desire is to fit in, despite the fact that she is approaching death. When Jude is sucked into a dangerous game of politics, she has to keep her head above water. Jude will need to stay one step ahead of the cunning faeries if she is to emerge victorious in this battle.
When it comes to Jude, Prince Cardan has a real mean streak. He’s cunning, charming, cruel, and wicked. However, the ebb and flow of events are shifting. A single blunder can tip the scales dramatically.
It’s the perfect book for anyone who enjoys bully romances with cunning fae and cunning royals as well as slow-burning romances (of epic proportions).
Tough Sh*t by Sheridan Anne
It’s the day Oceania Munroe’s mother announces they’re moving from the gang-ridden streets of Breakers Flats to Bellevue Springs that her entire world comes crashing down. It’s difficult enough saying goodbye to her crew without having to deal with the additional stress of moving into an opulent mansion surrounded by money. Colton Carrington, the son of Ocean’s mother’s boss, was the last thing she could have anticipated. Even when Colton challenges Ocean to a fight, she refuses to back down. And once the action gets underway, there are no returns.
Tough Sh*t is a must-read for fans of high school bully romance novels featuring strong female leads and rich badasses. As tough as she is sassy, Ocean has a steely resolve.
Savage Royals by Callie Rose
Talia has no idea where she’ll end up after discovering the death of her father, who was an absent parent throughout her childhood. She was surprised to see her grandparents, whom she had never met before. In the end, they decide to let her stay with them and go to an elite prep school.
Unfortunately, there are people like Mason, Finn, Elijah, and Cole out in the world today. Kidding. Honestly, I’m not sure. It is their personal mission to make Talia’s life a living hell, and they take it as a personal challenge. C.M. Stunich’s Filthy Rich Boys is a lot like this book, but I feel like the series as a whole differs from Filthy Rich Boys. To be honest, I don’t know why, but I did
The swanky academy in Savage Royals is the setting for the bully romance in this book.
Dirty Girls by Lily White
For the last few years, a small town in Washington has been rocked by tragedy. Soren Callahan, a 17-year-old high school student, was arrested and charged with murder. When Soren is freed, the murders begin again, each more gruesome than the last.
As a senior, Olive Reid attends Winter Ridge Preparatory. She refused to participate in their games when Soren and his group controlled the school, but she found herself drawn to Soren, the King of Winter Ridge Prep. Upon realizing that Soren is once again after Olive, Olive’s life takes an immediate turn for the worse. Will she be able to escape this ordeal unscathed?
If you’re looking for a book full of mystery, bullies, and romance, look no further than Dirty Girls.
Punk 57 by Penelope Douglas
Because of a school project, Misha Lare and Ryen Trevarrow have been pen pals since 5th grade when their teachers mistakenly paired them together. As a result, they’ve maintained a close friendship even though they’ve never met face-to-face. When Misha goes silent in high school, everything changes.
Misha’s band held a scavenger hunt a few weeks ago, and Ryen happened to run into him there. Misha is shocked and disgusted by this stranger, who is unlike the girl he remembers from the letters.
For the first time in her life Ryen is intrigued by the new boy who shows up in her classroom and takes a stand against one of her friends who is bullying another boy in the class. Masen Laurent “Misha” Up until he confronts her with his rage and obvious disapproval. His opinions are important to her in a way she doesn’t understand, so she ends up taking the bait and fueling the flames.
In the mood for a bully romance book where the guy pretends to be someone else? Then you’ll love Punk 57.
Untouchable by Sam Mariano
The dark romance novel Untouchable by Sam Mariano brings uncomfortable experiences to a whole new level.
Because of her role in the harassment of a football player, Zoey has been shunned by her peers and is now facing her final year of high school. Carter Mahoney, an all-star quarterback, begins to notice Zoey one day. That’s when things go too far and Zoey finds herself in the snare of a devil lurking beneath the golden boy facade.
If you’re a fan of dark bully romance novels, I recommend giving Untouchable a try, but be careful in the beginning. Those who don’t like it may not like it.
The Secret Girl by C.M. Stunich
When Charlotte Carson’s father is named headmaster of Adamson All-Boys Academy, she is forced to relocate to Connecticut. Charlotte is being used as a test subject for the board’s plan to modernize the academy by allowing female students. Who would want to be the only female student in an all-male classroom? I suppose that’s fine for some people, but Charlotte would rather not be the only female in the group. That’s all anyone needs to know.
Charlie “Chuck” Carson steps forward (aka Charlotte). New student Chuck quickly becomes a social outcast at Adamson All-Boys Academy. What remains to be seen is how quickly the truth will be revealed that Chuck is in fact Charlotte. It won’t be long now, I hope. When it comes to Adamson All-Boys Academy, a killer (or killers) are on the loose, and they’re not happy that a girl has enrolled there. She’ll have a busy semester ahead of her with the addition of a few suspects from the student council, including Church, Ranger, Spencer, Micah, and Tobias.
The Secret Girl by C.M. Stunich is a good choice for fans of slow-burn reverse harem bully romances that don’t overdo the bullying.
Angry God by L.J. Shen
Except for Lenora, no one can get past Vaughn Spencer’s defenses. He is ruthless, arrogant, and untouchable. The two have a history, and when Lenny decides to attend Todos Santos for her senior year, Vaughn sets out to make her experience there as miserable as he can.
In every way, Lenny is his polar opposite. Despite his best efforts, she refuses to back down, matching his pace. Having the chance to win a prestigious art internship is the only thing keeping her going through her final year of high school.
When Lenny discovers that she and her best friend will both be interning in London, she wonders if she should go. Nevertheless, Vaughn’s nemesis, Lenny, refuses to relinquish the upper hand in this fight.
Angry God is one of the best bully romance books to get your hands on if you enjoy gritty love stories that don’t hold back.
Corrupt by Penelope Douglas
It’s impossible to keep Erika “Rika” Fane calm in the face of her mounting frustration. Restarting her life, Rika heads to a new city for college. Those dreams are destroyed when she realizes her ex’s older brother Michael Crist, now a professional basketball player, is practically her neighbor.
After learning that Rika is in his city, Michael makes the decision to exact vengeance on her for the crime she committed three years earlier. A decision that led to the imprisonment of his three best friends. After the events of the first film, Rika doesn’t know what to expect from Michael and his gang when they show up.
Corrupt by Penelope Douglas is just the book for you if you’re looking for a dark, intense romance with bullies. Be prepared to have your morals tested as you ride this wild ride.
Deviant King by Rina Kent
“You will be destroyed.”
This is the declaration of war that sets in motion two years of torture and death for Elsa Quinn and her allies at the Royal Elite Academy. Elsa reaches her breaking point and challenges the deviant king in a direct challenge that he can’t ignore. Aiden’s chillingly calculated mind and disturbingly twisted thoughts, on the other hand, were completely out of her league. He’s infatuated with her, which is bad news for her.
Depraved and deliciously twisted, Deviant King is a dark bully romance that you can’t miss. Fans of possessive alphas, heroines who give as good as they get, and steamy passion will enjoy Rina Kent’s three-book series. Make sure you read the warning before you begin.
The Help by Callie Rose
While Lincoln, River, Dax, and Chase rule Linwood Academy, Harlow serves as the school’s underling.
When a position as Executive Housekeeper in a prestigious Connecticut home is made available to Harlow Thomas’s mother, she accepts. Harlow has no idea what to expect, but when she meets the son of her mom’s new employer, Lincoln, she comes to her own conclusions. That Harlow isn’t a person who bends under pressure is something Lincoln doesn’t know and the Kings of Linwood should be on their guard.
If you’re looking for a high school reverse harem bully romance, The Help is the book for you.
Stepbrother Dearest by Penelope Ward
Elec O’Rourke, Greta Hansen’s stepbrother, is her new year-long roommate, and she has no idea what to expect from him. Elec sends a confusing message from the moment he enters until he suddenly leaves. Seven years later, they’re reunited. They’re not going anywhere…
Stepbrother Dearest is a bully romance novel with a taboo premise (step-sibling romance) that you should check out.
The Peer and the Puppet by B.B. Reid
Four Archer and her mother are sent to Blackwood Keep, the mansion of her mother’s new lover, after a job goes horribly wrong. Then she meets Ever McNamara, her future stepbrother. An understatement would be making light of the fact that they got off to the wrong start.
As a result, Four’s life is a living hell because of the way Ever views her and her mother as gold diggers. Ever seizes on any opportunity to get rid of Four. But he had no idea Four would return with vengeance on her mind.
A step-sibling romance with bully love is what The Peer and the Puppet is all about.
Orientation Week by Ruby Vincent
Nothing will stand in Zela’s way when she sets her sights on Breakbattle Academy, a prestigious school that happens to separate the males from the females. However, she has no intention of attending the event as her own person. Zeke Manning, a high-achieving freshman, will be her disguise when she enters the opulent campus as a newcomer. Zela is on a mission to prove to the males that she can hold her own, but she quickly learns that it won’t be as easy as she first thought. Because at Breakbattle, students have no qualms about fighting for their place in the academy’s ruthless ranks. Zela, on the other hand, has other ideas involving a particular high school boy, plans that he will never suspect.
If you’re looking for a slow-burn high school bully reverse harem romance in which the girl pretends to be a guy, then pick up Orientation Week by Lauren Oliver. This series will not disappoint you.
I Dare You by Shantel Tessier
Austin is the town’s newest resident. Austin moves in with her father to get away from her abusive boyfriend and her deadbeat mother. Austin’s plans to keep a low profile are shattered when she witnesses something she should never have seen. She is coerced into joining a gang of dangerous men who live their lives on the edge after being caught by the perpetrators of the crime. Lines blur and the games turn deadly as dares spiral out of control. Will Austin and Cole be able to walk away with their hearts intact?
This bully love story will keep you reading until the very end if you want a game of crazy dares and some insane sexual tension.
Filthy Rich Boys by C.M. Stunich
Let’s pretend you’re in the following situation. One of the best private schools in the United States has given you the opportunity to attend. Everyone seems to already know who you are on your first day and your tour guide abandons you after implying that you don’t belong. You’re guided around campus by a friendly face who also gives you the low-down on the school’s social structure. They explain to you that the idols (the elite) are the most powerful and have set their sights on you as their next target (like a bounty, not ooh la la). Surviving is the only option.
A reverse-harem high school bully romance novel like Filthy Rich Boys is a must-read for fans of that genre.
Pretty Reckless by LJ Shen
It only takes one decision to change the course of history forever.
Since she ruined another dancer’s chance at success four years ago, Daria Followhill has lost interest in the guy who wanted all her firsts and ended a relationship with him. It appears that he has returned. However, he’s her foster brother this time around.
Then Penn Scully stopped loving her. Everything changed when she shattered the lone bright spot in his life. However, he no longer desires her in the same manner. This time, the roles are reversed, and he’ll be the one to bring her down.
For high school bully romance books with misunderstood characters who toe the line between love and hate, Pretty Reckless is the book for you.