Series: After # 1
Author: Anna Todd
I received this copy from the Danish publisher to read and review. However, this has not affected my opinion of the book and my words and thoughts are 100% my own. Thanks to People’s Press for sending me the book.
Tessa is a good girl with a sweet, reliable boyfriend back home. She’s got direction, ambition, and a mother who’s intent on keeping her that way.
But she’s barely moved into her freshman dorm when she runs into Hardin. With his tousled brown hair, cocky British accent, tattoos, and lip ring, Hardin is cute and different from what she’s used to.
But he’s also rude—to the point of cruelty, even. For all his attitude, Tessa should hate Hardin. And she does—until she finds herself alone with him in his room. Something about his dark mood grabs her, and when they kiss it ignites within her a passion she’s never known before.
He’ll call her beautiful, then insist he isn’t the one for her and disappear again and again. Despite the reckless way he treats her, Tessa is compelled to dig deeper and find the real Hardin beneath all his lies. He pushes her away again and again, yet every time she pushes back, he only pulls her in deeper.
Tessa already has the perfect boyfriend. So why is she trying so hard to overcome her own hurt pride and Hardin’s prejudice about nice girls like her?
Unless…could this be love?
From Harry to Hardin. I actually followed the After series for a very long time before I got together to read it. I’ve been a user on Wattpad since Anna Todd started with the original One Direction fan fiction series on there, but I never read it. Probably mostly because I was not / am a 1D fan, so reading a fan fiction about them was not exactly high on my tbr list.
But that has changed now – maybe not the whole 1D thing, but to read the story where Harry, Zayn, Liam, Louis and Niall have been replaced by Hardin, Zed, Landon, Nate and … wait is there one missing? Did I forget an L?
Will he come later in the series?
But enough chatter, let’s get down to business.
The whole After series are a bunch of thick books. +500 pages and does one think such a story needs so many pages. The answer is .. well, maybe not. Sure, the story is interesting with the classic scenario where the good girl meets and falls for the “bad” boy. However, there is so much back and forth between Tessa and Hardin that there could easily have been 100 pages cut away and you will still be left with the same feeling that the relationship between Tessa and Hardin is probably the most unhealthy that has been read about since Twilight, and here both people are even alive!
There’s just a lot of the same quarrels in all sorts of guises and it just runs in the same groove as a broken record and it kinda gets old after a bit.
However, it should not take away from the fact that I think the book is exciting and captivating. Because I read it pretty fast, in 5 days, one of the days I probably devoured 200 pages in one sitting. So yeah, it’s enticing, captivating and you invest your time in Tessa and Hardin’s tumultuous relationship because you want to see how it all pans out and just how much these two can take from each other where you would have thrown in the towel a long ass time ago.
I saw both movies before I read the first book, but I knew in advance that a lot had changed in the movie adaptation, and there really were, but actually in a good way. The book is the unfiltered version, whereas the movie is very mild in relation to the action, especially the end of the book, where Tessa finds out how it all fits together. In the movie it’s “not that bad” but in the book I just thought ‘she can never forgive him for that!’
The language is easy and it flows at a good pace, which is a good reason as to why I got through that many pages so quickly.
One thing I liked about After was how Tessa and Hardin were set up against characters from classic books like Pride and Prejudice and Wurthering Heights (have not even read them, so can not say if it is correct or not). They are compared to the great epic love stories because they might like to be seen as the modern version of these.
Although I’d just prefer to call them what they are – an absolute train wreck!
At times, I forgot that Tessa was only 19 years old. Towards the middle/end of the book, she almost never went to school anymore. She took care of her student job, which was twice a week, but then it was as if her education just came to a standstill.
As mentioned before, she is the classic “good girl” who goes to school, gets good grades and has a sweet and nice boyfriend.
Her life is actually a bit boring, but what I think stands out most is Noah, her boyfriend (before Hardin) and her mother who is almost a little too neat and stiff. They, mostly the mother, dominate Tessa’s life and dictate what she can and cannot do, even though she does not live at home and is legally an adult. Then it’s clear that Tessa wants to break out of her mother’s grip and rushes straight into the arms of Hardin. That part I can understand and I would probably have done something of the same if my mother had been so awful. Because yes, Tessa’s mother is pretty awful.
But that doesn’t excuse Tessa and her, sorry to be blunt, piss poor judgement when it comes to reason and rationality. Those concepts just go woosh – straight over her head.
Then we have Hardin.
Hardin .. oh Hardin. As soon as I think of his name, Hero Fiennes Tiffin pops up in my head.
But Hardin … is he really worth all this hassle and heartache? He is the mysterious bad boy who does not let anyone into his life and sees school and life in general as something you just have to go through to get on in life. Right up until Tessa. But even after meeting Tessa, Hardin does not change his behaviour, not even enough to stop what he is doing with his friends, which he knows will hurt Tessa deeply.
He is extremely problematic, but sure the reader gets more under his skin as Tessa gets the layers peeled away as if he were an onion. At least she cries enough tears to make you believe he’s an onion.
The story is full of clichés, but we knew that from the start.
There is a lot to be said about this book, but I will probably refrain from making the review as long as the book itself …
So I’ll keep it short from now on.
After had its ups and downs, but all in all it was a captivating and lustful tale of the first great love.
I’ve already finished reading After We Collided (book 2 in the series) and the review for that will be up soon.
Thanks again to the publisher, People’s Press, for sending me this book.
If you’ve read the After series (or just the first book), drop me a comment below and tell me what you thought?