Contemporary Romance, New Adult

Review: After – Anna Todd (After #1)

Rating 3.5 Stars

What’s the book about?
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?

My Review
This story is a bit of a weird one hence the mini review. On one hand, I enjoyed it enough to binge read it in one day and pick up After We Collided (book 2) but on the other hand, I felt the characters made terrible decision after terrible decision and spent the majority of the story in shouting matches with each other (often in public). This sort of behaviour seemed very immature and I often got secondhand embarrassment reading these scenes. If I saw that sort of behaviour in real life, I would roll my eyes at the spectacle and move on.

The writing style feels very typical ‘fanfiction’ and is full of teen-style melodrama but it is a very easy read (so don’t be intimidated or put off by it’s large size). With a bit more editing, I think this could probably be 200 pages shorter to be honest. There was a lot of unnecessary words and the dialogue felt a little stilted with lots of the sentences using full words rather than contractions. For example: It would say “I am well” or “That is okay” rather than “I’m well” or “That’s okay”. Maybe it’s laziness on society’s behalf but I really don’t know that many people who use the former in their speech continually. It’s definitely something I’ll pay more attention to when talking to people after reading this book.

Ultimately, the biggest thing to take away from this book is that it may have some flaws and promote a toxic relationship with all the screaming matches between Tessa and Hardin but it’s also a highly addictive read and I still look forward to reading book 2.

Side note: I absolutely loved the movie and can’t wait for the sequel! I’ll try to read the second book before the movie comes out but no promises. This may be one of those rare circumstances where I liked the movie better than the book…


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