Title: “After” (After Series #1)
Author: Anna Todd
Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance
Release Date: 21st October, 2014.
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Tour Hosted By: The Hot Bed
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There was the time before Tessa met Hardin, and then there’s everything AFTER…Life will never be the same. #Hessa
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 undeniably hot! 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?
Complimentary copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review
I have to say that I am sitting back with a rather strong urge to hit something…Please do not misunderstand me: I loved so many parts of this book! So the reason that I have this peculiar urge to commit some kind of violence has nothing to do with my enjoyment, as such. No, it is because Miss Todd has just ripped my heart to pieces! And I am feeling pretty annoyed that the second book is not out yet..*wink* Oh, well…Patience is a virtue, as one wise person once said. But the waiting of this particular sequel will be very difficult me.
If you, like me, has a soft spot for romances when “the good girl” falls in love with “the bad boy”, I am pretty confident that you will come to love Tessa and Hardin’s very emotional and turbulent story.
Tessa is going away on college with a very firm career plan in mind, and even though she is sad to leave her boyfriend, Noah, behind, she is thrilled to leave home and her rather controlling mother. She arrives at Washington brimmed with nerves and excitement, like very 18-year-old feels, and ready to commit herself completely to her studies. Her roommate, Sadie, is so far from the person she envisioned to live with, and Sadie’s friends are in a completely different league from her own. Especially Hardin, a moody, rude, and downright infuriating British student. But even though he treats her with disdain, Tessa finds herself drawn to him in some inexplicable way…
For some reason that Tessa cannot understand, Hardin seems to be just as fascinated with her as she is with him – that is, when he stops patronizing her – and, despite knowing better, Tessa allows her heart to take charge for once in her life: Hardin makes her feel alive, and that is something she has not really experienced before, not even with her boyfriend.
Tessa possess many qualities that I admire: she knows her own mind (career-wise, that is), she is not afraid to work hard in order to achieve her goals, and the fact that she finally lets herself completely live her life to the fullest made me smile huge! Yes, she did sometimes frustrate me, and I absolutely do not condone her dishonesty towards her boyfriend, but let me remind of a very significant detail: she is only 18 years old! Of course she makes mistakes! Who, in their right mind, acts like a grown-up all the time at that age? I certainly did not.
Hardin is such a contradiction: Hot, then cold. Sweet, then horrible. Passionate, then withdrawn. Tessa does not know what to make of him at all, and her feelings of hurt and confusion are depicted very well by Miss Todd. I found myself so immersed with the drama, the angst, and the romance that I completely let the real world slip away – that does not happen often, by the way – and even though Hardin’s “cat-playing-with-the-mouse” game, and Tessa’s inability to keep to many of her decisions, frustrated me a great deal more than once, I just could not stop reading! I am, in some ways, a bit surprised about this fact, actually, but this tells me that I have read a book by an author who has a true gift with words.
As for the ending of this book…wow! My heart and soul hurt as I read the final pages, and even though I had a strong urge to drop my Kindle – because the more I read, the more outraged and hurt did I become – I just had to know what happened. Obviously, I cannot tell you what takes place, but suffice it to say that this ending is why I feel pretty angry – and I love it! Even if the characters of the book I am reading does not come as cross as completely like-able, or even if I have trouble with connecting fully with them, I love it when an author has the ability to evoke such powerful emotions in me. I feel pain, anger, betrayal, and I have already mentioned the bad condition of my heart.
So why not give this book my highest rating, then? Well, there are a couple of reasons for this, and you may already have guessed them, but I will elaborate further:
Although I enjoyed most of Tessa and Hardin’s very passionate and turbulent outbursts, I sometimes felt as if they were going around in circles a bit. And it just made me feel as if the story was prolonged unnecessarily: as if certain scenes were repetitive, or close to it.
I also found Hardin’s mood swings a bit over-the-top sometimes, but that may have to do with the fact that each time I thought I had him pegged, his behavior shifted, and I wanted to knock some sense into him!
As always, reading is subjective, and other readers will definitely disagree with me, but I am just being honest here, explaining my own thoughts and feelings.
Despite the above mentioned reasons for not giving this book five stars, I still truly enjoyed “After”: there is a great deal of irony, wit and banter thrown between Tessa and Hardin, and I found myself reading many passages twice because they were just such great scenes! And whenever Hardin let his guard down, opening himself up to Tessa, I could not help but fall a bit more in love with him. The chemistry between these characters is fantastic, and there is definitely pleanty of steamy scenes that even made me blush sometimes…
Like I stated in the beginning of my review, I am very anxiously awaiting the sequel to “After”, and I honestly believe that Miss Todd will make me experience a wide range of emotions again – I cannot wait to found out what happens next!
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Anna Todd is a first-time writer spending her days in the Austin area with her husband, with whom she beat half the statistics by getting married one month after graduating high school. Between her husband’s three deployments to Iraq, she worked odd jobs from a makeup counter to the IRS processing counter. Anna was always an avid reader and boy band and romance lover, so now that she’s found a way to combine the three she’s enjoying living a real-life dream come true.