Book Review: After (After #1) by Anna Todd

After (The After Series, #1)Title: After (After #1)
Author:  Anna Todd
Publication Date: Publisher:
Pages: 592
Format: ARC/paperback
Source: Publisher:  Gallery Books
Age Group: New Adult
Genre: Contemporary Romance


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?
If you are looking for a rollercoaster of emotions and heart-pounding angst “After” fits the bill. Don’t be fooled by the “good girl meets bad boy” feel of this title though because this story is really much more than that.  It’s the story of a broken boy that doesn’t know how to love and pushes people away by being cruel and detached, because it’s the only way he’s ever known to guard himself.  Don’t get me wrong though, he is a jerk! And that may be putting it mildly! There is always a story behind everything, one that most people don’t know about. He fits the bad boy bill to the T; tattoos, piercings, and doesn’t date, he hooks up with as many different girls as available. 

If you look up good girl in the dictionary you will find Tessa’s picture no doubt. Conservative, good student, dating the prefect boy and with her future all planned out. She’s always been sheltered by her controlling mother and really hasn’t been out in the world.

Things will change for both of them when their paths cross and their worlds are turned upside down. 
Tessa moves in to her new dorm for her freshman year in college and her roommate, Stephanie is a wild girl with red hair and tattoos all over, the same as her group of friends, it is here that she meets Hardin, and no, there was definitely no insta-love, I would even say there was insta-hate! She found him rude and he found her stuck-up, complete opposites by all accounts but as we’ve seen more than once opposites attract and after they end up kissing one night the dynamic between them starts shifting.

Did I mention rollercoaster already? The back and forth was exhausting, like I legit felt both their anxiety and inner struggle. That’s what I love about Anna’s writing though. She writes her characters in a way that’s impossible not to care for of them and see past their flaws. There are points where you are frustrated with both Tessa and Hardin but you don’t give up on them, the same way Tessa doesn’t give up on Hardin, and sometimes she could have and I wouldn’t have blamed her. Hardin could drive anyone insane! 

Their relationship is hot! (Like smoking hot!!) but it’s also all-consuming.  Battling Hardin’s demons will prove to be more than most can handle for both of them, but specially for Tessa. I don’t think Tess ever imagined she could have her heart broken and mended so many times by the same man. Towards the end though, Hardin may break her heart beyond repair. The type of betrayal that most would never forgive, I still don’t see how Tessa’s heart will service this ultimate blow. 

After is riveting and enthralling! I couldn’t put this book down. I’m surprised I got any sleep while reading this. Book #2 will be released on November 25th, and you don’t want to walk to get it, you want to run!


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