Review: After by Anna Todd

Title: After, Book One in the After Series
Author: Anna Todd
Publisher: Gallery Books (Simon Schuster)
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Drama
Links: Book Depository | GoodReads | Amazon



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?

Why I picked it up:

This book was sent to me from Simon Schuster in exchange for an honest review. But I was really intrigued by this one. It was originally a One Direction fanfiction on Wattpad with over a billion views, so I was really interested to see what all the fuss was about.

My Thoughts:

Before I even started this book, I had a general idea of what it might be like. I read a lot of fanfiction across various fandoms back in 2004/2005 and after a while, you come to realise that fanfiction in general has some defining traits. They are generally dramatic, trashy, and self-indulgent because they come from a place of fandom and obsession.

So coming into this, I knew it was going to be over the top and ridiculous. But I hoped it would cross the line from “this is bloody awful” into “this is so bad it’s awesome” territory, sort of like Jamie McGuire’s Beautiful Disaster did. And for me, it did – After was awful and amazing at the same time.

In saying that, I think this is one of those books you either love or hate. I know this because my friend Lyn hated it with a passion from above, but I have to admit… I really enjoyed it. I liked the drama – it wasn’t a book that was written trying to be “proper”. It went all out. I’m talking trashy, dramatic, romance!

I found Tessa and Hardin’s relationship really interesting. Because on the one hand, I had no idea why Tessa was letting Hardin treat her so goddamn awful, but on the other hand, I understood that he was allowing her to live and feel for the first time. It was a weird sort of relationship that I wasn’t sure I supported or not. They were just both so damaged. But as I said above, I loved the drama; they were an utter train wreck of a couple.

This one has a lot of awful reviews on GoodReads, but hey, any book that keeps me reading past midnight is a high rating for me.

I mean, don’t get me wrong. This isn’t a marvellous piece of literature by any means. It didn’t teach me anything new about the world or make me think about an issue in a different way. It was a pure and utter, self-indulgent, beach read, dramatic, new adult fiction.

I didn’t even know I was in the mood for it until I started reading.

My Verdict – 4 stars – Although you should read the blurb to decide for yourself, because this one might not be for you!

About Jodie @ Words Read & Written

Book blogger & aspiring author.
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8 Responses to Review: After by Anna Todd

  1. Holly Kerr says:

    I heard about this one – they’re trying to make it sound like it’s the next 50 shades or something. I was wondering about all the fuss, but not enough to pick it up so thanks for the review!


  2. I might not be able to handle this kind of push and pull romance. Also, was Tess a doormat for this guy? If so, then definitely not my cup of tea. Lol.


  3. Elizabeth says:

    I think it’s neat that a publisher sends you books to review. How does that happen? I may pick this up, because every once in a while I just love to immerse myself in bad romance.



  4. Shane Hall says:

    Sometimes experiencing the right thing at the right time can outshine a lot of the familiar elements I guess. For example, I definitely get some entertainment value off of bad movies when I’m in the mood for them.


  5. Timothy Gwyn says:

    Hi Jodie, followed you over from WordPress. Thanks for liking my blog post Herding Cats. The link from your ‘like’ email generated by WordPress still linked to your former site, by the way. Now I have manually added your new URL to my WordPress Reader list.


  6. Holly says:

    Interesting take on the relationship! Fanfiction is a bit of a guilty pleasure for me, although I’m certainly no One Direction fan. All of the hype surrounding the story pushed me to read through all three books in their messy, unedited glory on Wattpad more than a month ago now. For about a week or two, I even spent all of my breaks at work speed-reading them from the Wattpad app. My main issue with the story was how unbelievably frustrated I would feel after reading only a few chapters, mostly from the second and third books. The main characters drove me absolutely nuts! I like a flawed protagonist, anti-hero, whatever, but this was some kind of over-the-top craziness. Trashy is definitely the best way to describe it. I understand what you mean about not being able to put it down though. I felt like I had to finish the last book as soon as possible or else I was going to go mad. I guess I’m glad to say that it didn’t make me feel utterly hopeless like the ending of the last 50 Shades book, so there’s that.
    I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t interested in checking out this revised version sometime.


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