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.
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!