“You won’t know how lucky you are to be able to spend your life with the other half of your soul until you have to spend your life without them.”-Hardin, After Ever Happy
Author: Anna Todd
My Thoughts: After was originally One Direction fanfiction that was first shared on Wattpad and was eventually published. I did not read the Wattpad version of the After books because I knew I would not be able to read this series that had characters named after One Direction. I read the published version and before I share my thoughts about this series, I know this series had received a lot of hate but I think people forget that this was originally fanfiction. Although this book makes many references to great writers like Austen and Brontë, we have to remember that this book isn’t meant to be the next classic. With that said, lets get down to the nitty-gritty…
After is the beginning of this back and forth “love” story between our two main characters, Hardin and Tessa. Tessa is starting her freshman year in college. She is so excited because she is going to be on her own for the first time and away from her over-bearing mother. In walks Hardin and Tessa’s world is turned upside down as she becomes attracted to this boy covered in tattoos and metal in his face. This book annoyed me because Hardin was a real prick (sorry, not sorry). The way he spoke to Tessa and treated her in general was wrong. What I hated more was Tessa letting him! After finally gaining freedom from her over-bearing mother, I thought she would have grown a little back bone, but no that not the case. The only reason for why I continued this series was because of the ending…(SPOILER ALERT): Hardin is pursuing Tessa because he made a bet with this friends that he would take her virginity. Really??…and she still ends up taking him back.
After We Collided was a blur to me. The amount of arguing that occurs between Tessa and Hardin is so overwhelming. I was tired, like mentally and physically drained, after reading this book because of their constant bickering. Hardin being Hardin, he’s still a prick. We see Tessa trying to hold her own, but usually ends up back in Hardin’s arm and the whole cycle begins again. Once again, this book ends on a cliff hanger where Tessa and Hardin run into a homeless-looking man who may possibly be Tessa’s father who walked out of her life when she was a little girl. I had to take a break after this book because I could not handle another argument between these two.
After We Fell reveals many secrets. At this point, my views of Hardin kind of start to shift a bit (maybe he’s not such a prick, but rather a person who doesn’t really know how to love considering his upbringing). Hardin’s friends, who also kind of became Tessa’s friends turn out to be some seriously messed up people when they drug her and then attempted to harm her while videoing to who scene. So we see that Hardin was trying to protect Tessa by telling her to stop hanging around his “friends”. Another big secret revealed is that Hardin’s father is not actually Hardin’s father, but rather his father’s best friend (and mother’s ex-lover) is his father. At this point, I felt sorry for Hardin. Everyone he has ever known has lied to him which is why he is so messed up.
After Ever Happy is the conclusion to this tiring “love” story (SIDEBAR: what is up with that title??). This is the only book in this series that I can say that I “like”, more like tolerate. In this book, Hardin is trying to deal with these new revelations and he ends up pushing Tessa away and this time she really doesn’t look back. The part where this story shifts greatly is when Tessa finds her dad’s body in their apartment after he overdosed. Tessa loses herself and I loved that she didn’t go running back into Hardin’s arms when he tries to get her back after finding out about her father’s death. I also loved when she went to New York to find herself and see who she really was with Hardin because she learned so much about herself. She realized that she was able to be Tessa without Hardin. But of course, this is a love story and they are fated “to be”, so they do end up married with a family. By the end of this series, both characters have really grown and become their own person. Tessa is not so annoying and Hardin is really caring and loving and I no longer want to run them over with my car.
Overall, I was so relieved when I finished this series because I can’t handle anymore Tessa and Hardin. Going into this series, I didn’t have any high hopes thinking this was going to be the next best thing. The writing is kind of poor in the first two books and although it gets a little better by the end, overall it could have been better. Also, I did not understand why Todd felt that all these chapters were needed. This story should have been compacted and maybe it would have read a little better. On another note, After is in the works to become a movie (surprise, surprise). I don’t know if I will subject myself to that torture, we’ll see…
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars!
See you between the pages ♥