“He was a coward and a liar and he knew it. He could only hope that she would have mercy on him.”- Before
Author: Anna Todd
Publication Date: December 8, 2015
Publisher: Gallery Books
Synopsis via Goodreads: Book Five of the After series—Anna Todd’s Wattpad fanfiction that racked up one billion reads online and captivated romance readers across the globe! As told by Hardin and other characters,Before will explore the hero’s life before he met Tessa, reveal what happens after After, give you new insights on their turbulent romance—and revel in the awesome power of true love. #HESSA
WARNING: This review may contain spoilers for the After series!
The After series by Anna Todd was the first full series review I ever did on The Daydreaming Bookworm. If you read that review, you know that I have a VERY complicated relationship with this series. I HATE IT! But at the same time, I don’t. My forever struggle with #Hessa.
I contemplated for a while whether or not I would read Before, but in the end, I gave in because I wanted to compare the Wattpad version to published version. I have to say, I am EXTREMELY surprised by the published version of Before. First, it is VERY different from the Wattpad version, which is interesting because the previous published books in the After series don’t change much from their Wattpad counterparts. Second, this book is not over 150 chapters! Thank you editors!
The book is split into three parts: Before, During, and After. Therefore, to make this review easier, I will be doing the same and splitting the review into three parts and discussing each part separately. Let’s get this review started!
In part 1, we learn more about some of the girls from Hardin’s past and the events that led up to them meeting Hardin.
♥ Natalie: Natalie is such a sweetheart who was just at the wrong place and the wrong time and unfortunately became the first victim of Hardin’s little game. Fortunately for her, her story ends on a brighter note and even though she doesn’t have much, she has everything she needs and loves.
♥ Molly: I HATED Molly throughout the After series. I didn’t like her personality, she was just constantly causing trouble and being a little too ‘extra’. But after learning about her past, my feelings of hate turned into appreciation. Gosh, Molly had it hard and her story made me shed some tears. Deep down, she IS a good person, just a little lost and I wish she was shown in a more positive light in the previous After books.
♥ Melissa: Melissa is another girl from Hardin’s past and just like Molly, I wish she was shown in a more positive light because she’s not as bad as SHE thinks she is. She has goals, DREAMS and wants to make something of herself. But family issues make it hard to do so and they eventually lead her down a dark path where she becomes the person she swore she would never become.
♥ Steph: I HATED Steph and I STILL hate Steph. I CAN’T with her. She has not learned from her past and she is still a manipulative person who only cares about her own needs. No HEA for Steph!
Part 2 was the hardest part to read because it is told from Hardin’s POV and I HATE Hardin with a passion! His internal dialogue makes me so sick because he is just so selfish and rude. While I understand that Hardin didn’t have the best upbringing, I would like to think that after witnessing such a crime, he would’ve had more respect for women. But he doesn’t. He doesn’t have any regards for anyone else’s feelings but his own. It isn’t until Tessa puts him in his place does he finally open his eyes to see the mess he has made.
One thing that I found interesting while reading this part of the book was that at the beginning of each chapter, the reader got to learn more about Hardin’s childhood and how he became who he is today. I think Todd was trying to get the reader to feel sympathy for Hardin, but NO, I’m sorry, I can’t! I still stand by my feelings of hate and nothing is going to change that.
In part 3, we see what life is like for a few of the characters years later.
♥ Zed: Zed is still hung up on Tessa, even though he does approve of Tessa and Hardin’s relationship. His ending shows some promise as he meets a girl at a party who could possible change things around for him and maybe be just what he was searching for all along.
♥ Landon:*FANGIRLING* Landon is my FAVORITE character in the After series. He is such a sweetheart, complete perfection and the voice of reason throughout this ‘fated romance’. I won’t go into his ending because he is actually getting his own spin-off duology so I don’t want to give away the spoilers.
♥ Christian: Things work out pretty well for Christian. Even though he is a little banged up, he has his family and a new child and life is good.
♥ Smith: Smith is ADORABLE! I loved his little snippet and seeing how his relationship with Hardin has evolved and grown over the years. Hardin is a great big brother to him and their bond is stronger than ever!
♥ Hessa: Oh Hessa…while I have a hard time understanding this relationship, I will say I am pleased with how things worked out between these two. Also, I’m extremely happy that this love story is finally coming to an end.
Like I said before, the After series is not the best series you will ever read and for those of you who do decide to start this series, just remember one thing: this was originally Wattpad fanfiction! It was meant for entertainment and I will say that Hardin and Tessa’s story is far from a boring read.
Now that #Hessa has finally come to an end, I am so ready for Landon’s story. Todd’s writing has improved quite a bit over the years and I hope she does Landon’s story justice, or I will NOT be a happy reader!