After Review

After by Anna Todd

Synopsis: “There was the time before Tessa met Hardin, and then there’s everything AFTER Life will never be the same. #Hessa

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, and tattoos, 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 disappears 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?”

Review:

3.25 Stars

Going into this book, I had really high expectations from seeing the movie trailer and hearing that it’s Harry Styles fanfic. I’m a huge Harry Styles fan, from his 1D days to his solo career, so I couldn’t wait to read this book. But once I started reading about Hardin (the character based on Harry) and the way he treated Tessa and those around him, I was really disappointed. I know that because I’m a Harry Styles fangirl, I have probably made him out to be greater than he is, but I find it really hard to believe that he would act like Hardin. For the first 200 or so pages, in my mind, Harry and Hardin were one because there were all of these descriptions of Hardin that fits Harry like the British accent, brown curly hair, green eyes, bird tattoos, and both of them being womanizers. But after a certain point, I was able to separate the two because Hardin is downright cruel at times.

The first impression of Hardin, I thought he was the typical bad boy (tough exterior, but with a good heart), but nope he is totally a bad boy, jerk, and a pain in the —. He literally leaves Tessa in tears in just about all of their interactions in the first half of the book. Then once they are together, his behavior is somewhat better, but he still has his moments of being a full on-jerk. I realize that just because people are in relationships, they can’t and shouldn’t change every little detail about themselves, but both Hardin and Tessa know that Hardin is a jerk.

Hardin has had a rough past with watching his mother get abused at a young age and having an alcoholic father in his life until he was ten, but that doesn’t excuse him from being a complete — to everyone to protect himself. He has built these walls that are impossible to break, and nobody truly knows the real Hardin (although I am starting to think that jerk Hardin is the real Hardin), even when he starts to talk to Tessa about some of his past, he still has so many things that he needs to overcome and conquer before he can truly be happy.

Tessa… she’s a smart girl with a caring heart, and let’s just say she’s not the smartest when choosing boyfriends. In the beginning, she was dating this guy. They go way back to a young age, and they know everything about each other. He’s smart and caring, but the only bad thing is that he’s a high school senior (not technically a bad thing but the transition between high school and college is something that people don’t necessarily understand until they go through it) and he tells Tessa’s mother a lot of things. Like the first time, Tessa got drunk at the frat party.

Tessa knows early on in the story that Hardin doesn’t treat her right, yet she still chooses him. She gives him chance after chance. Even after the “last chance,” she takes him back. This is what I didn’t understand. If you know that the person you are seeing or talking too treats you bad and that person doesn’t a) acknowledge the problem and tries to fix it or b) refuses to even acknowledge the situation, why would you stay. After being hurt by Hardin, you would think that she would realize that he won’t ever be who she needs him to be and leave, but nope she stays with him and stays on the road to emotional abuse.

Tessa’s mother is another problematic character. I know that parents want their child(ren) to succeed and be able to take care of themselves, but Tessa’s mother is so overbearing to the point that she controls every part of her life when she was at home, and she continues to rule her life during college. Her mother is so focused on making sure that Tessa is the best of the best that she doesn’t even try to consider how her daughter feels or even if Tessa wants to do it. This causes a strain in their relationship and in the end for Tessa to basically cut her out.

With all of this stuff above, I am going to read book two because to be honest I am hooked. After book two, we’ll see how #Hessa turns out. I know that I am probably going to regret reading the next book, but it’s like watching a video of somebody about to crash and burn and not being able to look away.

Playlist

Naked by James Arthur

Turning Tables by Adele

Mercy by Shawn Mendes

Jet Black Heart by 5 Seconds of Summer

Stay by The Vamps

Over and Out by 5 Seconds of Summer

I Knew You Were Trouble by Taylor Swift

*all lyrics belong to appropriate people*

Naked

“Hey, you there?
Can we take it to the next level, baby, do you dare?
Don’t be scared
‘Cause if you can say the words, I don’t know why I should care

‘Cause here I am, I’m givin’ all I can
But all you ever do is mess it up
Yeah, I’m right here, I’m tryin’ to make it clear
That getting half of you just ain’t enough

I’m not going to wait until you’re done
Pretending you don’t need anyone
I’m standing here naked
I’m standing here naked

I’m not gonna try ’til you decide
You’re ready to swallow all your pride
I’m standing here naked
I’m standing here naked

Hey, get out
I’ve got nothin’ left to give for you give me nothin’ now
Read my mouth
If you ever want me back, then your walls need breakin’ down”

I feel like this is the theme song for Tessa and Hardin’s relationship because she wants nothing more than to be with Hardin, but Hardin has built these walls that he isn’t sure how to break.

Turning Tables

“Close enough to start a war
All that I have is on the floor
God only knows what we’re fighting for
All that I say, you always say more

I can’t keep up with your turning tables
Under your thumb, I can’t breathe

So I won’t let you close enough to hurt me
No, I won’t ask you, you to just desert me
I can’t give you, what you think you gave me
It’s time to say goodbye to turning tables, yes
To turning tables”

This is for the first time that Tessa realizes that Hardin is a selfish jerk, at this point she claims that she is ready to cut all ties with him. Up to this point she has seen his hot/cold behavior, and Hardin knows how to make Tessa coming back even after she’s done with him.

Mercy

“You’ve got a hold of me
Don’t even know your power
I stand a hundred feet
But I fall when I’m around you

Show me an open door
Then you go and slam it on me
I can’t take anymore
I’m saying baby

Please have mercy on me
Take it easy on my heart
Even though you don’t mean to hurt me
You keep tearing me apart
Would you please have mercy, mercy on my heart
Would you please have mercy, mercy on my heart”

Again, this is about Tessa and Hardin’s messed up relationship, where Hardin has Tessa wrapped around his finger even though he rude and disrespectful.

Jet Black Heart

“Everybody’s got their demons
Even wide awake or dreaming”

Even though Hardin is a jerk, his past is still haunting him, and it affects his life more than people know.

“See a war, I wanna fight it
See a match, I wanna strike it
Every fire I’ve ignited
Faded to grey

But now that I’m broken
Now that you know it
Caught up in a moment
Can you see inside?

‘Cause I’ve got a jet black heart
And there’s a hurricane underneath it
Trying to keep us apart
I write with a poison pen
But these chemicals moving between us
Are the reason to start again

Now I’m holding on for dear life
There’s no way that we could rewind
Maybe there’s nothing after midnight
That could make you stay”

I think this summarizes the second half of the book pretty well because Hardin tells Tessa about his past, and there are so many times were Hardin screwed up and hopes that she’ll stay with him.

Stay

“See you can find me
The tallest building, in the tallest city
And I will build a ladder to the rooftops
Screaming from my lungs, “I’m sorry I messed up””

Hardin when Tessa finds out what he did at the very end.

“So darling, won’t you stay here?
I promise I can change
Darling, if you stay here
It won’t be a mistake
I know every conversation, it always ends the same
So darling if you stay here
I’ll find the words I couldn’t say
But only if you stay

Truth be told, I’m a mess when you’re away”

Literally how he feels every time after she leaves, just to come back.

Over and Out

“Because of you
I’m gone for good and that’s the truth
Because of you
I’m gone for good, I’ll be brand new
You can break me down just like you did before
Because of you
I’m gone for good and that’s me over and out”

Tessa at the very end of the book when she finds out what Hardin did, and he broke every piece of trust she had in him.

I Knew You Were Trouble

“Once upon time
A few mistakes ago
I was in your sights
You got me alone
You found me
You found me
You found me

I guess you didn’t care
And I guess I liked that
And when I fell hard
You took a step back
Without me, without me, without me

And he’s long gone
When he’s next to me
And I realize the blame is on me

‘Cause I knew you were trouble when you walked in
So shame on me now
Flew me to places I’d never been
So you put me down oh
I knew you were trouble when you walked in
So shame on me now
Flew me to places I’d never been
Now I’m lying on the cold hard ground”

This song is all how Hardin treated Tessa and used her. Tessa even knew that Hardin had a past of using girls and she saw first-hand of how he treats people and yet she still follows him around.

Have you read After? Did you like it? Let me know below!

Happy reading until next time,

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