After by Anna Todd: Review/ Discussion

I’ll be honest – I have been talking about writing this for a while. But I contemplated having to go back THROUGH this book and remember exactly what I didn’t like about it (it’s all been heavily repressed) and I was like is it worth it?

And then I saw the trailer for After We Collided… (for those blissfully unaware, that’s book 2 in the series. Now being made into a film).

angry laugh

*Cracks knuckles* Let’s do this.



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?

There was the time before Tessa met Hardin, and then there’s everything AFTER … Life will never be the same.


This is more of a discussion than a review and it does contain spoilers so if you, for some reason, are PLANNING on reading this yourself don’t read ahead.

I’m going to break down my issues to a few key points.

One. Hardin. HaRdIn ScOtT. The fact that Hardin is based on Harry Styles should make us all slightly uncomfortable, especially any inner 13 year old 1D fangirls out there. He is a walking stereotype – a troubled teen, with tattoos, commitment issues and a British accent. But Hardin is problematic for so many reasons, primarily that he is actually an abusive, psychotic human being.

For a second, I think he might slap me.

He answers me by grabbing the lamp off the nightstand and slamming it against the wall

Big nope.

There is no relationship in which this is okay. Though Hardin does not physically abuse Tessa, he spends the entire book verbally and emotionally destroying Tessa’s character – and this is somehow excused because it’s “love”. At one point, he openly admits to going through her phone and deleting her voicemails. Nothing about what Hardin does should be excused in the name of love, nor should it be idolised. If I was Harry Styles I would sue. 

mr stylesMr Styles, I apologise on everyone’s behalf.

Two. Cheating. I could never excuse cheating – Ngoc would have my head – but I think cheating can happen in books because sadly cheating happens in real life. But in After, Todd writes it to be glorified. Tessa claims to be ‘confused’ but openly acknowledges that what she is doing is wrong, yet does nothing to change her actions.

I can’t keep kissing Hardin and cheating on Noah



Yet she does. She continues to kiss Hardin and do MUCH more with him before finally ending it with Noah. And her reasons for cheating? She’s bored with her boyfriend. Honestly Hardin is no better either, actively pursing a girl he knows is in a relationship. He even goes onto demean Tessa and Noah’s relationship due to their lack of sex. At no point is Hardin apologetic, and at no point does Tessa feel genuinely sorry either.

Three. The ‘love story’. In my eyes, there is no love story in After. Because there is nothing healthy or romantic about Hardin and Tessa’s relationship. Even if you excuse the foundations of cheating (which I’m sorry but no), it doesn’t even feel like these two characters like each other. Hardin spends the novel rejecting Tessa and getting annoyed whenever Tessa rejects him back. He physically fights another guy when he kisses her after a party game, despite himself kissing another girl in front of her. As for Tessa, she spends the novel crying (drink some water girl you must be dehydrated), attempting to control Hardin, and playing a twisted version of “hard to get” as she goes on dates with Hardin’s friends in an attempt to make him jealous, and shocks no one as she kissed another boy in front of Hardin.

I have cried so many times since I met him, and if I get tangled back into his web, this is how it will always be

Wow sounds romantic hey.


Their entire relationship, if one can even call it that, is Hardin insulting Tessa, Tessa insulting Hardin, Tessa crying, and them having sex. Throw in a break up or twenty, and repeat. And again, as with the cheating, I understand that relationships like this do exist. But to call it a romance is the issue. Todd promoting this abusive relationship to young adults, implying that as characters Hardin and Tessa are two people we should ‘ship’, and not making it abundantly clear that this is NOT healthy, that is not okay. 

All of the above is not even mentioning the poor writing style, the lack of plot progression, the poorly written sex scenes and realisation that these two dimensional characters do not actually change.

And the END. It ends with it being revealed that Hardin started dating Tessa as a bet to take her virginity? I wasn’t even shocked – I was thankful that this might actually end their ‘relationship’, and yet sadly horrified to learn that there would be another 3 books to follow.

I have to give After one star – I did read the whole thing (despite screaming through it). And I will be honest – maybe there is a change in future books. Maybe 2-4 in the series demonstrate massive depth and explores the unhealthy nature of abusive relationships. I will never know, because you would have to give me SO MANY DUMPLINGS to read them. And given what I’ve seen of After, I highly doubt it.

byeMe trying not to chuck my kindle across the room.


1starLet me know your thoughts if you’ve read the book, or if you want to come with me to joint therapy sessions where we can debrief through this trauma together.



16 thoughts on “After by Anna Todd: Review/ Discussion

  1. Great review! I’ve heard SO much about this book and I’m honestly really confused. I don’t get how a book that’s apparently badly written and seems to glorify cheating (MAJOR GAG) and unhealthy abusive relationships can be so… popular. I am sounding so judgemental right now and I’m sorry but I just… Don’t get how people say it’s one of their favourite romances ever 🙈 Like, WHY? Lol the only reason I’d ever pick up this book is to see how truly awful and cringeworthy it is but I’m not that much of a masochist. And I’m pretty sure my Kindle is the one that’d suffer most for it as I’d likely be throwing it across the room (probably multiple times) while reading! Lol love this post.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was so confused!! I heard so many good things and honestly, I didn’t expect this. I don’t even want to go near the movie either.

      If this is someone’s favourite romance I am CONCERNED.

      If you want to get mad, read in bed so you can gently drop your kindle like I did on a pillow, or

      Thanks for reading my post!

      💚 Nish


  2. Don’t know if you’ve seen the movie version on Netflix. It toned down some of the book elements and it was STILL a hot mess. I am screaming with you in spirit.

    Seriously, though, with this series and Fifty Shades, abusive relationships have been getting a HUGE platform. It sucks. It also makes me wonder about the author – like, did someone teach them this is what love is?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I saw the trailer and that was enough for me haha. Thank you for joining me in the void where we can scream about these things.

      I KNOW. And again like I think there should be a platform for talking about this things but glorifying it is so scary. Pls stop.

      Thanks for reading!

      💚 Nish

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I had no idea Hardin was based on Harry Styles that’s… interesting. I haven’t read any of the books but watched the first film on Netflix and wasn’t impressed. It was the lack of plot that confused me so much in the film so I can’t even imagine what kind of maze the book is. I didn’t understand why she cheated if she was such a “good girl”, but none of the characters made sense. And I totally agree with your points, I wasn’t seeing any genuine connection or a healthy relationship. Great post!

    Anika |

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha yes it is very interesting that someone looked at Harry Styles and was like – you seem like you’d be an abusive, controlling boyfriend.

      Tessa is very inconsistent you’re right! And Hardin is consistently horrible – not sure what’s worse.

      Thank you for reading!

      💚 Nish


  4. Ah man – I have been waiting for this roast for eons and let me tell you, it did NOT disappoint. But I’m also feeling personally attacked though because I, yes – me, rated After 4 stars… *Hangs head in shame*. I know, I know what you’re thinking! What the actual heck was I thinking???

    The thing is, I read After at the right time. I was looking for something angsty and equally tashy to get lost in when I started living alone for the first time. It was a lot to cope with and this series pulled me through. Okay, I know it’s not award winning literature but for what it’s worth, I was engaged and low key living for the drama. Hope that doesn’t make me an awful human being ahaha *no really – I’m not kidding*. 😂😂😂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am glad you enjoyed my post but I AM SO SORRY PLEASE DON’T FEEL ATTACKED!

      I was obviously in a very different headspace than you when I read it! And I was annoyed when I read it but even more annoyed with the reread because I purposely found all the negatives – I am sure there are some positives (few and far between).

      I think it’s important that it helped you with dealing with a tough time, I definitely have books like that! And honestly, I think I’m more mad at the people that ship the couple to the ends of the earth without acknowledging the problems rather than the book itself. Because the drama was great, but the author needs to acknowledge the problems they have.


      💚 Nish (salty at books, never at you)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I have to admit, I got VERY caught up in the drama of the romance in After. It wasn’t that I shipped them exactly, but I think that the romance is so turbulent that you can’t help but become fully invested. I cried, laughed and screamed and I think that’s what made it so fun for me. I was incredibly lonely at the time and this book followed me everywhere – the perfect distraction.

        That being said, I quickly lost momentum when I read the rest of the series. After was by far, the best book. And that’s saying a lot. After We Collided was okay but After We Fell was way too long for me. It kind of felt a little lacking and I found myself increasingly annoyed at Tessa’s character. The thing is, Anna Todd always ends each book on some massive emotional cliff hanger – she knows how to reel you right back in. After Ever Happy was the final nail in the coffin though. I got super annoyed at the constant back and forth between Hardin and Tessa and the climax/fallout felt incredibly rushed.

        I was happy with the outcome [I think there was only one way the series could end] but the execution of the ending let the series down. It felt very much just thrown together. If you don’t read past After you won’t miss out on much 😉

        And thanks for making me feel like my /questionable/ opinions on After are justified. I was having some serious Twilight era flash backs there haha! 😉

        Love, your saltmate ❤

        Liked by 1 person

    gosh, I already knew this book was bad, but reading this review reaffirmed my stance on it even more, if that’s even possible. I’m sorry that you had to read all of this! And I’m so sad that some teenage girls will/have read this book and view Tessa and Hardin’s relationship as romantic

    Liked by 1 person

    I feel like there is so much wrong with this book (and After We Collided) that I just don’t know what to do. Especially since it is YA? If a younger reader were to open this up and think “wow, what an ideal relationship” that could be a bad impact on their future because they are idolising abuse!
    “Drink some water girl”, yes! She should, I do feel bad for Tessa as a character but think that she in no way was a complete victim, she antagonised Hardin a lot, and like you mentioned she cheated on Noah because she was bored.
    This was such an on point review, I loved reading it.
    – Emma xxx
    (also I apologise for any spelling mistakes, I am trying to do this from my phone )

    Liked by 2 people

    1. THANK YOU FOR THE VALIDATION! Tessa is the worst and Hardin is also the worst? Like that is the ONLY compatibility I see.
      Please let 2020 be the year where authors stop validating abusive relationships so we hopefully no longer have to read them!

      And no apologies are necessary (nor where any mistakes spotted).

      Thanks for reading (and agreeing),

      💚 Nish

      Liked by 1 person

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