Whilst I may still be in love with the After series, I can assure you my obsession has calmed right down.
My initial infatuation with this book series and movie was slightly unhealthy for a grown woman to be obsessed with, but I enjoyed the feeling all the same. I haven’t felt that obsessed since the Twilight books were released and that feels like a lifetime ago.
After reading After We Collided (the sequel to After) I didn’t feel the same desperation to read the next book (although, let me be clear, I have started the third book and intend on consuming it in the coming days). I went back to the first book and skimmed through pages with my writer’s hat on, trying to pinpoint what exactly made the book so good. The storyline is so old school and basic, and yet, it’s taken a huge chunk of the world’s population by storm. WHY?
I then found a review of this book on Goodreads that nailed an explanation I searching for. A user named Angela wrote:
… Well let me break it down for you, this is the best worst thing I’ve ever read. It’s so addictive it’s insane. It’s like the potato chip bag of books. You don’t want to eat more than a handful but somehow wind up eating the whole bag.”
Yep. That was me. Reading page after page thinking the writing was pretty average, no entrenched messages in the story, no real character development and nothing other than the characters fighting and making up after chapter after chapter after chapter. And yet – I couldn’t stop reading. If I put the book down, I found myself reaching for it minutes later. The bag of potato chip analogy absolutely nailed it.
(Blurb taken from the back of the book)
Tessa has everything to lose. Hardin has nothing to lose… except her.
After a tumultuous beginning to their relationship, Tessa and Hardin were on the path to making things work. Tessa knew Hardin could be cruel, but when a bombshell revelation is dropped about the origins of their relationship—and Hardin’s mysterious past—Tessa is beside herself.
Hardin will always be… Hardin. But is he really the deep, thoughtful guy Tessa fell madly in love with despite his angry exterior—or has he been a stranger all along? She wishes she could walk away. It’s just not that easy. Not with the memory of passionate nights spent in his arms. His electric touch. His hungry kisses.
Still, Tessa’s not sure she can endure one more broken promise. She put so much on hold for Hardin—school, friends, her mom, a relationship with a guy who really loved her, and now possibly even a promising new career. She needs to move forward with her life.
Hardin knows he made a mistake, possibly the biggest one of his life. He’s not going down without a fight. But can he change? Will he change for love?
The things I loved …
- I’ve mentioned it many a time, but I loved the addictiveness of the story. Being sucked into something that’s complete bullshit, but you don’t care. This book series is sort of like Twilight and Fifty Shades of Grey combined, without the vampires and the male lead is abusive in a non SnM way. There’s no point in denying it, I’m here for the roundabout story.
- The drama – I don’t want any in my own life thanks, but that of fictional characters, I am here for. I kind of got satisfaction out of Hardin messing up all the time and Tessa making him fret.
- Character development – to the author’s credit, she did have the characters evolve just slightly, and at one point, I had hope the story would take a different route (but it did not).
- How easy it was to read – there were no words that went over my head or that I had to look up and the descriptive passages are enough to paint a picture, but not excessive. Nothing worse than 15 fucking pages of describing what a fucking field or school looks like. Lord help me.
The things I didn’t love …
- By the end of it, I was over the hectic sex scenes. I found myself skipping through them.
- The lead character Hardin Scott exudes emotional abusive behaviour towards the female lead, Tessa, and is also prone to violent outbursts. If anything, these intensify as the story progresses. In the first book I overlooked it, but in this book, it began to frustrate me and made me go off him a little. I also wanted to scream at Tessa for constantly forgiving him for treating her like absolute shit (but I get it, he’s hot and dangerous and all that). Let me be clear, the movie version of Hardin Scott is BEAUTIFUL – everyone go look at his face.
Yes. Even though the depth and storyline of the book isn’t award-winning, the addictiveness is. A movie franchise was born thanks to these books and as I’ve said, even though it’s corny, it gets you all in the feels. Anyone who read After and loved it, will thoroughly enjoy this as the follow-up.