Received from Publisher
Series: After #1
Author: Anna Todd
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Source: Review Copy
Synopsis from Goodreads
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, 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?
Received from Publisher
I’m at a complete loss as to where to start with this review; for one I would like to have a complete soapbox rant about Hardin but there were so much depth to him as a character I’m going to combine it all together, and two I never in a million years imagined myself reading a One Direction fanfic (hell must have frozen over LOL)
Told in first person from Tessa’s point of view. She is very analytical at the start, bordering on OCD, having lead a very sheltered life she is quiet and shy. She has been dominated by her overbearing mother, her life has been basically controlled with her mother projecting all her bitterness and regret onto Tessa. I really liked her from the beginning, even with her slightly judgemental tendencies For all of Tessa’s mothers faults she has always tried to provide what she thinks is best for Tessa, they have a complicated but close relationship maintained by Tessa’s desire to make her mother proud of her. Her father left when she was younger adding to her mother’s negativity.
College is a huge adjustment for Tessa, more so on a social, emotional and personal basis rather than the work. Being out from under her mother’s thumb, Tessa experience a type of freedom she has never known before, while it can be intoxicating Tessa manages to remain planted mostly in reality. Due to her mother’s domineering Tessa has lacks social skills making her an outcast. While she convinces herself she is happy the way her life is it is obvious underneath she is lonely and hesitant of people.
The biggest adjustment comes in the form of her tatted up roommate, Steph and her friends, including Hardin. Trouble with a capital T, Hardin is openly antagonistic from the offset, his defense mechanism in overdrive around Tessa. Is there a connection there? The chemistry between Tessa and Hardin is off the charts, instinctual and beyond control, is it pheromones at work or the soul-mate principle
Now for my Hardin rant, OMG this guy absolutely messed with my head. He has a Jekyll and Hyde persona, he is one person with Tessa and another with his so-called friends. I was always questioning which personality was really him. Throw in his strained family situation alongside revelations about his childhood and you have one very messed up boy. I even think he may have sociopathic tendencies, showing little to no regret of his actions. He is so freaking complicated and volatile; at times I truly hated him while the snippets of his back-story played with my emotions, softening my attitude to him. Unfortunately, the inclusion of an alcoholic father and the way in which it has shapes children was uncomfortably realistic for me.
There were times when I literally wanted to shake Tessa into standing up for herself. Hardin really needed to be told to go take a hike at times. The constant love, hate, hurt cycle really messed with my head and my heart. While I was in full rant mode while reading there was no way I could put the story aside. It is very compelling, in a twisted angst filled fashion
Aside from Tessa’s tendency to give-in to Hardin I really liked seeing her growing confidence as the story progressed. Especially regarding her looks and style. I also really liked how comfortable she was with Hardin’s family, although I did find it a little strange hat she would embed herself so thoroughly into their lives without Hardin. I didn’t know whether to admire her ability to love and be loved or whether to think of her as needy.
My anticipation to find out what happens next is killing me. Thank goodness it is only a small wait for the next book. I can’t go without saying, I’m totally going to bitch slap Molly if she carries on with her antics. Please Anna make something bad happen to her