Review by Ursula U.
Give me a broken boy and a hot angst-ridden relationship any day of the week.
I couldn’t put this book down! It went with me everywhere so I could get my Hessa fix every spare moment I had. Talk about getting hooked from page one!
Tessa has moved into her dorm for her freshman year in college, she is already planning her classes and looking for an internship once she is settled, if there is one thing Tessa has clear it’s what she wants in life and where she sees herself in the future…at least until Hardin Scott walks into her life...Nothing could have prepared her for the turmoil ahead, or for the many times her heart would get broken and stitched back together at Hardin's hands.
Things for Tessa start changing the minute she meets her new roommate Stephanie, covered in tattoos and piercings the same as Stephanie’s group of friends, Hardin among them.
Tessa and Hardin are complete opposites. She is a good girl, excels in school, has the perfect boyfriend and has always been very sheltered by her controlling mother. If there is one thing I can tell you about Tessa is that she is most definitely an innocent girl. Hardin on the other hand is anything but innocent, he is without a doubt a bad boy. Tattoos, piercings, a rotten attitude plus a dirty mouth and of course he gets around, you can find him with a different girl every weekend…oh wait! did I mention that he is smoking hot and British?... Yup, I know, exactly what they tell us all to stay away from, and Tessa was no exception. She quickly finds herself unable to stay away from Hardin though, no matter how hard she tries, no matter how determined she is after he's been mean or dismissive with her, one look one smile and her resolve falters every time.
Hardin is not only a bad boy though, he is broken in a way and so is Tessa. They both have dealt with life altering family issues and even though they have channeled them differently they have more in common than they think.
Hardin lashes out and pushes those who love him or care for him away, Tessa though has gotten under his skin and things have started to change for him and the way he feels for her, I think this is what scares him and why he is so cruel to her sometimes, the lies and the coldness all part of his defense mechanism.
Though I’m sure you know where this is heading by now, calling Tessa and Hardin’s relationship a rollercoaster is the understatement of the year! The fighting and making up at times made me want to scream! I was equally frustrated by both of them, Hardin for being a total and absolute jerk (sometimes a bit too much) and Tessa for a couple reasons, while I would have liked to see her stand her ground I bit more it also aggravated me that sometimes she didn’t know when to step back and give him some breathing space.
That’s what captivated me though, it was real and hot and suffocating and my heart ached for both of them.
Anna writes in such a way that really allows you to understand and care for both characters and see past their flaws. As furious as Hardin could sometimes make me, I was just as easily disarmed by his vulnerability, Tessa was able to see past the barriers he put up and reach him in a way no one else ever has, it felt like she was made just for him, I know that’s sappy.. but for real you guys!
The love that grows between them over time is that all-consuming love that makes it hard to breathe, and though they often feel like they have reached a point where they think they just can’t continue with this back and forth, they can’t seem to stay away from each other, it’s like an invisible string that’s tied them together.
Tessa (and the reader) see how tormented Hardin is and you can’t help (like Tessa) but to want to fix him, be there for him and tell him that you will never leave him while running your fingers through his magnificent hair *swoon*
But are there things that hurt so deeply and cause so much damage, that no matter how much you love that person you just can never forgive them? Tessa may find herself in that situation, looking back at the many times everyone told her to stay away from Hardin before he broke her heart.
The end of the book was… well let’s just say that I was blindsided and in total and utter shock, I knew there was something coming, something that sooner or later would surface but nothing could have prepared me for what actually happened.
Total devastation is putting it mildly! My heart broke into a million pieces and I couldn’t read through the angry tears rolling down my cheeks.
AFTER made me laugh,swoon,cry, made me want to punch Hardin (and Tessa sometimes)… well it just made me feel.. ALL THE FEELS!
I usually like putting time between sequels but this time I can’t wait, I need to see how all this plays out, my stomach is in knots and I just don’t see how anyone can come back from what happened…I finished AFTER and I seriously didn't know what to do with myself and this pain...Well played Anna!
I'd like to thank Gallery Books for providing the ARCS for AFTER and AFTER We Collided, keep an eye out on the blog for my review of Book 2 next month!