After by Anna Todd

So, I’m obsessed with those cake decorating videos Facebook keeps recommending me on the new videos tab and willingly clicked over to check for a new one when I opened the app and saw a notification for a new video. It was actually a trailer for a movie coming out soon. I watched the trailer and was like “hmmm, new Twilight?” I googled some and learned it was fanfic, and was intrigued enough to read the book on my Scribd App. I binge read/listened to the 4 book series and have left some thoughts below. Have you read the books? Let me know what you think of them!

Loves

  • Hardin and Tessa are definitely realistic in their dysfunction but refusal to change. On the one hand it’s exhausting, on the other, it feels more realistic than typical romance novels.
  • Character growth happens and feels like it comes from ugly feelings or realizing you can’t fix others. I like that there’s ugly in the book. Again, it’s relatable.
  • You hate both the main characters for at least half the book. To be fair, I had to fight with myself on which list this one fell on, but I settled on love because I’ve loved my nonfiction friends through some shit I knew they shouldn’t do, so why not the fictional friends?
  • If you decide to read these, you should totally go for the audiobook version. The voice actress for Tessa is lack luster, injecting almost no emotion at all. However, the male voice actor is English. I could just make that a hard stop, but he does actually act while reading. If not for the rest of the list below, I’d be tempted to listen to the books again just to hear his voice.

Didn’t loves

  • The character growth would be more realistic if they didn’t move through all of these phases in a matter of months. I’m not sure why everything had to be packed urgently into less than a year only to drag out the ending.
  • The ending was ridiculously long. Seriously. The epilogue made me start laughing at how endless it was. A year later, 6 years later, 10 years after that, 2 years after that. It’s the entire reason I didn’t, and won’t, crack open Before, the prologue about Hardin.
  • The writing overall is kind of cringeworthy. The lack of contractions in the dialogue is brutal and kind of explained in book three by sayin Tessa is “too proper” or something like that. It honestly felt like the author got some shit for it while posting the story in pieces online and tried to make up and explanation.
  • While the dysfunction is realistic, toward book 4, the characters have these long inner dialogues where they recap the first three books. It’s torturous, and, sadly sum up everything, so you could probably get away with reading only book 4.
  • I have zero clue how this will make more than one movie out of this, but struggle with how they’d capture this much dysfunction in only one movie. I’ll be honest, it’s most likely going to be a hard pass from me on seeing it at all, so I’m not sure why I’ve spent this much time mulling it over.

Bottom line: I semi hated the books, but also enjoyed their grittiness. Either way, I was moved enough to jump on here and post about them when I haven’t been overly reliable or consistent. That right there tells you it made me feel something.

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