After (Todd novel)

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After
After 2014 novel cover.jpg
Cover of the original 2014 release
AuthorAnna Todd
Audio read byElizabeth Louise
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
SeriesThe After Series
GenreRomance, young adult fiction, contemporary
PublisherGallery Books
Publication date
October 21, 2014
Media typePrint (hardback)
Pages592
ISBN978-1476792484
Followed byAfter We Collided (novel) 

After is a 2014 young adult romance novel written by American author Anna Todd and published by Gallery Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster. After is the first installment of the After Series.

A film adaptation of the same name was released on April 12, 2019.

Background[edit]

After was originally released as a fanfiction on Wattpad. Anna Todd's writing of the novel was inspired by the music and fandom of One Direction. She took inspiration from many of the alleged relationships Harry Styles, a member of One Direction, has been in. She was also inspired by many novel characters from her favourite classics and from other Wattpad books.[1]

Characters[edit]

  • Tessa Young – An 18-year-old girl who starts her first year of college.
  • Hardin Scott – A rebellious, brooding British student who Tessa is drawn to.
  • Landon Gibson – Tessa's best friend and Hardin's step-brother.
  • Ken Scott – Hardin's dad and current chancellor at Washington State University.
  • Karen Scott – Ken's new wife and Landon's mother.
  • Carol Young – Tessa's mother.
  • Noah Porter – Tessa's high school boyfriend.
  • Zed Evans – Hardin's friend from college who is interested in Tessa.
  • Steph Jones – An edgy, red-headed girl and Tessa's roommate.
  • Molly Samuels – A mean girl who has on and off relations with Hardin.

Plot[edit]

Tessa Young, an incoming freshman at Central Washington University, arrives at college with her mother, Carol, and boyfriend Noah. The conservative Carol is horrified by Tessa's alternative-styled roommate, upperclassman Steph Jones. When Carol fails to convince Tessa to switch dorms, Carol warns her daughter about the dangers of college parties before leaving with Noah. The next morning, Tessa returns to her room to find one of Steph's friends inside, an attractive, tattooed boy who makes several rude comments to Tessa. Steph tells Tessa about the boy, Hardin Scott, who is a rebellious figure on campus.

On the first day of college classes, Tessa befriends Landon Gibson, who is also an English major. Tessa learns from Landon that Hardin is his future step-brother since Landon's mom and Hardin's dad are engaged. After the first week of college, Tessa reluctantly accompanies Steph to the party and plays ‘Truth or Dare’ with Steph's friends, including Hardin, during which she admits she is a virgin. Hardin is dared to kiss Tessa, but she runs from the group, embarrassed. Hardin catches up to her and they share an intense moment which he takes as trivial. Carol disapproves of Tessa's activities and blames Steph, so Tessa promises to ignore her.

Hardin brings Tessa to a stream in the woods, where he gives Tessa her first orgasm. When Tessa implies the two are now dating, Hardin says he doesn't date, leaving Tessa heartbroken. She subsequently ignores Hardin and invites Noah to stay the night with her. That night, Landon calls Tessa to help him control a drunken Hardin. After an argument with Hardin, they are intimate together again. The next morning, Tessa begs Noah for forgiveness for leaving him alone, and he says he'll think about it. Hardin breaks up with Tessa for refusing to reveal her infidelity to Noah, but they later resolve the conflict.

Tessa meets Ken Scott, Hardin’s father and the chancellor of the college, and he invites her to dinner at his home. During the course of the evening, Hardin argues with Ken and storms out to the backyard, where Tessa consoles him. Tessa stays the night and witnesses Hardin's intense nightmares. The next morning, Hardin takes Tessa back to her room, only for Noah to be waiting for them. A fight almost breaks out between the two men, but Tessa tells Noah to leave after Hardin indirectly confesses his love for her. Landon warns Tessa to be careful with Hardin.

Ken uses his connections to get Tessa an internship at a publishing company, asking in exchange for Tessa to convince Hardin to come to his wedding with Karen. Hardin, initially pleased with the news of Tessa’s internship, becomes cold when he meets with his friends and abandons Tessa. Tessa later finds Hardin with Molly on his lap. Fuming, Tessa plays Truth or Dare with the group and kisses Zed to upset Hardin. Hardin, in turn, dares Molly to kiss him. When Tessa tries to run away, Hardin chases her and declares his love in front of everyone. Tessa rejects him and leaves. Hardin sullenly takes back his declaration, so Tessa goes on a date with Zed. They attend a party, and after Tessa returns to Zed’s apartment, they kiss. However, this makes Tessa realize how strong her feelings are for Hardin. She returns to Hardin, and they confess their love for each other. Hardin finally agrees to attend his father’s wedding.

They return to Tessa’s dorm and find a furious Carol waiting for them. Carol demands Tessa stop seeing Hardin and to go back to Noah or else be cut off. Tessa becomes annoyed with Hardin's mood swings, but that night, passion leads them to have sex for the first time, causing Tessa to bleed from ill preparation.

Several of Hardin’s friends flirt with Tessa, leading to Hardin becoming angry. Tessa agrees to move in with him to a shared apartment, but he doesn’t come home on the second night together, upsetting Tessa. Carol finds out Tessa has been living with Hardin and slaps her before cutting her off.

On their way to Ken's wedding, Tessa spots Zed with terrible bruises he seemingly got from Hardin. Tessa confronts Hardin over his suspicious behavior, revealing their living situation to the group, leading him to finally admit the truth: after the game of Truth or Dare, Hardin and Zed bet on if he could take Tessa’s virginity, which Hardin proved by showing the group the bloody sheets and condom from their first time having sex. Hardin says that over the course of fulfilling the bet, he fell in love with Tessa, and begs for her forgiveness. She flees and runs into Zed. She asks for all the details of the bet and leaves with him, leaving Hardin behind.

Reception[edit]

The book was criticized for glamorization of an abusive relationship,[2][3] poor character arcs and Todd's lack of style and prose.[citation needed]

Kelly Faircloth of Jezebel said it was "sloppy fan fiction." She also compared its prose to that of Fifty Shades of Grey, writing, "If you complained about the prose of 50 Shades, 'After' is going to send you in a conniption."[2] A writer for Sheknows complained that the story was unoriginal and the dialogue was stilted. He also compared the book to Fifty Shades, writing, "After is being called the innocent version of Fifty Shades, which makes me grind my teeth to numbs because Fifty Shades was atrocious enough. If it weren't for the sex scenes in Fifty Shades, the book would have been nothing but the constant nagging of an insecure idiot (which should be the tagline for After.)"[4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Alter, Alexandra (October 21, 2014). "Harry Styles of One Direction Stars in Anna Todd's Novel". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved April 26, 2017.
  2. ^ a b "Book Is Supposedly New 50 Shades, But Is Really Just Sloppy Fanfic". Jezebel. April 18, 2014. Retrieved June 8, 2019.
  3. ^ "The One Direction Fan-Fiction Novel That Became a Literary Sensation". The Atlantic. December 2018. Retrieved June 8, 2019.
  4. ^ "We admit: Anna Todd's After is pretty bad — here's why". SheKnows. Retrieved July 10, 2019.