In Passionate Defense of After by Anna Todd

It was a gloomy 2013 fall evening, tears streaming down my face with Say Something by A Great Big World and Christina Aguilera played through my headphones. That was the first time I read After on Wattpad. I was so in love with the novel. I had been reading every night till all hours of the night.

Flash forward a few years later, I bought the published version of After when I heard that the series was published. It sat on my bookshelf collecting dust for a few more years. It wasn’t till the news of a film being released that I decided maybe I should re-read the series that I loved so much as a young pre-teen.

I read the first half of After that summer and proceeded to order the rest of the series. I unfortunately put it back on my self again. This time the whole series collected dust. Every Time they caught my eye on my bookshelf I knew I had to read them again.

Now here we are, I am now a 21 year old with a lot more life experience re-reading the series. I watched the movie a few weeks back when it appeared on Amazon Prime Video rather than watched it in theatres and I am as obsessed as I ever have been.

Now this review may come with a lot of upset people and hatred. There is a lot of hate for the series as a whole labeled as abusive and women hating. I know it’s very popular to hate on After. It reminds me of the “Hate On Twilight” craze there was when those books were turned into movies. For some reason we have to hate on things that are popular. I, a free-thinking person understands that you can like a book while acknowledging problematic things about it.

This review will contain spoilers!! If you don’t want to spoil the book don’t continue. I will put spoiler tags if you’d like to skip through the review to see my final thoughts.

[SPOILERS]

I thought I would start right off the bat with the highly criticised parts about After, aka the abusive behaviour, cheating and women basing that takes place in the book. Now, I never want to be insensitive to people that have been through things in their life but if we take After, only the first one, I would say that the book is not necessarily abusive. I also think the women-hating is an excuse to write off the whole novel. A lot of people reference how much the two main characters fight throughout the novel as mentally abusive. I find that it never crosses the line. The issue is more how dramatic the characters are which falls into inexperienced writing not abusive characters. Their banter is realistic and never so horrible I was shocked by what was being said. Yes, both characters quickly learn what causes the other to get upset but it makes sense for their characters. Hardin is a flawed bad boy and Tessa was raised in a very calculated manipulative household. If anything is abusive it would be how Tessa’s mother treats her.

I believe the most abusive actions that Hardin takes is the reveal of the bet. I think that was something that would otherwise be unforgivable. I’m very glad that they changed how the bet went down in the movie to make it more realistic and less disgusting. I find that was the one instance in the novel where I thought that was a complete misuse of trust and shocking. Also a few conversations the two have leading up to the bet reveal when you see Hardin starting to become riddled with guilt and deteriorating as a consequence can be seen as abusive. He begs Tessa not to leave him on multiple reprise. It tiptoes on the line of emotionally abusive and vulnerable. I truly believe that Hardin did fall in love with Tessa and his fear of losing her being expressed in promises of never leaving him were incredibly vulnerable. Tessa sticks up for herself a lot during those conversations telling him the most level headed and un-problematic response to his plea which is she won’t leave him if he doesn’t give her a reason.

This is followed by a lot of people calling the book cheating apologetic. Tessa does cheat on her boyfriend in the beginning in the novel. I believe that it was not necessary but it brought intrigue to Tessa’s character. There’s always that will she, will she not everytime she is with Hardin. Cheating is something that does happen. The book sets it up well that Noah was never a real boyfriend. He cared about Tessa for sure there is no doubt there but they were like glorified friends. This is not to say that Tessa did not go without consequence. There was no time in the novel where she cheated on Hardin without there being some kind of fallout. She does get judgement from her so called friends and her mother especially.

The last point which is women-hating or anti-feminist is the craziest thing i’ve ever heard. I understand that there is this trend whenever another woman is criticized it is anti-women. I strongly believe that is the most ridiculous rhetoric ever created. Women are not perfect. I think that Tessa not only hating Molly for being horrible to her but also thinking she is slutty is not a bad thing. I think it would have been problematic if she told Molly to her face that she was a whore or slut or whatever or even told her to stop. Tessa never tells Molly she isn’t allowed to do whatever she wants. Tessa has every right to believe whatever she wants about Molly. It’s would be a problem if she went out of her way to tell Molly to change or call her names to her face. It is also well established that Molly is in fact sexually liberated but uses that to hurt people. She sorta kinda deserves the criticism. I do agree that it could have been written a bit differently but not to the point that the novel needs to be “canceled”.

[SPOILERS ARE FINISHED]

Overall, I think this novel is a really good coming of age novel. I love the ups and downs the main characters face. This book will have you laughing, crying and turned on all in a course of 400 pages. I read this book in less than a week. A week where I was incredibly busy and had a lot of school work. I just couldn’t put this book down. I am happily on to After We Collided in anticipated for the movie that will come out in early 2020.

If you are looking for a book that has all the feels and you can’t put down this is the book for you. If you are a free-thinker I also suggest giving this a book a try without the thought that it is problematic running through your head. Just enjoy it to enjoy it.

Clara 🙂

The Summer I Turned Pretty : A Book Review

Hey everyone!

So I read a book haha. I love reading but I don’t get the time to read as much I would love to. So when I finally had the chance to read this book I thought I would review it for you guys.

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So I got this bind up version of the first three books in the Summer I Turned Pretty series. I have finished the first book in the series. I got the book for like 7$ USD at Target. I thought it was worth the price, especially when books can run 10$ each.

I loved this book! I thought it was sweet and had the amazing reflection on what first love can do to us. The writing was easy and fun, the characters are relatable and the themes are important. It was the best summer read I could have picked up. It just made me want to go to the beach right that second.

I know this book didn’t get the best reviews because it’s predictable and some people think the main character is selfish. For the main character being selfish, I found her realistic. I remember being 15-16 and feeling the same way she did about her first love. For the predictability of the book, I don’t think that necessarily makes a book bad. I just find it was an easy read and easy to get sucked in.

I read the whole book in one sitting during a 12-hour bus ride. It made everything go faster. It was so easy to get lost in this book. I recommend it to anyone that just wants an easy short read that will give you all the feels. My friend is actually the one that suggested this book to me and I thank her for introducing this book series to me. I’m going to try and review the next two books in the series too if you’re interested in that.

If you want to pick up this book you can find it here on the CHAPTERS or TARGET website. Honestly, it’s summer goals.

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My Get Away Reading List

I love bringing light happy reads when I go on vacation. Fluffy, lovey, annoyingly
cute reads that go by quick. Contemporary is my go to grab for vacations. I have a 3-hour drive there and back on my family summer trip, so I need something that can hold me over for the whole ride.

Yes, I’m one of those freaks that can read in the car. I know, I know, most people get headaches or car sick if they read in a moving vehicule. For me, it’s the opposite. I’ve been taking long car rides since birth. I am trained to be able to just sit in a car and be okay, no bathroom, no food, just read a book and listen to music or a movie.

So I picked up three little fluffy books for my trip this year. I grabbed Once and For All by Sarah Dessen, a standalone novel about a girl named Louna that is the daughter of a famed wedding planner. Louna is an anti-happily-ever-after girl until she meets a bad boy along the way that has her question her hatred of love.

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The second book I got was The Identicals by Elin Hilderbrand. This is one of the first adult novels that I am taking a crack at. I typically stick to YA but this book caught my eye. The book followed identical twins who happen to live in Nantucket, how summer-y, that have not spoken in years but are brought together by a family crisis. It’s supposed to be the summer read of the year. Elin Hilderbrand is known for writing good summer reads and I am excited to dip my toes in her novel.

The last book I grabbed and the book I am most excited for is How To Love by Katie Cotugno. I love Katie Cotugno’s writing and I could not wait for to get my hands on this novel. This book features a teen pregnancy, a lost love and of course romance. There is a lot of negative reviews for the book though which worries me but I am excited nonetheless.

One of my favourite magazines of all time is Cosmo. I am an avid reader. I have a
monthly subscription. My ultimate dream is to be able to work for Cosmo. I got the August and September issues in the mail and I’ve been waiting for the trip to read them. I do in fact read a magazine cover to cover. I’m one of those old people. I thought they would be great to read with my but on the sand and toes in the water.

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I plan to either review or go a bit more in-depth with these books when I come back from vacation.

Once and For All by Sarah Dessen*: Once and for All

The Identicals by Elin Hilderbrand*: The Identicals: A Novel

How to love by Katie Cotugno*: How to Love

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