Book Review: The After Series, by Anna Todd

Sex, obsession, teenage drama, and a toxic relationship. I think I summarised the four books in a sentence, but let’s dig deeper, after all, I’ve spent the time to read them all, so bear with me through this review that will contain spoilers.

The storyline goes like this: Tessa is moving from her perfectly staged life to college, she is leaving behind her protective and obsessed for perfection mum and her boyfriend who is still in high school. Boyfriend with whom she only has a sort of platonic relationship. Her roommate is the opposite of Tessa, a party girl, who is dressing trashy and is covered in tattoos. It is through the roommate, Steph, that she meets lonely, cruel, misunderstood, English boy Hardin (aka the mix of Edward Cullen and Christian Grey).

From here we have a game of love-hate between the two, he is emotionally unavailable and she is trying to fix him, while he treats her like garbage. From downgrading conversations and public humiliation, somehow the author is making the relationship sound like a normal thing just because Hardin is the first men to touch her, give her an orgasm and have sex with her. Like a true villain, he exposes her to her boyfriend, makes her fight with her mom that cuts her off, makes Tessa move in with him only to separate her from all her friends and hides the truth about his work, friends, and the reason why he got with her in the first place.

As an excuse for his behavior, we learn that Hardin has been through a lot in his childhood, witnessed the rape of his mother, had an abusive and alcoholic father that left them both and moved to the states, where Hardin gets sent by his mother to try to get close to his now sober father who is the rector of the college where he and Tessa are going.  Yeah yeah, a truly sad story that is the perfect excuse for a bully. NOT!

Long story short: Hardin makes a bet with his friends that e can get to sleep with Tessa and proves that to the group by showing them the blood-stained sheets. Don’t know why but this to me sounds like an Amanda Quick horrible story novel, that takes place in the 60′ and not in our days. Clearly, Tessa finds this the hard way when Molly, the bad girl, exposes the story in front of everyone, but somehow finds a way to forgive Hardin and still be together at the end of the first book.

As for the next books, apart from very detailed sex scenes that can make even the kinky ones blush, they fight and reconcile (aka have sex), every 20 pages. Move from one city to another, Tessa gets her dad back only to find him dead and Hardin finds out that his father is not the one who he thinks but the family friend (duh!). Steph the roommate turns out she is a psycho bitch that tries to get someone to rape Tessa and tape her, but she is saved in the last moment by the friend that is trying to compete with Hardin for Tessa’s love (?), at the end of the book he also turns out to be a psycho. As a plus to all of this, we learn that the game of sleeping and taping girls were Hardin’s thing(WTF???). The events might not be in this specific order but all happen along with some other toxic relationship behaviors.

So what is about these books that makes them so popular? It looks like Anna Todd wrote them to be a combination between Twilight, 50 Shades of Gray, and a fanfiction request (her words not mine), so everyone fell in love with the teenage love story. Until here nothing out of the ordinary, but as an adult (almost 30) reading those books, a lot of question marks poped. If the first 2 books were somehow interesting since one couldn’t tell how far is Hardin going to push Tessa, the last 2 were just boring and felt like I was trying to look at Young and the Restless 1500 episode ( for those who don’t know the show, it was popular in the 90′ and it was a never-ending soap opera, don’t know if it’s still playing today, but it was horrible). And to make matters even worse there is a 5th book with before the relationship action, I have the book I just couldn’t find the strength to put myself through that yet.

As I continued reading through the book series, I keep on asking myself what kind of message is it sending? As a teenager in the 00′, it was the fantasy of each girl to make the bad boy good, to break through the wall the misunderstood guy build and to find out that he has a soft side ( did I mentioned that Hardin can quote from Wuthering Heights and Pride and Prejudice? Clearly all the *real* men read those books and memorize them). Why did we have those fantasies? Because that is what romantic movies told us. As teen movies nowadays make a lot of money, we are seeing the pattern even more often, so that leave 2 horrible directions for today’s teens: be bullied because he is worth it, he will turn around, and the second is a bully since girls love that and will do anything to be with a bad boy. Nop, nop, nop!

As you have probably guessed there is also a movie after the books (SHOCKER) that stars two pretty young faces. Luckily the plot is altered and the movie story is less graphic and less shocking. To be honest, their relation is way less toxic than the one from Twilight, it’s just a regular teenage romantic movie, so I am guessing they played that one right. The chemistry between the two actors is nowhere to be seen, or maybe I wasn’t able to see it.

The After series is just another try at getting a piece of the cake that would be a blockbuster aimed at teenagers created from the horrible combination between vampires tales and the story of the girl that gets beaten by a cute guy that happens to be very rich so that makes it ok. There are a lot of books with more or less the same plot these days, but I have to say that the 1.2 billion readers notice that is advertised on the book cover is a bit scary, but maybe I shouldn’t be the one to talk since I am in that number as well.

How about you? Have you read it or are you planning on doing so? If you did read it, what are your thoughts on the subject?



Last Month’s Favorites: May

It’s officially summer, May has just ended and we are now entering the warmest period of the year. Unfortunately, this year showed us how much our climate has changed and how the seasons shifted, from 4 seasons in Romania we started to have only 2, so Spring was rainy and cold, nothing like we expected, but at least it was better than winter. So here is what happened in the 5th month of the year.

La Bella Italia! The vacation that I have planned since last year when my best friend told me about the Como Lake and Cinque Terre, finally happened in May. The weather was definitely NOT on my favorite list, but Italy will always be a good idea. A full post on how we planned it, costs and itinerary will follow, but until then, I have to say that Manarola, one of the towns from Cinque Terre has become one of the best places I’ve ever visited.

Since I got to travel quite a lot by train, I had the time to start one of the book series ordered last month, After by Anna Todd. I have to say that I have mixed feelings about it, a part of me likes it, since it’s a teenage love story, written in an easy to read manner, but the adult part of me, knows that abusive relationships should not be advertised as “normal” and girls should stay away from the Hardin’s of the world, it’s not healthy to try to “fix” someone. Nevertheless, the series caught me, I read the first 3 books and I am planning on finishing the remaining 2, also as a spoiler, the books had plenty of sex scenes narrated with lots of details that can make even the kinkiest of us blush, so enjoy! 😀

While we are in the books department, here are 2 other honorable mentions: Sofia Kinsella – Wedding Night, I literally laughed with tears as I read it. I am a huge fan of her books, funny, optimistic and charismatic, all in all, my kind of chick-lit. So make sure to add it to your to-read list. The other one is a teenage love story-ish, Love and Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch, I got the book because of the reference to Italy, it wasn’t a bad book, not a great one either, so for me, it will go under the category read it while on the beach books. 

In the shopping department, even if I said that I will be a good girl and only buy capsule items, I cheated a little bit and got myself one of the Vietnamese bags, I know those were a huge thing last year, and probably I am the last one to arrive at the party, but I love it nevertheless. To it, I added a pair of simple black sandals that I plan to wear when the “real” summer will arrive and the rain will stop. 😀

I keep the best for the last of the favorites, one that I would have never thought I would get, especially since I live in an apartment and already have two cats…. a German shepherd. Yes, you read it right, now I am at 3 pets, 2 cats and a dog. I would love to tell you a nice story about how we got it, but it isn’t a happy or funny one. My grandpa found it starving in the middle of nowhere, someone got rid of it and felt to die. At first, I wanted to find a safe home, but it turned out that home will be ours, and therefore Fox is now part of my happy family.

How about you, how was the last month of spring on your end?


Last Month’s Favorites: March

March, one of my favorite months of the year, partially because of my birthday, but mostly because is the first month of Spring, my favorite season. The sunny mornings when the sky is so blue that it hurts to look at it, make me want to be active and do stuff all the time. The terraces are once again open and ready for customers. Another good reason to love spring is that is time to say goodbye to the winter clothes and say hello to the light and stylish ones. So here is the list of favorites from March! 😉


Even if I had so many items on the list to shop for in the US, due to the severe cold, I wasn’t in a shape where I could wander around the shops, yet there are some things that caught my attention. First ones would be the drugstore make-up that I brought: Maybelline concealer and foundation, I’ve been a fan of the light texture and the way it’s distributed on the face, another plus one goes for the sponge, you don’t have to carry an extra one when traveling since it’s built-in. Also from Target, I brought one of the mascaras that I have been using for years now: the L’ORÉAL PARIS duo mascara, if in this case, the opinions differ from one person to another, for me its the perfect fit.


Not really a big fan of the Michael Kors anything, but I have to say that while I was in the store found in the Fashion Outlet Mall, I found a pink one that stole my heart and, since I was at a bargain price of only 81$, I swiped the card and took it home with me. Possibly the only item that I needed was a wallet, I have looked for a perfect, black one in most of the stores and I ended up buying one also from Michael Kors for 50$. After these 2 purchases from him, I might not be allowed to say that I don’t really like the designer.


Since denim is going to be everywhere this season, I thought its time to buy a denim jacket once more. I used to love them’ when I was in high school and putting it on takes me back to late 2000. Therefore I got one that fits me perfectly from TJMax and I am dying for the weather to be on my side so that I can wear it.


I don’t know if you already noticed or not, but I am a bit of a “bagaholic” and therefore I couldn’t walk away from a pretty Furla when I saw it on sale on a local website. Therefore the second pink bag arrived in my closet a few days after I got home from the US. Now I am really looking forward to the summer for me to wear them with dresses.


No month without books, so I have to brag about the new additions to my library: Michelle Obama My Story and the first 2 books from After series were written by Anna Todd. Since my books to read queue got a little too big, I will have to pause the addition of any new books for at least a few months.


With so many things happening I felt like March passed in a second, while in Romania the weather did show signs of Spring, in Chicago, Malmo and Copenhagen it didn’t, but even so, I am very grateful for what my birth-month brought and I can only wait for sun to shine and for me to enjoy this month’s favorites. What did you love about March?