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Book Review: After by Anna Todd

Last Updated on August 20, 2023 by Louisa

After reading a few novels in the popular college romance trope, I was intrigued to delve into After by Anna Todd, which had gained significant attention on social media and sparked discussions among romance readers.

It has clocked up over 1 billion reads online, and has four feature-length movies based on its story.

With these credentials, surely it’s going to be a good read? Well, that’s the ultimate question!

In this guide, I have shared my honest book review of After by Anna Todd, so you can decide whether it lives up to the hype…

Affiliate Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase through any of these links. 

Book Review of After by Anna Todd

After by Anna Todd Book Review

After by Anna Todd is a captivating New Adult novel and a fanfiction novel influenced by Harry Styles from One Direction. The story revolves around Tessa Young, a diligent college student, and Hardin Scott, a brooding and mysterious character.

As their paths intertwine, their lives take a tumultuous turn filled with passion, secrets, and intense emotions.

Set against the backdrop of college life, the story explores themes of love, personal growth, and the complexities of relationships.

By Louisa Smith

after by anna todd
Writing style
Character development
Likelihood of reading the sequel


A passionate romance novel with an explosive romance, bursting with chemistry and the naivety of young love. Set against the backdrop of college life, After explores some interesting elements of love, trust, personal identity, and self-discovery. It was overall thought-provoking and engaging, though not something particularly new to the scene.


What I Liked

Todd’s writing style is quite captivating and addicting and kept me engaged with the story on the whole.

Its raw and emotive portrayal of Tessa and Hardin’s journey is intense. There are many ups and downs in their relationship and the chemistry is palpable, drawing me further into their tumultuous relationship.

It’s the kind of relationship I can somewhat relate to, and it’s chemistry I find believable.

I also appreciated the growth and development of the characters throughout the story. I found the evolution of Tessa and Hardin’s personalities and relationships to be realistic and relatable, perhaps because it was set in a college setting, it felt more raw and naive.

The representation of college life, on the whole, was also believable, with various aspects of college life, including friendships, parties, and academic pressures being bought into the story.

Overall, it was easy to read and flowed well, though there wasn’t anything new and different from other college romances I’ve read.

What Could Have Been Better

While After delivers an engaging and dramatic storyline, there were some aspects that were rather predictable or repetitive.

The on-and-off nature of Tessa and Hardin’s relationship was starting to get a little frustrating, though this is common amongst college romances.

The idea of one person seeking a more stable romance and the other not ready to commit is a cliche that has been done time and again.

There are also some toxic dynamics between the main characters, Tessa and Hardin. While I don’t think it necessarily normalizes unhealthy behaviors in a relationship, it can be something that’s quite triggering to some readers.

The main characters I really liked, but the supporting characters felt a little weak in comparison. They lack depth or development, and the sole focus of the novel is on the central relationship between Tessa and Hardin.

Similar Works

Fans of After may also enjoy other college romance novels such as The Deal by Elle Kennedy, which features a similar setting and themes of personal growth and complicated relationships.

Another similar book is Wait For You by Jennifer L. Armentrout, with its darker undertones, which also appeal to those who enjoy New Adult romance.

Related Reading: Books Like After

After Trigger Warnings

This book contains references to:

  • Cheating
  • Toxic Relationships

Romance Tropes

After falls into many popular romance tropes, there are:

Where to find it?

You can find After by Anna Todd in most good bookstores. Or you can purchase a copy from any of these links.

The Verdict: Would I Recommend After by Anna Todd?

After by Anna Todd is a compelling read with intense emotions, well-developed characters, and a captivating storyline, making it an enjoyable choice for readers interested in college romance novels.

However, it’s important to note that the book contains elements that some readers may find triggering or repetitive, particularly if you are sensitive to toxic relationships.

It’s also not something that’s anything new in the college romance genre, and some readers may find it repetitive.

Have Your Say…

Now you know what I think, it’s time to let the Epic Book Society know what you think. Have you read After by Anna Todd? Share your opinion of the book in the comments.

The Details:

  • Pub Date: October 21, 2014
  • ISBN: B00L01GJBM
  • Page Count: 607
  • Publisher: Gallery Books

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About Louisa Smith

Editor/Founder - Epic Book Society

Louisa is the Founder, Editor, and Head Honcho of Epic Book Society. She was born and raised in the United Kingdom and graduated from the University for the Creative Arts with a degree in Journalism. Louisa began her writing career at the age of 7 when her poetry was published in an anthology of poems to celebrate the Queen's Jubilee. Upon graduating university, she spent several years working as a journalist writing about books before transitioning to become a Primary School Teacher. Louisa loves all genres of books, but her favorites are Sci-Fi, Romance, Fantasy, and Young Adult Fiction. Read more Louisa's story here.

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