Wednesday, November 19, 2014

REVIEW: After We Collided (After #2) by Anna Todd

Book Two of the After series—now newly revised and expanded, Anna Todd’s After fanfiction racked up 1 billion reads online and captivated readers across the globe. Experience the Internet’s most talked-about book for yourself!

Tessa has everything to lose. Hardin has nothing to lose…except her. AFTER WE COLLIDED…Life will never be the same. #HESSA

After a tumultuous beginning to their relationship, Tessa and Hardin were on the path to making things work. Tessa knew Hardin could be cruel, but when a bombshell revelation is dropped about the origins of their relationship—and Hardin’s mysterious past—Tessa is beside herself.

Hardin will always be…Hardin. But is he really the deep, thoughtful guy Tessa fell madly in love with despite his angry exterior—or has he been a stranger all along? She wishes she could walk away. It’s just not that easy. Not with the memory of passionate nights spent in his arms. His electric touch. His hungry kisses.

Still, Tessa’s not sure she can endure one more broken promise. She put so much on hold for Hardin—school, friends, her mom, a relationship with a guy who really loved her, and now possibly even a promising new career. She needs to move forward with her life.

Hardin knows he made a mistake, possibly the biggest one of his life. He’s not going down without a fight. But can he change? Will he change…for love? 



My Thoughts: 

"Just because he can't love you the way you want him to doesn't mean he doesn't love you with everything he has."

When I finished reading the first book in this series, After, my head was full of Hardin and how disappointed in him I was. I was convinced that Anna Todd was evil for taking Hardin in the direction that she did. I was almost certain that my dislike for Hardin could never be overcome. So going into After We Collided, my anxiety levels were through the roof. There was just no coming back from what he did.

After We Collided picks up exactly where After left us, and if I thought that I had witnessed Hardin's depth of depravity I was mistaken. We learn things about his past that had me almost to the point of putting the book down and walking away. Just giving up on the story and never returning to it. It was only the little voice in my head of an online friend singing the praises of this book that kept me going. But I was devastated, disappointed and angry. I felt like there was nothing about Hardin that I could like. But, I've said it a hundred times before... I love broken characters, and if Hardin is nothing else, he is broken. He's going through a whole world of pain in this book and boy, didn't it pull at my heart strings. He really is trying so hard to be a better person, but after years of living the way he has been it's not going to happen overnight, but at least he's putting in the effort. And eventually I began to see the changes. I saw little snatches of the amazingly caring and loving person he could be. I saw him try to reign in his temper and to think before he spoke. 

This isn't the pain I had read about in novels. This pain isn't just in my mind, this pain isn't physical. This is a soul-aching pain, something that is ripping me apart from the inside out, and I don't think I can survive it. 

One of the big pluses for me was having the story told in dual points of view. That was what allowed me to soften as far as Hardin was concerned. Anna Todd was a genius for doing it, because without that, I wouldn't have been able to feel anything for Hardin. But being inside his head allowed me to understand his regrets, and his all encompassing love for Tessa.

There's no denying that Hardin and Tessa are toxic together. They fight like no other couple I've ever read about. But as the story went on, my whole view of these characters changed and it was Tessa that was completely doing my head in. She makes the dumbest, most impulsive decisions. And almost all of them involve other males. I wanted to reach into the pages of this book and shake some damn sense into the girl. Hardin only has to look sideways at another girl and Tessa goes all crazy ass on him, but then every time she goes way beyond that, she expects Hardin to forgive her. Tessa, listen up. Sharing the love around makes you look skanky. Quit it!! 

Communication and trust. These are the two of the biggest obstacles between Tessa and Hardin. For the most part they're really lacking in both those areas. I completely get the trust thing. They have both done some crazy hurtful stuff to each other. And where most people seem to learn from their mistakes, Tessa and Hardin seem to repeat the crazy behaviour over and over again.

I said in my review of After, that love is about respect, care and concern, and I still don't think that these guys have got the balance anywhere near right. I see glimpses of it sometimes, but then just as quickly they do something to blow it all to pieces. They seem to live in their own little bubble of drama. I have no doubt that they want things to be good between them, but they're just struggling to work out how to do it. 

"You aren't some conquest of mine -- you're everything to me! You're my breath, my pain, my heart, my life!"

But in saying that, love comes in all shapes and sizes. What fits for me, may not work for you. But we love who we love, without much say in the matter. The heart wants what it wants. Hardin and Tessa want each other, despite all the drama. 

Anna Todd is the queen of 'oh my God' endings. She leaves me turning the last page always wanting more. She knows how to tweak my emotions at every turn so that I'm in a constant state of feeling. Whether it be anger, or disappointment, or sadness, or frustration, I'm always feeling something. And she balances it all out with a touch of Hardin sweetness. 

Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same.

4/5 Addictive Stars.

A huge thank you to Simon & Schuster Australia for sending me this review copy.

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