Rating: 2 Stars
Following Hardin’s betrayal of Tessa and her complete humiliation in front of all of Hardin’s friends, Tessa is finally done with him. The second book in the After series follows the same basic template as the first novel: Hardin is mean, rude, and hurtful, Tessa gets upset, they break up, they get back together, they argue some more, they have one or two nice moments, and it leaves off on yet another annoyingly huge cliff hanger.
There’s not much to say about this one. This time around, it seems Tessa makes some of her own mistakes, but honestly, it’s just frustrating, and as I was reading it, I realized why I don’t particularly gravitate towards YA and New Adult fiction. I can’t help but think about how ridiculous all of their childish arguments are. And I think it’s incredibly naïve and young minded to believe that every single time you fight with someone you love, you have to break up, or storm out. Don’t get me wrong, I understand the validity in that type of plotting and character development because realistically, that is pretty much the mentality of many relationships where the two people “in love” are in their late teens or early twenties (mind you, yes I’m aware that isn’t the case for every single YA/New Adult characters or human beings in general). But it’s frustrating to me because I think as we grow and learn and our ideas of love change, we come to recognize the fact that just because you’re upset and angry at someone at the moment, doesn’t actually mean you have to break up. Couples can argue but still love each other. But that’s something Tessa and Hardin both seem to not understand yet. This book is just a series of moments where Hardin hurts Tessa, she runs off, they break up, they get back together, or Tessa does something stupid, hurts Hardin, runs off, they break up, and then get back together. Another pet peeve of mine when it comes to this series is that Tessa always seems to just sugar coat and move on from Hardin’s devastatingly humiliating and abusive problems after a few simple sorries. But then they break up for “a long time” (a week is not that long, by the way … just saying) because of ridiculous little arguments.
I don’t know, maybe I’m being too harsh – maybe this really is what young love is. But regardless of whether its plausible, it’s annoying how it just sucks you in and pulls you down. I really don’t love these books, but they’ve become another guilty pleasure of mine and I know I’m going to read the whole series.
Does that make me hypocritical? Yes, probably, but what is reading if we only allow ourselves to read the truly great books? There are really only a few truly good ones out there.
Speaking of which: is it just me or is the protagonist in every single New Adult genre a girl who loves reading, and who’s favourite book is either Pride and Prejudice or Wuthering Heights? There are other books these female characters can identify with and enjoy reading. I’m just getting a bit tired of these two books constantly being used to show a character’s “love of books.” Yes, they were good books, absolutely. But there are other ones to choose from, too …
Anyway, after all of that, I did enjoy the book, even though it was a little childish in some places, and the next one is on my TBR list. So that’s the type of reader I am, in a nutshell. I might love to hate a certain type of book, but at least I’m honest enough to admit that it’s pulled me in and I’m not secret shame reading them. I read them proudly, despite the fact that I know I spend a lot of time rolling my eyes.
There’s a reason these books are so popular and there’s a reason they’ve been adapted to the big screen. They suck you in. Plain and simple. So, I guess, despite everything else, they are good books, if you define “good” as something that captivates its readers. Because I’m moving on to After We Fell …
Disclaimer: All thoughts and opinions are simply my own honest ones and I have not been asked to write this review. Not everyone may agree with my thoughts and that’s okay! I hope you enjoy reading about mine.