‘After’ by Anna Todd is a young adult romance novel that tells the story of Tessa, a young eighteen-year-old fresh college student who meets Hardin, a boy with a rude, cold, and annoying attitude. As time passes, Tessa falls intensely for Hardin, leaving her with a trail of bad choices and an ending that was always inevitable.
‘After’ was made into a movie in 2019 and though the movie has similarities with the book, disparities between both exist notably in their endings.
‘Spoiler Free’ Summary of After
The book ‘After’ begins with Tessa Young, a freshman at the Washington Central University. Tessa is a girl with a goal and a focused mind already set on her career path. Tessa arrives in college with her high school boyfriend Noah and her mom Carol. On getting to Tessa’s dorm, Carol is shocked to see her daughter’s roommate, Steph Jones.
Due to her alternative lifestyle, appearance, and behavior, Carol demands her daughter change rooms, but Tessa remains adamant. Carol sticks with warning her daughter of the dangers of college. The next day, Tessa meets Hardin on Steph’s bed and instantly dislikes him due to his rude, adamant, and cold nature towards her.
A week passes, and Tessa gets invited to a party by Steph though she reluctantly agrees to attend. At the party, she meets Hardin again. Soon after arriving at the party, they play a game of truth or dare, and as it gets to Tessa’s turn, she has to kiss Hardin, something she blatantly disagrees with doing. Tessa’s mother finds out about her activities through Noah and warns Tessa of her association, and made her promise to stay away from Steph and bad influence.
Though she avoids both Steph, Tessa finds herself getting attracted to Hardin. Due to her attraction to Hardin, Tessa starts making terrible decisions and constantly experiences rudeness, coldness, and affection from Hardin.
Though he makes it all hard for her to decide what he truly felt about her, Tessa stills pulls closer towards him until the inevitable that Tessa always had a hint about but chose to ignore happens.
After Plot Summary
Spoiler alert: important details of the novel are revealed below.
‘After’ begins with an eager Tessa who is getting ready for college. With a father who abandoned them and a mother who dropped out from the same school, Tessa is hellbent on making the best out of her life. On getting to her new school, Washington Central University, Tessa meets her roommate Steph Jones, an upperclassman with a lifestyle so weird it forces Tessa’s mother to try and talk Tessa out of staying in the same room with her.
Tessa blatantly refuses and sticks with staying with Steph. The next day, Tessa enters her room after taking a bath, only to find a boy sitting on Steph’s bed. Tessa instantly dislikes him as he keeps making rude comments to her. Though he did make harsh remarks about her, Tessa can’t help but notice how attractive the boy is. She later finds out about Hardin being the boy’s name from Steph.
On the first day of class, Tessa meets Landon, a friendly and nice guy with who becomes her best friend. Tessa finds out that Landon is Hardin’s soon-to-be stepbrother. As the week closes, Tessa is invited to a party by Steph. At the party, Tessa plays a game of truth or dare where she reveals she is a virgin. Later, Tessa is dared to kiss Hardin, she blatantly refuses and walks out on the group because of the feeling of embarrassment. Hardin goes after her and catches up to her. For a moment, there was an intense feeling of desire between them, but Hardin shrugs it off as nothing.
Carol finds out about Tessa’s behavior from Noah and makes her promise to stay away from Steph, which she does. Soon Tessa finds herself getting attracted to Hardin though she was still with Noah. Feeling guilty, Tessa still follows Hardin on a trip to a stream, where Hardin makes her have her first orgasm. The feeling of guilt overwhelms Tessa so much that she invites Noah over for the night. Later that same night, Landon calls Tessa to help him out with Hardin, and without thinking, she abandons Noah for Hardin and later broke up with him after Hardin revealed what happened between both of them.
Tessa later finds out that Hardin’s dad, Ken is the Chancellor of WCU. She discovers that the reason Hardin hates his dad is because of the incident that happened when Hardin was younger; his mom was raped and his father was nowhere to be found when it happened because he was drinking out, Hardin felt his dad abandoned him and his mom fueling his hatred for his dad.
Ken encourages Tessa to make Hardin attend his wedding with Landon’s mom Karen for which Ken got an internship for her at a publishing company. On breaking the news of her internship to him, Hardin is happy, but all his emotions instantly fade off as he leaves Tessa to meet his friends.
Tessa later finds Molly sitting on Hardin’s lap and gets angry immediately. She loses her cool and decides to kiss Zed to hurt Hardin. In response, Hardin dares Molly to kiss him, and as Tessa leaves, Hardin goes after her.
Hardin publicly declares his love for Tessa, but she refuses him and drives off with Landon. Later Tessa learns from Karen that Hardin barely said he loved anyone, even his parents; this makes Tessa admit that Hardin indeed meant what he said. Tessa decides to forget about Hardin and goes out with Zed. She kisses him, and in the course of their kissing, mentions Hardin. On realizing this, Tessa hurriedly looks for Hardin, and they both head back to his dad’s home, where she also confesses her love for him.
On confessing their love for each other, they head back to Tessa’s dorm only to meet a furious Carol waiting for them. Carol gives Tessa two options; she either returns to dating Noah or gets cut off. Tessa chooses the latter. Hardin’s mood swings persist causing arguments between them. Finally, a night of intense desire leads Tessa to lose her virginity to Hardin. Ongoing to Hardin’s parent’s wedding, Tessa notices Zed with bruises and allegedly finds out it was Hardin’s doing.
On confronting Hardin due to his weird and terrible behavior, Tessa reveals what was going on between them to the entire group but is utterly shocked by Hardin’s confession. Hardin tells Tessa of the truth or dare game he played where he and Zed bet on who could take her virginity away. The group also reveals that Hardin showed them the stained bedsheet and condom as proof. Though Hardin insisted he still loved her, Tessa can’t take it anymore.
Tessa leaves Hardin, and as she runs out, she bumps into Zed, whom she tells to drive her away. On their way, Tessa asks to know everything about the bet.
What’s Hardin’s secret in After?
Hardin’s secret in After was one that destroyed his relationship with Tessa. Tessa later found out that she had been lied to by Hardin and that he had only decided to be in a relationship with her due to a bet between him and Zed.
Does Hardin cheat on Tessa in After?
Throughout the course of their relationship, Hardin never cheated on Tessa. However, Tessa thought he did when she found Molly sitting on his laps prompting her to kissing Zed.
What happened to Tessa’s Dad?
Tessa’s dad left her and her mom when she was still very young. He never came back.
Why is the book After so popular?
The main reason for After being popular is the fact that it was designed based on a fanfiction of the boyband One Direction. The book gathered more than a billion reads on Wattpad because Anna Todd created and originally named the main character Harry after the boyband’s lead singer, Harry Styles.
Is After a good book?
Though the book was a disaster with critics, After‘s success still earned it the position of being an awesome book.