Saturday, December 26, 2015

REVIEW: Before by Anna Todd

Title: Before
Author: Anna Todd
Published: December 8th 2015 by Gallery Books
ISBN: 1501130706 (ISBN13: 9781501130700)
Series: After (Book #5)

Book Five of the After series—Anna Todd’s Wattpad fanfiction that racked up one billion reads online and captivated romance readers across the globe! 

As told by Hardin and other characters, Before will explore the hero’s life before he met Tessa, reveal what happens after After, give you new insights on their turbulent romance—and revel in the awesome power of true love. #HESSA

I read Before having not read any of the other books in the ‘After’ series by Anna Todd, and was a little worried it was going to impact my enjoyment of the book.  I’m happy to say it didn’t, and I’m keen to pick up the rest of the series now.

Before tells the story of how Hardin and Tessa first met, and provides the background to their tumultuous relationship.  Hardin is the ‘bad boy’ – I’m reluctant to describe him as a ‘typical’ bad boy because it felt like there was more to him.  Intelligent, angry, rebellious, and yet despite that Tessa manages to catch his interest.  Nothing like the other dalliances he has had, Tessa is the ‘good girl’, she screams innocence and even so finds herself drawn to Hardin like a moth to a flame.

Before is brilliantly written.  The characters are well developed and like I said, the story engaged me to the extent that I will go and read the rest of this series.  Hardin grapples with his attraction to Tessa, what starts out as a cruel game becomes so much more for him and he soon realises that he risks losing the one thing that is actually starting to mean something to him.

Before is told from Hardin’s point of view and many of the chapters start with a paragraph or two written in the third person.  I really liked the greater insight these gave to Hardin’s character.  It wasn’t a quick read for me, while it was easy to read, there is a complexity about the story and I didn’t want to rush the experience.  I found myself putting it down and then pondering what would happen next between Hardin and Tessa before coming back to the story.

If you’ve read the ‘After’ series then I would expect you would need no encouragement to pick up Before.  For those of you new to the series, it may be best to start with book #1 ‘After’, but you can definitely read Before without having read the series and still thoroughly enjoy this introduction to #HESSA.

4 out of 5 stars

Photo: JD Witkowski

Anna Todd is a writer spending her days in Austin, Texas, with her husband. She has always been an avid reader and boy band and romance lover, so now that she’s found a way to combine the three she’s enjoying living a real-life dream come true. She now knows what life is like when you get to do what you love. She also has a thing for things that begin with T's: Tom Hanks, TOMS, Target...

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