Before (After series book 5) by Anna Todd

“But he was terrified of their future, for he learned as a child that every lie made in the dark becomes an evil truth in the light.”

My review will contain spoilers for all five books in the series.

Before is supposed to be a re-telling of book one from Hardin’s point of view, and as such, I thought it would kind of explain his actions, and what exactly he was thinking when he decided to share Tessa’s blood-stained sheet, but of course, that isn’t even TOUCHED on. Instead, this book was just a mess, kind of disjointed, and pointless.

Nor do we get to see the scene where he says I love you for the first time, or what he was thinking about when he took it back. Honestly, she did a very halfway, shoddy job in “re-telling” the story for the first book. If she was going to be that lazy about it and not even include half the scenes, why even bother?? I mean, she doesn’t show what he was thinking when he got their first apartment, or him actually winning the money, and what he decides to do with it afterwards.

“I try to imagine my life if she left. She would take with her all the color I’ve worked on painting into my life.”

The book just randomly jumps from that night at Landon’s house to a long time later with him asking her to move in with him. Um, what? And there is no indication of time given throughout the book. Just horrible writing all around.Honestly, she should have just included these parts in After. If she was worried that his thoughts would ruin the big twist… well, a skilled writer would know how to keep the mystery going.

But to go back to the beginning, we get to see the scenes of how Natalie, Molly, Melissa, and Steph first meet Hardin, but not their actual relationship with him. What was the point of that? I mean, learning Molly’s background: you think it would make her more sympathetic or a good person, but it doesn’t. I don’t think Anna Todd knows how to write good, well-rounded females.

Then at the end, we get to see what some of the male characters are up to, but it just randomly jumps in time without giving any indication how far into the future she has whimsically just flown into. And I could have cared less about Zed meeting a Tessa look-a-like whose name happens to be Therese. None of the other characters have learned their lesson or feel any remorse because they’re ready to have another bet, including Molly. So insanely stupid.

I could have just skipped over Christian’s chapter and been just fine. That chapter only further goes to prove the author doesn’t have a good grasp on time because she only goes back twenty years, when he first starts having feeling for Trish, but um… Hardin is 21+. Don’t think she knows how to do math. Or she just likes to insult her reader’s intelligence. Probably both.

And then we get two random ~Hessa~ scenes that are completely pointless and they still don’t get married. The end. I don’t think I’ll be checking out any more books by this author.