After We Fell by Anna Todd (After series #3)

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Toxic Relationships: After by Anna Todd Story Darlings

Tera Palozola and Sandra Bruxvoort discuss the merits of reading about toxic relationships. Exhibit A: the After series by Anna Todd. Show notes: Thanks so much for listening. You can support Story Darlings by leaving a rating or review—it helps the show more than you know! 🖤 — Send in a voice message: Chapters: (00:00) Intro (00:38) Co-host chatter (04:02) After by Anna Todd (58:12) Charity spotlight (01:03:15) Outro

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After We Fell by Anna Todd

After We Fell by Anna Todd… where do I even begin? I knew going into it that the third book in the After series would be a rough ride. I just didn’t know how rough. Spoilers ahead.

Carol Young from After by Anna Todd

Unlike other love story endings, Anna Todd’s track record with how each book ends never leaves me feeling warm and fuzzy. In fact, at the end of After, Tessa leaves Hardin in the parking lot of Blind Bob’s, opting to be in Zed’s company instead. Hardin then spends the majority of After We Collided trying to make amends for the horrible choices that drove Tessa away. The second book ends with Hardin and Tessa walking out of a tattoo parlor together. And into a homeless man… who turns out to be Tessa’s father. Oy.

Book review: After We Fell by Anna Todd

AWF opens with a flashback from Tessa’s childhood. As a little girl, she used to escape to the greenhouse in her backyard when her parents would fight. That greenhouse and Noah’s presence were the only two constants that kept her pushing on. And as we learn, it was her father’s abandonment that made her mother turn into the cynical creature she is today. The added backstory also helped me to not have such a strong dislike for Noah (he was too boring and squeaky clean in the other books).

Noah and Tessa in After by Anna Todd

So what happens next? Ignoring Hardin’s warnings, Tessa decides to invite her father to stay the night for dinner. After all, she hasn’t seen him in over nine years. Hardin states it perfectly, “Dammit, Tessa, this isn’t going to end well.”

And it doesn’t. Because where would the story be in that?

In Tessa’s defense, she sees similarities between her father and Hardin’s own dad, Chancellor Scott. If Mr. Scott can turn his life around, why can’t Mr. Young? As we see later, it is because Tessa’s father is into hard drugs and involved with some bad, bad people that he can’t turn it around. He’s in too deep. And when Tessa’s mother shows up and has a spat with her estranged husband, it seems she, too, doubts his ability to get it together.

After We Fell summary (spoilers!)

The conflict with Tessa’s father weaves a dark thread throughout the third book, creating tensions within her other relationships—Hardin, Landon, her mother. So with that in mind, let’s get back to Tessa and Hardin.

AWF tells a darker story

In real life, when someone you love and care about does something unspeakable against you, there are tears and words exchanged—yes—but mostly, trust is shattered. That’s the dynamic between Hardin and Tessa in the third book, and it continuously pushes them together while pulling them apart throughout. Tessa’s trust (and frankly, her spirit), has been broken by Hardin. It’s no wonder that although she loves him, dating others and moving away to Seattle sounds intriguing to her.

After We Fell takes us on a rollercoaster of emotions for both Tessa and Hardin. One especially dark, dark scene comes to mind. We discover Steph was never Tessa’s friend all along. She is nasty, arguably evil, and completely irredeemable.

Steph from After by Anna Todd

I won’t go into the details but be warned that the almost-sexual-assault scene in AWF comes out of nowhere, and it is very uncomfortable and infuriating. It is after that scene I realize just how isolated and alone Tessa truly is outside of her relationship with Hardin. And that sets the stage for what happens in the fourth book.

The third book in Anna Todd’s After series is packed with drama on all fronts. There were several moments in reading it that I wondered if anything would turn out good at all. AWF is nearly 850 pages of tension and conflict, and you feel each and every letter of it.

Here’s the official After We Fell movie trailer. In the US, you can stream After We Fell on Netflix beginning Monday, January 17. Maybe we’ll get After Ever Happy on Valentine’s Day 2023!

Looking for more? Here’s my review of After Ever Happy.

I also just started a new podcast with my high school best friend, Tera. You can find our Story Darlings show wherever you listen to podcasts. Here’s our episode lineup (Episode 001: Toxic Relationships & the After Series by Anna Todd).

If you love the After series, you might love the A Court of Thorns and Roses (ACOTAR) series:

24 Replies to “After We Fell by Anna Todd (After series #3)”

  1. Kaliena


    I am really really struggling to understand why Hardin completed the bet… Over and over I read that he was aware that he was in love with Tessa… He even was going to tell her about the secret the night he took her virginity but it seems he was too much of a coward and too selfish. Ok fine, he completes the deed (not very well i might point out) and his thoughts are not about his love for this woman but how he will go down in her history as her first, that she will even have to mention his name to her future husband. ( this revelation seems so odd to me as he fought so hard to be her only one). Then he hopes out of bed with proof to claim his prize?… why? What did he get from it? And So much for love or respect for her. Despicable! It’s like he has a sp!it personality ugh!

    I am finishing the series now, read 1,2,Before then 3 and now 4. I feel for Hardin, but i could have NEVER forgiven him because I never read anywhere why he did what he did only that he regretted doing it because it resulted in the loss of Tessa (temporarily). I take that to mean if he could have moved her to London and away from her finding out he would have never had regrets or told her the truth. That is not someone i would ever want to be with, no matter how sexy he was…. Your thoughts on his motivation?

  2. Evie

    I would like to know how y oh came up with the characters and also do Hardin and Tessa stay together and get married and have kids ???????

    • Lucille Young

      Hardin and Tessa do stay together. After Hardin begs and begs Tessa to marry him they finally get married in the third book although they do not go into detail.s Hardin and Tessa have 2 kids Emery(daughter) who is more like Hardin and Auden (son) who is more like Tessa.

    • Sandra Gibbons

      Naomi! Just saw your instagram comment. Read the next book, After We Fell… it’ll explain Steph! Also, if you read the fifth book, Before, it’ll give you an extra glimpse into Steph’s past. I hope that helps! I hope they stay true to the books when they make the last movie.

    • Sandra Gibbons

      Hi Sarah—I think Wattpad had some planned maintenance scheduled for their app, so that might be the reason why you were having trouble getting on Wattpad. I would keep trying! Honestly, if you have a library card, I would download the Libby app and connect your card and see if you can borrow the book for free on there!

    • Sandra Gibbons

      I cried, too, Kylee! Especially in AEH when they spent so much time apart… and then when they finally got their happy ending. They were in this exhausting state of bliss as parents to their children, and it was so achingly heart-warming. I don’t know if I can pick my favorite LOL! I definitely love the first book because it started it all, but I’d say After We Collided was really good, too! Did you have a favorite in the series?

  3. Blanca

    Hi! Could you help me to find this scene when Smith asked Hardin to be in his college thing and Hardin requested that Tessa will be in the picture with him? They ended up pictured by Kim and Hardin hide in Tessa’s hair

  4. Ayesha

    Hi I injoy all the books it was a different read for once please keep it up. Don’t let anyone say different it had me up all night I just needed ot keep reading. I will not say much about the ending but read all the books and then comment ok please. She did a great job with these books.

    • Sandra Gibbons

      Ayesha, I agree. The books had me hooked and I was the same way—up all night reading them cover to cover. Anna Todd did a fantastic job with the series! So happy we get to watch the movies now, too. 🙂

  5. Sylvia

    I think the ending of the 4th book is terrible. After they had been through so much together having them split apart and not get married is frankly very disappointing and has put me off watching any film or reading any of your books.

    • Sandra Gibbons

      Hey Sylvia—the fourth book was definitely rough. While the third book had awful things happen, After Ever Happy was awful and hard in its own way. I was super disappointed in Hardin’s behavior and lack of respect for Tessa while they were in London. And then reading about the years and years of them being apart was incredibly heartbreaking to me. But even with all that, the relationship felt real to me. I’ve seen and experienced so many relationships in my own life where two people, no matter how much they love each other, just cannot make it work. Trust issues, immaturity, toxicity… these are all themes in Anna Todd’s books that rang true for me, and I think that’s what makes this series work.

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