The growth of social media and social platforms has been responsible for launching the careers of many rising authors – Anna Todd is one of them.
When Anna Todd first started publishing her “After” series on Wattpad, she had no way of knowing that this One Direction fan-fiction was going to take the world by storm. But that’s exactly what it did.
Since her first chapter was published on the platform in 2013, the series has gained more than 2 billion views on Wattpad with plenty of readers flocking to read this Harry Styles love story.
Following the success of this series on Wattpad, the rights to Todd’s novels were quickly picked up by Gallery books.
The series was edited and divided into five books, and soon after the novel was picked up to be transformed into a movie. A graphic novel later followed.
The only real difference between the Wattpad sensation and the published novels was the characters’ names.
The female lead remained Tessa, but her love interest – Harry – became known as Hardin.
The success that this series received on Wattpad was quickly matched once the books started to be released.
But many people didn’t know what order to read the books in. If you’re finding yourself in the same position, then you’re in the right place!
In this guide, I’m telling you everything you need to know about reading the After series in order!
About The After Series
The After series follows a young high school graduate called Tessa Young.
Just 18 years old, and entering fresh into her new college life, Tessa meets a young man that will change her life. That man is Hardin Scott.
This young adult romance novel is packed with so many classic romance tropes, and that is a huge part of what made it so popular.
Hardin is rude and cold, and he definitely doesn’t warm up to Tessa immediately. But despite his bad attitude, Tessa finds herself falling for Hardin, and this leads her to make some very bad decisions.
The books start with Tessa being dropped off at college by her Mom. Tessa is the classic “good girl” that often starts in a romance novel – especially a young adult romance.
Her Mom is alarmed that her new roommate lives an alternative lifestyle and tries to get Tessa to switch rooms. But she refuses, and ultimately it is this decision that leads her to meet Hardin.
Some of the themes included in these novels are love, betrayal, hate, freedom, peer pressure, and holding onto the past.
All of these themes are explored in detail throughout the 5 novels, and it is these themes that lead Tessa to make some bad decisions and choices.
So without further ado, let’s take a look at the correct order for reading the After series.
After Series Books In Order
The first book in the After series – known by the same name as the series – introduces the reader to Tessa and Hardin for the first time.
Tessa is the classic good girl with a boyfriend back home and a dream for her life after college. But her plans go awry when she finds a bad boy with a British accent – Hardin Scott – on her roommate’s bed one day.
Hardin is easy on the eye, and Tessa is attracted to him immediately.
His bad attitude and the rude way in which he speaks to her should be enough to put her off, but instead, Tessa feels something pulling her toward Hardin.
Regardless of her boyfriend back home, she cannot pull herself away from her attraction to Hardin. And when they kiss, that strong attraction only grows more intense.
Hardin will draw Tessa in and be kind to her in small moments, but then immediately after he will go cold and rude with her.
Despite this, Tessa only finds herself more and more attracted to him.
As she pursues a relationship with this bad boy, Tessa’s unsure if she is doing so to change his perception of her, or if she is falling in love.
- Sets the scene and introduces you to all the key characters in this series.
- Demonstrates the dark side of love.
The second book in the After series picks up exactly where the first one finished.
All the hard work and progress that had happened in their relationship during the first book was reversed after the events at the end of the first novel, and Tessa doesn’t know what to do next.
She thought they’d been making progress, and she thought that Hardin had moved past his rude and hurtful behavior. But unfortunately, it seems that that wasn’t the case.
Ultimately, Hardin turned out to be exactly the same rude and cold person that Tessa met at the start of the first novel, or did he?
Unable to tell if the Hardin she fell for was actually a stranger all along, or if his cold behavior is a way of self-preservation, Tessa finds herself unable to walk away.
But she’s already given up so much for Hardin, and she really should work on getting her life back on track before all her hard work is ruined for good.
After We Collided explores Tessa’s way forward after the events and actions that were revealed at the end of the first novel. But as is often the case with YA romance novels, it isn’t plain sailing.
Hardin knows that he messed up, but he’s eager to make things better.
Despite Tessa’s aim to get her life back on track, Hardin isn’t ready to give up without a fight. That is what leads to the events in this second novel.
- More character development as the reader finds out more about Hardin’s life.
- It follows directly from the first book, so ideally you need to read them back to back.
After We Fell is the third novel in this series, and in this novel, we join Tessa and Hardin who seem to have their life together back on track.
As the pair move forward with their lives as a couple, and Tessa finds herself making one of the big decisions of her life, everything begins to change.
New information comes to light about Tessa’s family, followed by new information regarding Hardin’s family.
Everything they thought they knew is shaded with a cloud of doubt, and their life together becomes uncertain.
Tessa can’t turn to Hardin because he is furious about a secret of hers that comes to light during the novel.
Instead of supporting Tessa through this tough time, Hardin returns to his old behavior – seen during book 1 – and begins to sabotage their relationship.
As the world around her falls apart, Tessa finds her relationship starting to unravel.
As Hardin falls back into old behaviors, they once again find themselves in a cycle of jealousy, anger, and forgiveness.
Once again, Tessa has to question if the way she feels for Hardin is worth the drama.
- We see Tessa and Hardin’s relationship develop throughout the novel.
- Similar themes and tropes as in the first novel.
If you were to read the books in chronological order – rather than order of publication – After Ever Happy would be the final book in the series.
However, as I would recommend reading these books in order of publication, you should be reading this novel fourth.
After Ever Happy follows Tessa and Hardin into the next stage of their relationship.
They persevered through the difficult times in the last novel, and despite all the hardship, they have only grown stronger as a couple.
But the events of this novel threaten to disrupt their happy ever after.
Hardin’s life is rocked by a tumultuous revelation about his past, while Tessa is involved in a tragedy that shakes her to the core.
This novel explores whether they will be able to stay together despite this hardship, or if it will tear them apart.
As more and more is revealed about Hardin’s past, the darker he becomes.
Tessa isn’t the sweet and innocent girl she was when they first met, and she knows that she can help Hardin in a way that no other person can.
But as more is revealed, Tessa grows unsure if she can save Hardin without sacrificing herself.
Ultimately, in the final novel of the original series, Tessa must question if she is fighting for Hardin, or fighting for herself.
- Brings a conclusion to the events in the After series.
- Takes the reader down darker paths than the previous novels.
By publication date, Before is actually the last book published in the After series. However, this novel is actually a prequel, set before the events of the previous novels.
Despite it being a prequel, I would still recommend reading the books in order of publication as the context of the previous series is needed to fully enjoy Before.
Before is a novel told from Hardin’s perspective. It offers never before seen insight into the events that occurred in the previous novels, as we get to see things from Hardin’s point of view.
Through this novel, the reader learns about Hardin’s life before he met Tessa in her dorm that day.
Then we are taken through the events of the previous novels, and able to see them through somebody else’s eyes.
The original series – told from Tessa’s perspective – only allows the reader to see Hardin through her eyes.
But this novel allows the reader to get a new view of this dark and broody character. For any fans of the original series, this novel really is a must-read!
- Allows us to see a new side of Hardin that we don’t get to see in the original books.
- Re-tells a lot of the events seen in previous novels.
Following the success of the original After series, this book has been edited and transformed in lots of different ways.
Not only has it been transformed into a series of movies, but it has also been transformed into a graphic novel.
This novel follows the same events that occurred in the first novel, but it has been reimagined into a new format.
So any lovers of graphic novels can enjoy the After series in a way that they never could before.
It is anticipated that the rest of the original series will also be reimagined into graphic novels in the coming years.
- New format makes these novels accessible to lovers of graphic novels.
- The content is the same as the original After novel.
The After series took the digital world by storm when it was first published on Wattpad, and as you can see, nothing has changed since it was published in hard format.
If anything, the publication of these novels in paperback, combined with the release of the movies has only made these novels more popular.
While the series contains only 5 novels, all of these books are pretty lengthy in size, so this gives the reader a lot of writing to sink their teeth into.
If you are searching for a series that you can escape into, then the After series is a great option.
For the most enjoyment from this series, you should read the novels in order of publication, rather than chronological order.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are The After Movies Based On The After Series?
Yes, the After movies are based on the original Wattpad series by Anna Todd. However, some aspects of the novels have been altered for the big screen.
Can I Read The Prequel Before The Rest Of The Series?
You can read the prequel – Before – before you read the rest of the After series.
However, due to the information revealed in the 5th novel, I would recommend reading them in order of publication instead. This means reading Before last.
Do I Need To Read All The Books?
Yes, to understand this series, you really should read all the books in the series.
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