Breathtaking Romance: The 20 Best Books Like After (by Anna Todd)

About After by Anna Todd

The steamy five-book series kicks off with After, the first romance novel by Anna Todd about a young college girl and the boy she falls in love with despite warnings from those around her. 

Breathtaking Romance: The 20 Best Books Like After (by Anna Todd)

Tessa Young is a freshman in college when she meets Hardin Scott, an oftentimes mean but mysterious boy. After a game of Truth or Dare at a college party, things escalate and turn physical. While Tessa believes there is something more serious happening between them, Hardin refuses, saying he doesn’t date. The rest of the novel follows the tumultuous relationship between them as they fall in love and experience an off-and-on-again steamy romance

The first three books in the series were originally published on a free online website, Wattpad, and later picked up by Gallery Books, a division of Simon & Schuster. The first film of the same name, which debuted in 2019, was a smashing commercial success. 

About Anna Todd

Anna Todd started writing on Wattpad under the name Imaginator1D, and based one protagonist in After—Hardin Scott—on Harry Styles, who at the time was a band member of the popular British pop group One Direction. Loving the band, she initially wrote 3 of 5 books in the series on Wattpad before Gallery Books published the print version in 2014. 

Anna Todd has been praised for helping propel the new adult romance genre toward popularity and has since written many books . 

In 2018, she opened her own company, Frayed Pages, and has partnered with Wattpad to publish books under a co-branded imprint, Frayed Pages x Wattpad Books. She continues writing books and working in the publishing industry, with romance as her favorite genre! 

20 Breathtaking Books Like After

If You Stay by Courtney Cole

If You Stay: The Beautifully Broken Series: Book 1

Pax has had a tough life growing up; it shows in the tough exterior he fronts and the tattoos printed on his skin. His coping skills are anything but healthy as he turns to drugs, alcohol, and women. But then he meets good girl Mila, and after falling in love with her, he must prove he can be a good guy and turn from his bad boy ways. 

If you swoon over bad boys like Hardin, then Pax Tate in If You Stay will make you giddy! 

Blind Side by Kandi Steiner

Blind Side: Special Edition (Red Zone Rivals: Special Edition)

In this deeply passionate, highly sensual novel, Clay and Giana are opposites, but that doesn’t stop the college football star from asking Giana to be his fake girlfriend; together they make an agreement that she will help him pretend if he takes her virginity and assists with her lack of experience. 

Like Tessa in After, Giana explores her sexuality in Blind Side while never thinking the results will lead to a toe-curling romance. But that’s exactly what she gets as Clay and Giana explore each other and eventually break all the rules they set. 

Fans of After who wished Hardin had been a bit more kind will enjoy Blind Side as it features a lot of the same tropes with a more gentle romantic lead. You can get the sensational romance here!

The Deal by Elle Kennedy

The Deal (Off-Campus, 1)

In The Deal by Elle Kennedy, Hannah Wells makes a deal with a college bad boy that will change her life. 

Hannah wants the attention of her crush, but in order to get it, she must tutor hockey team captain Garrett Graham. They make a deal that if Hannah helps him get his GPA up, together they will make her crush notice her. What they didn’t count on was falling in love after each hot encounter.

After fans know the importance of a bet or deal plotline, The Deal delivers a similar concept in this very steamy new adult novel. 

Seven Days in June by Tia Williams 

Seven Days in June

Two previous high school lovers secretly write to each other throughout their careers in this complex romance novel. 

After spending one phenomenal yet intense week in love, Eva and Shane part ways and launch their careers, where they find a secret way to communicate with each other through their writing. When they reunite and sparks ignite between them again, they must confront the heartbreak, lies, and secrets of the past if they’re going to be together in the future. 

Seven Days in June explores the trials of a relationship similar to Anna Todd’s After and navigates what it means to be with someone who has hurt you in the past. You can find this steamy book here

Play by Kylie Scott

Play (A Stage Dive Novel, 2)

Steamy hookups lead to romance in this new adult romance novel about a drummer in a rock band and the good girl he pays to act as his girlfriend. 

Mal Ericson’s image is tainting the world-famous band he plays in, and Anne Rollins faces financial problem after financial problem. Together, they figure they can solve each other’s issues, but neither of them expected the electrifying chemistry or consuming attraction between them. 

Fans of After who love that Hardin was based on real-life rockstar, Harry Styles, will enjoy the concept of Play and how Kylie Scott delivers on the fake dating trope. You can get the steamy book here!

Torn by K. A. Robinson

Torn: Book 1 in the Torn Series (Torn (Atria))

Similar to Tessa in After, Chloe in Torn starts college and spots Drake, a bad boy dressed in tattoos and piercings, and immediately finds herself drawn to him. Drake is an independent womanizer but can’t deny the spark between him and Chloe, and as they unexpectedly fall for each other, new information stirs heartache and complications. 

If you’re a fan of the angst After offers, Torn matches it beat for beat and will have you rooting for this good-girl/bad-boy pairing. You can get this best-selling, drama-filled book here

Hopeless by Colleen Hoover

Hopeless (1)

Colleen Hoover has taken the book world by storm with her contemporary romance novels . In Hopeless, Sky Davis meets rebel Dean Holder, and an instant love affair begins. But the lies he keeps crop up, and when the truth finally comes out, Sky has to pick up the pieces of her now shattered life. 

Secrets taint the pages of Hopeless much like they do in After, and both protagonists must choose what to do with the truth once it unravels. You can get this heart-wrenching book by Colleen Hoover here

The Fine Print by Lauren Asher

The Fine Print Special Edition (Dreamland Billionaires, 1)

In the first book of the Dreamland Billionaires series, Zahra is hired to work at Dreamland, the massive theme park and production company, under her grumpy boss, Rowan, who wants to renovate the park and cash in on his inheritance. 

Fans of the grumpy guy and sunshine girl trope will enjoy this heated book that puts a spin on the good girl and bad boy pairing in romance novels. The Fine Print has become a BookTok sensation and is sure to please longtime fans of After.

Foreplay by Sophie Jordan

Foreplay: The Ivy Chronicles (The Ivy Chronicles, 1)

Pepper follows the boy she’s been in love with since childhood to college, where she meets two friends and vows to take her chance with him. But she’s inexperienced and feels that if she’s going to do this, she needs to do it right. When her two new friends suggest a bartender known to be a player, she seizes her opportunity to gain experience and thus begins the love affair and experimentation with Reece. 

This new adult romance novel is passionate and will make you blush all the way through. You can get the steamy book here

Bully by Penelope Douglas

Bully (The Fall Away Series)

Ex-best friends Jared and Tatum do not get along. 

Jared makes Tate’s life a living nightmare with his brutal ways, and when she comes back from studying abroad, she decides it’s time to stand up for herself and fight back. What she doesn’t expect is the truth behind his actions to come out, nor the attraction she feels for him. 

In After, Hardin is undeniably cruel to Tessa, and in Bully that’s no different for brooding Jared, as he hides behind a mask of loneliness and pain. For those who love Hardin’s character, Jared will be the love interest you’ve been looking for ever since finishing Anna Todd’s series. 

Love on the Brain by Ali Hazelwood

Love on the Brain

A bit more lighthearted than After, Love on the Brain follows NASA scientist Bee Königswasser as she leads a new neuro-engineering project only to discover Levi, her arch-nemesis since grad school, is working on the same project. 

Before long, everything that could go wrong does, and Bee knows there’s only one man who has the power to sabotage her like this. Like Hardin and Tessa’s complicated but steamy relationship, Bee and Levi navigate the chemistry between them even as misunderstanding after misunderstanding threatens to keep them apart. 

My Favorite Half-Night Stand by Christina Lauren

My Favorite Half-Night Stand

Millie Morris and Reid Campbell share a half-night stand despite being friends. Simultaneously, both Millie and Reid try their hands at online dating along with their mutual friends, and then unknowingly match. Not realizing they’re talking to each other night after night, they open up and fall in love. 

Like the protagonists in After, Millie and Reid keep secrets in My Favorite Half-Night Stand, eventually facing the consequences of their truths. This squeal-worthy book is by popular contemporary romance author Christina Lauren and is sure to please. 

One Week Girlfriend by Monica Murphy

One Week Girlfriend: A Novel (One Week Girlfriend Quartet)

In this steamy college romance, football star Drew Callahan and Fable start a fake relationship only to get caught up in the act until no one is pretending anymore. 

Whereas Hardin is the bad boy in After, Drew Callahan is the golden, sweet guy in One Week Girlfriend. It is the main character, Fable, who has a reputation proceeding her, but that doesn’t keep this new adult romance from sweeping readers off its feet as Drew Callahan falls hard for her. 

Like After, One Week Girlfriend takes place in a college setting. You can get the captivating romance novel here!

The Summer of Broken Rules by K. L. Walther

The Summer of Broken Rules

Meredith Fox is going to a wedding–not her own, of course, but rather her cousin’s wedding. After the recent passing of her sister, Claire, Meredith isn’t sure she’s ready to spend all summer at Martha’s Vineyard, but when she meets Wit, the stepbrother of the groom, the summer brightens just a little more. 

Playing a week-long game of Assassin to lead up to the wedding, Wit and Meredith form an alliance but don’t plan to fall in love with each other. 

Though The Summer of Broken Rules is a fun read, the emotional and heart-wrenching topics it explores like After hold weight. The heart it carries will give romance readers butterflies and plenty of swooning. 

Never Saw You Coming by Erin Hahn

Never Saw You Coming: A Novel

In Never Saw You Coming, the two protagonists face their traumatic pasts together and fall in love. Meg takes a trip to visit her biological family after being lied to all her life, and it’s here in Michigan she meets Micah, whose father has challenged everything Micah knows with his disgraceful decisions. 

Never Saw You Coming is an emotional journey of a book that will make readers fall in love with Meg and Micha’s love story while rooting for their independent journeys of self-growth. Like After, this book explores what it’s like growing up and discovering things you never thought possible.

If He Had Been With Me by Laura Nowlin

If He Had Been with Me

Fans of the heart-wrenching heartbreak in After will adore If He Had Been With Me, which chronicles the lives of Autumn and Phineas, who grew up together because their moms were best friends. The book spans four years of their high school lives and teaches a lesson about missed opportunities and young love. 

If He Had Been With Me is told in sweet, melancholy prose with a bit of a twist ending similar to the turn in the last quarter of After. Get your tissue box ready and this devastatingly beautiful book here.

Twisted Love by Ana Huang

Twisted Love (Twisted, 1)

In this dark and twisted love story, Ava Chen’s brother asks his best friend to watch over his little sister and protect her while he’s away for a year. With a devastating and traumatic background, brooding Alex agrees to protect Ava while Josh is gone, and together they explore the electric chemistry between them.

This high-stakes romance is filled with turbulence and twists that rival that of After, and will keep readers on the edge of their seats for the entire length of the novel. You can get Twisted Love here! 

Maybe Someday by Colleen Hoover

Maybe Someday (1)

Fans of After will enjoy most of Colleen Hoover’s drama-filled romance books, which is why Maybe Someday, her second book on this list, is featured. 

College student Sydney finds out her boyfriend is cheating on her and turns to her musician neighbor, Ridge. She watches him as he plays guitar, and fascinated, they start up a songwriting partnership, not expecting to fall for each other. Secrets unravel between the two of them, as does a love-song-worthy romance. 

With its own soundtrack readers can listen to, this new adult romance novel offers itself up in new ways to its audience. You can read it here!

Mr. Wrong Number by Lynn Painter

Mr. Wrong Number

Colin Beck is Olivia Marshall’s brother’s best friend, and they have never really gotten along. When it turns out they’re anonymously texting each other, everything they thought they knew shifts and a sex-based relationship begins.

Mr. Wrong Number is a more light-hearted book but explores identity and preconceived ideas similar to After. This hot romance is a quick read and can be found here!

Honey and Spice by Bolu Babalola

Honey and Spice: A Reese's Book Club Pick

Kikiola Banjo keeps to herself and coasts in the social wave of Whitewell College. She focuses on her college radio station, “Brown Sugar,” and dishes out advice to listeners. But can she take her own advice? Apparently not, since after publicly denouncing hot transfer student Malakai Korede in front of the entire campus, she shares a steamy make-out session with him.

In order to save face, Kiki and Malakai enter a fake relationship, and soon become close friends and perhaps something even more. The college shenanigans will remind readers of the happenings in After, and the complex characters lend themselves to the deeply romantic relationship the leads share in Honey and Spice

Final Thoughts

In a world where the new adult romance genre is skyrocketing in popularity, After by Anna Todd was one of the first books in the genre to leave its mark. Chronicling the tale of a good girl and bad boy relationship, this five-book series spurred a successful movie franchise and a loyal fanbase. 

Like After, the books on this list are steamy, heart-thumping, and filled with similar tropes featured in the bestselling series. Readers’ hearts are sure to race and fall for these twenty romance picks as they wait for Anna Todd’s next swoon-worthy book!


What is After by Anna Todd based on?

After was a fanfiction based on Anna Todd’s love for the band One Direction.

What are the 7 books in the After series?

There are 5 books in the original After series: After, After We Collided, After We Fell, After Ever Happy, and Before. There are 2 books in The Landon series: Nothing More and Nothing Less. Though the two series take place in the same universe, they can be read separately.

Is Hardin in After based on Harry Styles?

Hardin was originally based on Harry Styles, who at the time was in the band One Direction.

How old are Tessa and Hardin in After?

In After, Tessa is 18 years old and Hardin is 19 years old.

What book do Tessa and Hardin read?

Tessa and Hardin share a love of literature in the After series and they argue over Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen in the first book.

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Taylor Brazzill