Top critical review
LET`S NOT CONFUSE PASSION WITH DOMESTIC VIOLENCE
Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on September 2, 2020
Please (please!) do net let a child or teen read this book. This book is not about love but how two complete undeveloped characters have a toxic relationship, and how a teenager (Tessa is 19) is the victim of an abusive man, because there is such a thing as domestic violence even when there is no physical abuse involve.
"After", book 1, was kids play next to this book. In After we get two characters that read younger than they actually are which fight constantly in a never-ending loop. Being the first book in the series, with the introduction of the characters, the revelation of the bet and the subsequent cliff hunger we get a sense of a “semi-decent” rounded book (the writing is poor, there is no character development, there are no real descriptions of any kind, very repetitive language). That being said, After We Collided is so much worse than I ever imagined. There is no plot at all, but simply the author stretches de loop for another five hundred pages. They repeat the same violent exchange over and over again with the same result but different subject.
And above all, and what made me terrified is the idea that these are bestselling books with mostly five-star reviews. This is not what loves supposed to look like fiction or not. Hardin is an abusive man with no redeeming qualities. Putting on the side de fact that they scream at each other regularly and he constantly calls her names and criticise her with what he knows will hurt her, simply with that in mind: TO HURT HER (he recognises it many times). But that is not the worst of all. He has total control over her: when they fight she doesn’t have a place to stay (she’s truly homeless); she broke her relationship with her mother and only family member; her friends are actually HIS friends who have been laughing behind her back for the first book; the only adults she trusts are HIS father and stepmother. Landon is her only friend, but he is right in the middle, especially when Hardin goes to him for advice. He is loyal to her at first, but then he pushes her towards him, even saying that Hardins loves her the way he knows how. As if it that is supposed to be enough! So, WHO DOES SHE HAVE THAT DOESN’T BELONG TO HIS WORLD? (SPOILER: He even recognises in this book that he wants to live in England so she doesn’t have anywhere to go, as in she won’t leave him). He is the image of his father when he was young, but nobody tries to fight it. Of course the subject of “change” keeps appearing, but the only real change he did was being able to recognise that he is in love and saying it out loud. It’s no minor detail, but definitely is not enough. (SPOILER: Having said to Tessa that he loved her, he took the bet to extremes showing his friends the sheets as proof). But what about his drinking? His verbal abuse? The constant fighting? THE LYING!!!? The unnerving and unfunded jealousy? And when combined, which happens regularly, Hardin is a true monster. I’m enraged that his could be called love. I understand that people don’t necessarily go to fiction for reality… but to feed this kind of behaviour to teenagers and call it love or passion is a colossal mistake.
I won’t get in the feminist side of this discussion because it is not even worth it. From the start the author establishes a mother who doesn’t allow for her daughter to be seen without perfect hair and makeup, and who expects her to get married to the right man stating that love is secondary in a marriage. As a result, we have a girl for whom marriage is the ultimate goal and who admits that she eventually wants to get married because she needs “security”. A woman as smart as Tessa is portrayed, with great feedback on her internship work, needs to marry a man for security? That is other reason why this book makes me sad.
(And what’s that about slut-shaming other women just for their appearances?!)
Tessa is not a loveable character, but I don’t blame her for her actions. She is a victim blinded by what she thinks is love and devotion. It’s sad her mom is such an awful person and by her attitude Tessa was even more drawn to Hardin. I haven’t read past this book and I probably won’t (except this COVID-19 quarantine gets the best of me) but what should happen is either he truly changes (stops drinking, anger management classes, and gives her more space to be her own self) or they go their separate ways. I’m sad to say I root for the latter because I expect more than life (for Tessa) than what she is actually getting.
Anyone that write books for teens/young adults need to be more responsible for what they write. Everything doesn’t have to be a bed of roses, but let’s not mistake love for abuse, or security for complete control, or degrade the idea of redemption for a no-ending streak of rash forgiveness from a girl to her violent undeserving boyfriend.