After Chapter 40 – A damn emotional vampire.

Previously: Hardin noticed that Tessa’s burger had ketchup on it.

Samantha: Once Hardin has successfully bullied Tessa into the car, they don’t talk for a bit until Hardin asks her about her new look. He thinks its a little “over the top” and cool we’re veering into the shaming and/or “you don’t need all that make up” territory.

Tessa balls her hands into fists in her lap which is a detail that grabbed me because it’s very “I’m afraid and trying to self soothe” to me. She tells him that he didn’t have to drive her home and Hardin, being the aces guy he is, tells her to stop being so defensive, he’s just saying the makeover is “extreme.”

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Do not minimize her feelings but also she didn’t even do anything that defensive.

Marines: Honestly. She was just basically saying that he put himself in this seeing her face position, which? True. Also, we spent the chapter before going over how Steph did such a good job toning it down and how it was like “Tessa but better” and totally not that big a deal at all. I’m not sure what Hardin’s reaction is supposed to be? Help me:

1- Did Anna Todd forget what she wrote two pages ago?
2- Is this some kind of “even a little improvement is not necessary because Tessa is perfect” thing?
3- Is something wrong with Hardin because everyone else said she looked great? Is this a Hardin thing?
4- Is Anna really trying to paint it like Hardin is the only one who doesn’t want to change her?
5- Now that I’ve given her 67th makeover this much thought, does Anna Todd win? Has she won?

Samantha: It’s either some combination of all of them or just the most rage inducing laziness.

She tells him she doesn’t care what he thinks (if only) and that he seemed to hate her usual look so he should probably like this better. She also thinks about how she’s already exhausted from being in his presence. Yep, he’s a damn emotional vampire.

He chuckles because he’s TERRIBLE and says that there was nothing wrong with her appearance, just her clothes. Which… are part of her appearance? And he’d totes rather see her in her ugly long skirts than this slutty look. (M: He wants her in fashionable modest wear. Business casual but for like a cool firm. Yeah.) Tessa is internally confused by this shitty proclamation and when she doesn’t answer him, he touches her thigh and is all “did you hear me?”

Fuck. Off. The last time you were with her you told her you’d ruin her and all kinds of horrid stuff. You do not get to preach at her and TOUCH HER THIGH.

Tesaa jerks away from his touch and seriously how is this sexy? No really, though. She is genuinely afraid of him. How does anyone get wet over for real fear and for real manipulation?

Mari: I guess because they are distracted by that scene where he noticed her ketchup.

Samantha: She tells him “If you don’t like the way I’m dressed then don’t look at me.

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I’m just going to hang out here in this moment for a bit because I know as soon as I keep reading it’s going to get terrible again.

*elevator music*

Hardin says the problem is that he can’t stop looking at her and literally Tessa considers throwing herself out of the moving car. She knows he says nice things to her so that it hurts more when he turns mean and are we all throwing up? Tessa is aware of what Hardin is. Todd is aware. The reader has to be aware as well. Are we seriously sticking with the grown up version of “Boys pull your braids because they like you?”

Mari: She is setting up this thing where Tessa is assuming things about Hardin which “aren’t true” and Hardin tries to explain it to her (“no, I really like you!”) but Tessa doesn’t believe him. She thinks that this is setting up a misunderstanding situation and not a highly vom-worthy one. The fact that Tessa can’t even believe Hardin’s good intentions MEANS SOMETHING. The fact that she and we the reader completely buy into a highly manipulative and callous Hardin MEANS SOMETHING. She overplayed her hand and later when it’s time to be like “but he liked her all along!” all I’ll remember are the times when he threatened to ruin her or left her crying or made her uncomfortable during foreplay or all the other crap. YOU CAN’T TAKE THAT BACK. 

Samantha: Yeah. Yeah. Hardin is genuinely not a good dude. Him liking her all along does not at all negate all the stuff that makes him a bad guy.

Hardin continues that he “approves of” the new clothes (even though a moment ago it seemed he didn’t) but not all the makeup because she looks good without it.

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Tessa is all “You don’t expect me to thank you, do you?” so Hardin changes the subject to why she didn’t spill the stepbrother beans. She says it wasn’t her secret to tell and this drives Hardin into a broody silence for the rest of the drive.

They pull up to her dorm and he parks as far away from it as he can, the better to murder her. She tries to get out of the car but he touches her thigh again and asks if she’s going to thank him and my stomach is already empty due to all the puking earlier. She sarcastically thanks him and tells him to hurry back to Molly. He tells her that Molly “sure is fun when she’s drunk” and fucking ew. (M: I’m sure especially for assholes who are okay with dubious consent?) Tessa lies that Noah is coming over and Hardin gets all panicked and flustered. I feel like this is a moment where I’m supposed to be like “awwww see he really loves her” but literally nope.

We chapter break to Tessa taking off her heels in her room and wait why isn’t this chapter over? Haven’t I suffered enough?

Tessa calls Noah and promptly starts lying to him again about her night and make it stooooop. They agree to get back together if Tessa stays away from Hardin and I realize that nothing matters anymore. They make plans to go to the bonfire together and hang up and then Tessa bemoans having to take off make up.

Mari: Girl, if you think that’s the part of your night you should be complaining about, you were not paying attention. 

 

Next time on After:This Friday night won’t end in chapter 41. 

 

Samantha (all posts)

I'm a 25 year old graduated English major who now works in a library and a bookstore in order to really drive that point home. I can often be found singing too loudly (poorly) in the car or spending some time (hours) on Tumblr. I am a lover of Harry Potter, the Spice Girls, and too many other things.





Marines (all posts)

I'm a 20-something south Floridan who loves the beach but cannot swim. Such is my life, full of small contradictions and little trivialities. My main life goals are never to take life too seriously, but to do everything I attempt seriously well. After that, my life goals devolve into things like not wearing pants and eating all of the Zebra Cakes in the world. THE WORLD.





 

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  • Blinvy .

    I feel like Anna Todd is trying really hard to work in the “You Don’t Know You’re Beautiful/That’s What Makes You Beautiful” angle but is failing miserably. She’s making it sound more like “You are beautiful but only when you dress and look the way I want you to.” and that’s just gross.

    • I feel like Anna Todd is trying lots of things but failing miserably, so this explanation is probably a nice chunk of it. This whole idea that Hardin likes her just as she is is LAUGHABLE because we’ve only gotten evidence of Hardin criticizing almost everything about her. What she wears, how she spends her time, who she likes, etc, etc.

    • Jamie Miller

      Damn it, now I have that crappy One Direction song stuck in my head. I HATE that song. Oh wait it is One Direction fan fiction, right?

      • Brooke

        Yep!

        • Jamie Miller

          Damn.

    • Samantha

      I remember hearing that song for the first time and being like “oh this is cute” and then hearing the lyrics more closely and being like “oh maybe not!”

    • The Bad Slayer

      I hate that shit. Do not mansplain to me my own self-esteem cock sucker.

      • Christie Greenwood

        Word. This is a shitty trope that I haaaaaaaate with the power of a million hypernovas.

  • Joy

    It’s, “Everyone else needs makeup to think you’re beautiful. Only I can see how perfect and wonderful and special you are just the way you are because I’m the most wonderful, special, and perfect guy on the planet.”

    • “But like, your long skirt still sucks. Change that shit.”

  • JA Jenks

    At this point I’m ready to cunt punt Noah. There’s no hope for those other assholes and literally nothing good will ever come from Tess or Hardin (they just get worse) but Noah, the one person in here that’s awful but could be redeemed and he just keeps falling back into this bs. Why on earth would he think Tessa could stay away from Hardin at this point? She’s literally done nothing to make him think she’s changed or she’s sincere about being strictly with Noah.

    Oh the fuckery of it all.

    • In his eyes, this is pretty OOC behavior from Tessa who has never had a drink or worn eyeliner or whatever, so I don’t fault him for thing she can bounce back. He, we must remember, isn’t privy to her disgusting inner monologue the way we are. We know the truth.

    • The Bad Slayer

      I feel like Noah is the Leah. The least objectionable character to be sure. I actually feel bad for him.

  • Alicia

    Yep, of course Hardin’s telling her that her makeover is extreme and she doesn’t need all that makeup. Omg, what a nice guy he is. And I’m not sure about why he thinks her makeover is “extreme” when Steph supposedly only did her over a little bit. I’m guessing it’s more that she looks so good without makeup that she doesn’t need any at all trope.

    Ugh. So he hates her baggy clothes, but doesn’t want her in tight dresses either. Even though the dress is probably not that revealing compared to what Molly and Steph wear. They get to wear whatever they want around Hardin and he doesn’t say anything, but he makes a big fucking deal about Tessa wearing a bit of makeup and a tight dress. This doesn’t show that he “cares” about Tessa more than the other girls. This is just being a dick, trying to mess with her feelings again. It’s part of manipulative, emotional abuse.

    Also, if Hardin has only said a few things to Tessa and she’s already exhausted from being in his presence, that’s generally a sign that maybe a person is toxic and Tessa should stay away. But haha guess what? She doesn’t. Another sign that Tessa should stay away is if she’s jerking away from his touch. HE MAKES HER UNCOMFORTABLE. THIS IS NOT ROMANCE.

    Tessa is aware that Hardin is a dick, which means that Anna Todd is aware, but she continues to push it off as misunderstandings and romance and oh but he really loves her because of that one time where he remembered she didn’t like ketchup.

    Okay, so now Hardin says he approves of her new clothes, but just seconds ago he was telling her he thought her makeover was extreme. Um, kay. Whatever asshole.

    Yeah, kinda gross that he basically bragged about fucking Molly when she’s drunk. I guess that means Anna Todd is okay with passing on the message that drunk sex is fun sex. And she marched in the woman’s parade. Like she needs to fuck right off.

    Hardin getting panicky about Tessa telling him that Noah was coming over was just another thing to make us all “But he really loves Tessa and doesn’t want her to get back with her ex bc he wants to be with her AWWW”. -gags-

    And then Noah agreeing to try again with Tessa if she stays away from Hardin… yeah, that’s dumb. Of course, he doesn’t know what she is thinking most of the time. He doesn’t know that she thinks, “I need to stay away from Hardin/but his hotness makes me melt” every five seconds. He thinks that she’ll probably just give up on Hardin and want to try with him again, because this isn’t what Tessa is normally like. But Noah really needs to run far, far away. Sadly he doesn’t know what’s coming to him.

    • Mae

      “They get to wear whatever they want around Hardin and he doesn’t say anything, but he makes a big fucking deal about Tessa wearing a bit of makeup and a tight dress.”

      This is part of the problem when a misogynist puts one specific woman up on a pedestal. She damn well better behave within the strict lines he’s set for her or she’ll fall off.

      • Alicia

        Not only that, but Tessa must always look the part of the good, innocent virgin girl with her baggy clothes. If she dresses a little differently, someone might mistake her as a ~gasp~ slut. But Anna Todd tries to put it off as, Hardin caring more for Tessa because he doesn’t want other guys ogling her if she wears “revealing” clothes.

        He could care less about what Molly and Steph and any other girls wear because they’re sluts and they show it off, he also doesn’t have any feels for them. Tessa wears a bit of makeup and a tight dress, “Oh noes she might be turning into a hoe. Time to throw holy water on her before the slut demon pushes her to the dark side, and tell her to go back to church clothes so that no other guys will look at her.” IT’S NOT PROOF THAT HARDIN CARES, IT’S PROOF HE WANTS TO CONTROL HER, EVEN WHAT SHE WEARS.

  • Tessa: not paying attention since literally forever.

    • What would we, as a society, even do with heroines who pay attention?

    • Samantha

      Her brain is only that of a lowly woman and so cannot process anything for more than a millisecond at a time.

  • AmandaOoooh

    I’ve actually read the end of this book (not the rest though because I started it and it sucked so hard that I just skipped to the end to see what happens and I NEVER do that) so that portion of this recap by Mari where you talk about how him liking her all along doesn’t negate the bad stuff he’s done makes me want to laugh and cry and laugh and cry and cry and cry forever.
    …Especially since I found out that my 16 year old sister and 16 year old cousin have read this and THOUGHT IT WAS GOOD!!! I quickly corrected them on that point but it makes me so angry that this piece of pure shit is available and influencing girls who are usually incredibly intelligent into believing that this garbage is romantic.

    • I’m okay with not knowing my future right now. It’s better that way.

      And as much as I’m always like, “like what you like! Life is short!” my brain REBELS against that idea when it comes to abusey romance. Like what you like, but not this. 😀

      • Christie Greenwood

        Me, too. I remember days when I raged at Christopher Paolini’s shameless theft. I argued that it’s better not to read than to read such derivative garbage. Now, I’ve reconsidered. At least his books had plots, didn’t hate this badly on women, and he put some effort into stealing from his betters.

    • Samantha

      It’s incredibly sad because I remember being a teenager and all the Abuse Novels I inhaled and believed was what love was. SO GLAD THEY HAVE YOU.

    • The Bad Slayer

      I mean, if she wanted to write a good book she should have written about the process of the end. That *might* have made it good. It might have given us flawed characters who struggle and try and struggle and fail and learn and grow. Characters we could see ourselves in or that we could rally behind. But nope….we got this. This utter fuck fest.

  • Karen

    During Mari’s paragraph about Hardin’s intentions and what Tessa does/doesn’t believe, I couldn’t help but think of Snape. The fact that Snape was working for Dumbledore and is ~tortured~ over losing Lily doesn’t change the fact that he emotionally abused innocent children. And then I felt terrible for comparing Rowling and Todd because Snape is still a better character than any of these idiots.

    (I’m becoming worried about how often I think about Severus Snape’s awfulness.)

    Anyway. Back on topic: This is terrible! Let’s go back to that moment when it wasn’t and enjoy the elevator music. 😀

    • I’m actually really happy that’s what my mini-rant reminded you of because I haaaaaate Snape. And that’s unfair because he’s a complex, well written character. The truth is that I hate fan interpretation and defense of Snape. NO, your infatuation with your high school crush does NOT excuse the fact that you abused children. And yes, you were bullied as a kid, but guess what, lots of people go through very horrible things as children and we can’t excuse their behavior as children. Snape needed help and to be kept FAR AWAY from all those children.

      • Karen

        I think that’s totally fair because I’m a big believer in the idea of separating a character’s personality (the “person”) from how they’re written (the “character”). I can accept Snape as a character because I understand what Jo was trying to do, even though I don’t think she completely succeeded. (I am still Not Okay with that Albus Severus/”bravest man I ever know” crap.) But I haaaate him as a person, and yeah, his fans do him NO favors.

    • Samantha

      My hatred of Snape is deep and profound and seriously acidic. It’s one of those topics I probably shouldn’t get so heated over but will absolutely go from a 1 to a 10 in a moment if someone defends him.

      • Christie Greenwood

        I always loved to hate him. To be honest, what kind of soured my enjoyment of the character was the whole ‘he’s been in love with perfect, pure, sweet, beautiful, brave, awesome Lily all along’! Ugh. It’s very hard to pull of this kind of character arc, and I didn’t like how JKR did it (even though I love HP and I adore JKR, but hardly anything’s perfect). Seriously, I think it would’ve challenged the convention if he’d turned out to be evil, anyway – like, truly evil. Also, she missed a golden opportunity of having Harry grow by making him realise and internalise that his parents weren’t perfect. It gets touched on with his awful, awful dad, but there aren’t any consequences. The perfect purity of his mother, how everyone adored her, and how she died for the resistance makes me instantly hate her due to her author’s darling status. And of course, Snape couldn’t actually be a triple agent working for the bad guys, but only a jerk with a heart of gold. So that and what fanon has done to him, turning him into a woobie, pisses me off something fierce.

        So yes, I agree with you. It makes me angry, too, when fans defend him. Yikes.

  • Purva

    It’s the 40th chapter and I can’t seem to find any plot in this “book”. I don’t understand how you guys read this, but we are forever grateful that you are taking all the teen angst drama and making it funny for us.

    • Samantha

      I’m glad it’s funny! I get through it because of the comments section and because I convince myself that every time we point out the bullshit we’re making a tiny tiny bit of difference.

  • The Bad Slayer

    This book seems like the quintessential example of someone throwing everything to a wall to see what will stick. But it lands and becomes shit stew. And why, why, WHY do we need to bring Noah back? He will serve no purpose except to make us hate Tess EVEN MORE. Even when he comes back in book 3 (spoiler alert, there are 3 of these motherfuckers) HE WILL STILL SERVE NO PURPOSE except to make us hate Tess even more. When she will be in a situation where 99% of us would feel sympathy for her but no, WE’LL JUST HATE HER MORE.

  • Sarah

    Samantha: She tells him “If you don’t like the way I’m dressed then don’t look at me.”

    Okay, Samantha? Stop right there. Keep that attitude! Your body, your clothes, your business and anyone who doesn’t like it can point their face elsewhere!

    *sigh* I’m going to be disappointed aren’t I?

    She knows he says nice things to her so that it hurts more when he turns mean and are we all throwing up? Tessa is aware of what Hardin is. Todd is aware. The reader has to be aware as well.

    So everyone knows he’s an abuser buuuuut the so-called romance is going to continue. “He’s mean to hide his feelings!” I hate this trope. I hate it with a passion. It’s so horrific and does so much damage to so many people. If someone treats you like this they don’t need your healing genitalia, they need therapy! Goddamn it!

    She says it wasn’t her secret to tell and this drives Hardin into a broody silence for the rest of the drive.

    Because he totally would have spilled her secrets as a control measure. I would not be alone with this guy.

  • Mae

    “Hardin asks her about her new look. He thinks its a little “over the top”
    So, he insults her for wearing conservative clothes and he now insults her for wearing revealing clothes. A theme with him will be ‘dress sexy only for me but you look like a whore if you wear sexy clothes in public where any man can see you.’ He also likes to shit on her confidence level if she starts to get uppity, so there’s that.

    And so help me, if I read one more time that Good Girls Who Deserve Love Don’t Need Makeup, I will scream. Why do these shitty authors make that correlation? Skin clarity has fuck-all to do with the purity of one’s soul.

    • Christie Greenwood

      I hate that, too. One dude actually once said to me: “You don’t need make-up. You’re a natural beauty.” Back then, I didn’t know why that pissed me off so badly. Then, I realised that all my teenage / adult life, men have been telling me what they think I should be wearing or not wearing.

      • Mae

        I’ve gotten that too and had a similar reaction. There’s a huge difference between “you look good with or without X” which leaves it up to the person’s individual choice and “you don’t need X and shouldn’t wear it” which supersedes the individual’s choice with someone else’s. Hardin definitely falls into the latter category.

  • Charlie

    Classic abuser red flag – he can never be satisfied. When she wore her old clothes and no makeup she was ugly and a prude, now that she sexes it up, he slut shames her. Nasty.

    I used to be a very naive child and I continue to be somewhat naive as an adult, but even I never believed I was being bullied by the boys in school, because they “liked” me