“I bring out the worst in you and you bring out the best in me.”Anna Todd
This book started as a fanfiction published on Wattpad. It’s based on the boys of One Direction, with Harry Styles (Hardin) being the main bad boy.
Tessa is 18 and headed off to college. She’s a straight A, 4.0 student and can’t wait to dive into her studies. Upon arrival to her dorm, Tessa meets Steph, feisty, tattooed, and completely opposite from her roommate. Steph convinces Tessa to come to a frat party and Tessa meets the rest of the gang, the most interesting being bad boy, Hardin Scott. Tessa and Hardin are drawn together, but Hardin is a bit of a wild card. He’s hot and then he’s cold, extremely cocky and rude, but Tessa can’t find it in herself to leave him alone.
I picked up this book at target because I knew it was based on One Direction…and having used to love 1D (specifically Harry), I had to read this! Then I heard from multiple people and from reviews that it is not the best read. I can confirm…I have A LOT of thoughts about this book and I will do my best not to ramble in this review!
First of all, I am so angry at the portrayal of Harry Styles. Why in the world is he written as a toxic, cruel, evil man? Obviously I don’t know Harry, but I feel like Hardin’s character was a poor attempt at creating this bad boy fantasy out of Harry. Hardin Scott is an absolute asshole and I wish he didn’t exist. I thought Travis from Jamie McGuire’s Beautiful Disaster was bad…nope, Hardin makes him look like an angel. Hardin may be THE most toxic male character I have ever met. The amount of times he belittled, insulted, threatened, and emotionally abused Tessa was ridiculous. I really don’t know why this is the male personality that is being glorified and lusted after. Being about 1D, this book is going to be a draw to younger audiences (mid teens). Hardin is not the type of boy that girls should be reading about and fantasizing about. If you look up a checklist for emotionally abusive men, you will see things like demanding/controlling, unrealistic expectations, rushes into relationships, copes with drinkin, is hypersensitive, extremely jealous, and that’s just naming a few. If you look at Hardin Scott’s personality, he has every single one of these traits, aka he is the epitome of emotionally abusive.
Tessa was this sweet, naive girl, coming to college and getting the rug ripped out from under her. I wanted to jump into the pages and shake some sense into her so many times. I don’t know how she didn’t have more emotional problems because of him. I would guess that more are shown in the second book, because that ending ruined me, and I just read it. Tessa’s character lived through the shitshow that Hardin and her so called friends put her through. I don’t know how she could bounce back from that. However, seeing as she gave Hardin 1000+ chances (after saying ‘one more chance’ a million times) I have a feeling she’ll end up back in his presence in the following books.
I know that this relationship is a reality for a lot of women, and I feel for them. I know that Tessa was young and new to this life, but all the people in her life didn’t try hard enough to help her. Hardin’s friends knew his personality, and warned Tessa, but didn’t bother to help her. Seeing her family life made me think that she didn’t know better and may have been drawn to his verbal abuse. I just don’t know. I hate that these are the male characters that are portrayed and what girls want. I don’t want to believe it, but here we are. I’d imagine if I were 8 years younger, I’d love this book. I’d probably think that Hardin was frustrating, but wouldn’t really see an error in his ways. Young women and men need to be educated about mental and verbal abuse, abuse in general, and books like this are not helpful.
Although…Tessa’s mom was also verbally abusive and controlling and awful, so no wonder she didn’t know any better. Again…education would be helpful. Also…can I just say that even though Noah was extremely irritating, I do not think he deserved to be treated how Tessa treated him. She isn’t innocent either…hold yourself accountable girl.
The ending of this book had my blood boiling. I was so unbelievably pissed at how Hardin and the friends did Tessa dirty. His personality sucked enough, but that ending was the cherry on top. I can’t imagine how uncomfortable and unstable their actions made Tessa.
The one positive thing about the book is the chapter length. They were the perfect length and I was able to breeze through them because of how short they were. I did like Sasha, but seeing as she was in on the BS the friend group pulled, she’s on my nono list.
After I read the book, I tried to watch the movie. First, the movie is a washed down version of the book. Hardin is nowhere near the same character. He has his flaws, but he’s just a hot British boy with some anger issues. Nowhere near as extreme as in the book. Second, the sequence of events in the movie are out of whack and a lot of important parts were skipped. There were also random scenes added and I think they try to portray Hardin as this awesome dude, but I’m not buying it. Third, the relationships that were dominant in the book were not evident in the movie. We didn’t really see the strain Hardin and his dad had, Tessa’s mom wasn’t nearly as bad, the friend group wasn’t thoroughly explored, and so on. I did skip around a lot because it was awkward and I was irritated by how different the two were.
Overall, I gave this two stars because I was invested in the story. It gave me SO MANY feelings (mostly those relating to rage), but I needed to know how it panned out. The ending wasn’t my cup of tea and I wished better for Tessa. Although…even though I hate myself for it, I may or may not have ordered the second book. I need to know how this trainwreck ends and if that means having to subject myself to more…I will. I know I just trashed the book and here I am going to dive into the next one, I’m a hypocrite, but also a sucker for character development. Here’s to hoping that Hardin either changes or seeks the help that he needs.