Monday, January 5, 2015

Book Review: “After” by Anna Todd #O2O #AfterSaga

I was a reader. I inhaled books, not nearly as quickly as some of my other reader friends, but certainly had a love for getting lost in the written word. When One2One Network approached me to do a book review, I jumped on it! I wasn’t too aware of what I would be reading, I just knew the backstory of this book and how it came to be. (It is a tale of how an author becomes published through technology and social media…intriguing—to me.)  Let me introduce you to Anna Todd:

 

Twenty-five year-old Anna Todd is a first-time writer spending her days in Texas with her husband, with whom she beat half the statistics by getting married one month after graduating high school.

Anna never thought she’d be an author. In fact, between her husband’s three deployments to Iraq, she worked a number of odd jobs - from a makeup counter to the IRS processing center. It wasn’t until 2013 that Anna combined her love of reading and One Direction to create After on Wattpad, a free social reading and writing app. 
Writing the majority of After from her mobile phone while in and out of appointments and running errands, Anna extended the After story world beyond Wattpad, using Instagram and Twitter to share photos, videos, songs, and art created by readers. By 2014, Anna’s story had over 1 billion reads and more than 6 million comments (and counting!)

Find her on Wattpad as Imaginator1D: http://www.wattpad.com/user/imaginator1D
Twitter at @Imaginator1Dx https://twitter.com/imaginator1dx
Instagram at @Imaginator1D http://instagram.com/imaginator1d

What?? She wrote the majority of this book on her phone??? Talk about some serious maximization of time! I need to be honest here. I don’t know anything about One Direction. I think that one singer used to date Taylor Swift.? maybe? Dunno. (I like Taylor Swift.—Hi Taylor! Thanks for making music that I can listen to with my girls without having to explain things that I’m not usually prepared to explain.) In any case, I looked them up to see a picture of this guy and channeled my inner teen, remembering the time when Joey McIntyre made my 11-year old heart swoon.

When my book arrived, I was immediately intimidated by the size. 582 pages!! So much content and on a phone, no less! Wow! This is a 4-book series published by Simon & Schuster AND Paramount Pictures picked up the film rights to adapt it to the big screen. I am now further intrigued to read--Very cool!  So, what IS After?

The After series tells the story of Tessa Young, an optimistic freshman at Washington State University, and the dark, troubled British bad boy who has stolen her heart.
Since becoming one of the most talked about stories on the internet, the After series garnered attention from Gallery Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, who published the first installment of the novel, which went on sale on October 21, 2014.   On Wattpad*, After has over 1 billion reads, more than 6 million comments and the print edition is available in 26 countries.  

Hmm… ok. I chalked it up to being on a similar level of Twilight with possibly more accelerated romance. First off, I like how each chapter is divided up into to bite sized nuggets. I was curious how you would take something from Wattpad and translate it to print. Being a busy person, I was grateful for shorter chapters to read when I only had 10-minute breaks in my day. I didn’t feel like I would have to play significant catch up for the characters. Admittedly, it took me a bit of time to get into it. This is how I am, though. It usually takes me between 50 and hundred pages before I’m invested into a book.

I liked that this book forced me to take my mind away from all of the directions I am pulled at this stage in my life. I was forced back into my late teens/early 20s thinking. (I am not the only person who gets fully submerged into the books as an observer of the time, right? You do that too!) I was quite frustrated by the relationship that Tessa and Hardin share. Then again, I get frustrated by many literary couples, so there’s that. One thing I wasn’t quite prepared for was the graphic and detailed scenes of passion (sex, people, there’s sex in this book. lots of hot sex.) Wowsa! I’m no prude, but I wasn’t entirely prepared to read some of those scenes. It was a wait, whaaaaaa??? moment. Like, am I reading this? I felt like I’d just seen something naughty on my phone and wanted to hide it, but didn’t feel as exposed because they were written words, but still. Especially the moments when my 6-year old would walk up to me. I didn’t want her reading over my shoulder! ha ha ha! (She just needs see her parents reading and will think reading is cool and will pick up on that. It matters not the content.) I’ve not read the 50 Shades series, but from what I have heard, there are similar levels of lasciviousness to it, so be forewarned. This isn’t appropriate for tweens to read. Also, I understand why it was so popular. You want to know what direction the characters will go. You inevitably have the same questions they have and you want answers. So if you like fiction novels about romance and passion, then give this book (and series) a whirl.

You can find After - Barnes & Noble: http://w.tt/wp | E-reader: http://w.tt/sns2


*Wattpad is the world’s largest community of readers and writers. It has connected over 40 million people around the world who share a love of reading and writing. 
Wattpad is a new storytelling experience that’s mobile and social.   Wattpad stories are free. 

Mobile: With Wattpad you can read and share stories from your phone, tablet or computer. Whether you’re online or off, use the devices you already own to carry an entire library of stories wherever you go. 


Social: Wattpad creates direct connections between readers and writers. Everyone participates in storytelling on Wattpad. Some people may not identify with being a writer, but they can share plot suggestions via comments and messages or create original art/music to go along with the stories they’ve read. 


Anyone can share a story on Wattpad. Whether you’ve never written before, or published multiple books, Wattpad offers benefits for writers of all levels. One of the greatest benefits of Wattpad is a direct connection between readers and writers. Readers receive notifications whenever a new chapter of a story is posted. Many writers share their work serially: posting stories one chapter at a time, so readers keep coming back. As soon as a story is uploaded it can be accessed by millions of readers around the world.

 

***I participated in the After by Anna Todd blog program as a member of One2One Network. I received compensation but all opinions are my own.***

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