Eighteen-year-old first-year college student Tessa is one of the two protagonists of this romance novel. Tessa has been dating Hardin almost since the first day of classes but has recently learned the only reason Hardin sought her out was to win a bet to take her virginity before his friend Zed. In this novel, Tessa must deal with this betrayal by her boyfriend and by the people she thought were her friends, including her roommate Stephanie.
Tessa struggles with her breakup from Hardin, on whom she has grown increasingly dependent. In a short time, Hardin took over every facet of her life, providing her with a place to live and a job. Hardin is also the center of her friend group, none of whom she can any longer trust. As she focuses on her internship at Vance Publishing and her studies, however, she finds it difficult to stay away from Hardin. Despite mature intentions, she falls back on impulse when she yields to her sexual attraction to Hardin and allows him to charm his way back into her life.
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Tessa deals with other challenges as well. Her mother is very controlling, which causes Tessa to walk away from the relationship, unable to express how her mother’s actions make her feel.
By Anna Todd