After You – Jojo Moyes /// Fiction – Contemporary
As a sequel I think this book does its job. Me Before You was heartbreakingly beautiful in a way this book couldn’t be, and I’m glad it didn’t try to be. Oh God, if you haven’t read Me Before You stop reading this now and go find it and read it. Buy into the hype that it is awesome read it and prepare to cry your eyes out. Only continue reading this review if you are some sort of rebel who doesn’t care about mild spoilers, I’ll still try not to go too in depth.
After You picks up over a year after the ending of Me Before You. In that time Louisa has squandered most of her money and feels no more fulfilled than before Will Traynor. Louisa has reverted back to Louisa(ness) – but sadder – after everything that went down with Will. She’s working a bartending job she hates and then goes home and sleep and does it all over again the next day. She is still just as Will feared she would be, stuck, and she accepts that.
After a tragic (hilarious?) accident forces Louisa to return home and recover, the events for this novel are set into motion. Part of her recovery is learning to leave home and finally set out on her own, after some glorious scenes with her family. (Her mom has become a feminist and it is wonderful). On her road to recovery, both physical and emotional, she is forced into a support group where she meets characters who are quirky (I hate that word but whatevs) and wonderful and perfect. Additional characters, Lily Houghton-Miller and Sam Fielding, are brought into her life to help her connect her past life to her present one.
I adored this Louisa because she didn’t start this book the same as she was before. Her character has dealt with a lot of things in a short span of time and we see how it affects her. The new character additions were great because they didn’t take anything away from characters in Me Before You. Lou didn’t want to forget, but she needed to challenge herself to move-on so she could live her life how Will wanted her too.
Lily and Sam were the most fleshed out new additions who brought the most challenge into Lou’s life (for the better). Lily spent her time trying to get Lou to loosen up, because now all of a sudden she is someone who needs to loosen up. Sam, oh perfect paramedic Sam, didn’t give up on her because he understood what she was going through and grieved along with her.
Sidenote: I want to once again say how perfect her family is this time around. I will never not love how loving her family is in their own way. They are flawed but they try and it’s appreciated.
Anything I didn’t like in this novel is a petty detail. The biggest thing being Louisa’s “miscommunication” with Sam. She makes a mistake then just avoided him and that’s that. Good Lord Louisa, I love you but at some time you have to act something that resembles your adult age. I understand her charm is her naiveté and innocence and immaturity, but I hate the some of her decisions. It’s just frustrating but it doesn’t take away from the novel.
“You don’t have to let that one thing be the thing that defines you.”
“You know what makes me feel down? The way you keep promising to live some kind of a life, then sacrifice yourself to every waif and stray who comes across your path.”
“I swallowed. “Mum, you’re not going to get divorced, are you?” Her eyes shot open. “Divorced? I’m a good Catholic girl, Louisa. We don’t divorce. We just make our men suffer for all eternity.” She waited just for a moment, and then she started to laugh.”
Maybe, probably right around the time when I reread Me Before You before the movie comes out next year. Omigosh I could not be more excited for this movie.
Read Me Before You, cry, read this sequel, cry tears of joy for Louisa to finally try some adventure, then repeat. This book is for anyone who loves a love story that isn’t romantic comedy or a happily ever after. It’s two people who never even should have met finding out they both have more to offer the other than they think and discovery their new worlds together.