February 23, 2016

Review: After You (Me Before You, #2) by Jojo Moyes

After You by Jojo Moyes
pub Sept 29, 2015
by Pamela Dorman Books
Adult - Contemporary
I was one of those people who was very excited to learn there would be a sequel to Me Before You aka one of my favorite books ever. All I could think about was reuniting with Lou and Jojo Moyes’ consistently moving writing. I honestly didn’t think much beyond that. So when I finally started reading After You, I liked it. But then I had a sudden realization about less than halfway through the book:

I didn’t need this story.

Now, don’t let that statement discourage you from reading it. As I expected, I was engaged in the story. It was great seeing Lou again. I smiled when she experienced surprising moments of joy and ached for the grief of all those affected by Will’s death. But I didn’t need to read this story and that realization did affect how I felt about the book overall. Because here’s the thing — even though it’s been over three years since I last read Me Before You, I still can recall everything about it vividly. I remember everything about the experience, how I cried afterward (and how I had to lie to my mom that it was allergies, not the book, causing my puffy red eyes) and that final scene of Lou sitting in a Parisian cafe, with Will’s letter in hand. I realized that was the last image I wanted of her and was content to imagine what happened next.

That said, I still liked the book. We already knew that those six months spent with Will changed her life but it’s extremely evident here. She doesn’t know how to move on or what to do next. Then she gets into a crazy accident that becomes the catalyst for finding her way. She goes back home for a bit as her body heals and slowly reconnects with her family. She’s forced to join a support group where she initially felt like an impostor in but gradually finds some solace there. But what really pushes her to evaluate her life and future are the appearance of two people: a paramedic named Sam (romance alert!) and then someone from Will’s past (drama!). I have to admit, I was much more invested in the former. Maybe it was because I wanted to see Lou find happiness so badly. With the blast from Will’s past, I honestly still don’t know how I feel about that. It was a clever way to keep Will actively a part of the story but at the same time, I think Lou’s grief already did that.

Do I recommend?
It’s hard to say. I think that you have to personally think about whether or not you want to know what happens after or if you’d rather leave it up to your own imagination. But regardless, great writing from Jojo Moyes as always.

2 comments:

  1. I just finished Me Before You about a month ago (there was ugly crying), and I've been torn if I wanted to read this or not. I was so angry at first when I finished the book, then thought about it some more and finally accepted it. I think I just want to let my mind decide how she carries on. Maybe in a couple months I'll want to know, but for now I'm content with how I picture her life after.

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  2. I think a part of the reason why I've held off on reading After You for so long is that I'm scared to read about Lou moving on with her life after what happens in Me Before You. I know it's a natural progression; I know it's the right thing for her. But the idea of it just breaks my heart a little bit! Still, I'm going to read this one because (1) Jojo Moyes is an excellent writer and (2) I do love Lou. Glad you liked it even though you didn't feel like it was a necessary read!

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