After You: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Me Before You book 2

Read my review of book 1

**Contains spoilers  for book 1 & 2 – read with caution**

I was surprised at how uplifting this was given how quickly Me Before You tore my fucking heart apart.

I’m writing this after a few glasses of wine so my thoughts may be even more incoherent than normal. Fingers crossed all the character names are right.

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How do you move on after losing the person you loved? How do you build a life worth living? Louisa Clark is no longer just an ordinary girl living an ordinary life. After the transformative six months spent with Will Traynor, she is struggling without him. When an extraordinary accident forces Lou to return home to her family, she can’t help but feel she’s right back where she started.

Her body heals, but Lou herself knows that she needs to be kick-started back to life. Which is how she ends up in a church basement with the members of the Moving On support group, who share insights, laughter, frustrations, and terrible cookies. They will also lead her to the strong, capable Sam Fielding—the paramedic, whose business is life and death, and the one man who might be able to understand her. Then a figure from Will’s past appears and hijacks all her plans, propelling her into a very different future…

For Lou Clark, life after Will Traynor means learning to fall in love again, with all the risks that brings. But here Jojo Moyes gives us two families, as real as our own, whose joys and sorrows will touch you deeply, and where both changes and surprises await.

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I miss Will Traynor.

This takes off a good 18 months after the events of book one where we join Lou as she begins to navigate a new life without Will.

What really frustrated me in the beginning – and convinced me I was going to hate this book – is that Will handed her a chance to explore the world, to live a full life and to break out of her shell, but instead of running full steam ahead she reverts to the girl she was when she first met Will; too scared to make waves.

“I loved a man who had opened up a world to me but hadn’t loved me enough to stay in it.”

Lou: Lou is a different character for the majority of this book. Gone is the happy go lucky girl who entered the Traynor’s lives like a colourful tornado and instead she has been replaced with someone who reminded me a lot of the way Will felt – living without really feeling alive. She works at a place she hates, drinks a bottle of wine or two on the regular, lives in a dull apartment that doesn’t feel like home and is estranged from her family.

I like that Lou still talks to Will in her own way. She still tries to get herself out of sticky situations by thinking ‘I wonder what Will would do’ and that relationship still bears a strong bond regardless of whether or not he is still alive. Lou also meets some interesting characters at a meeting that helps people deal with their grief and I felt like each individual personality helped shape Lou’s emotional journey in this book. No more so than Jake and his uncle.

“You never know what will happen when you fall from a great height.”

Sam: Damn son. SAM, SAM, SAM, SAM, SAM! (sung to the tune of Work by Rihanna). Okay as far as new characters go, I was all on board with this guy and everything he had to bring to the table. Funny, smart, handsome, sincere, employed – Sam is everything a leading man should be. Sure he isn’t perfect, but I thought he was a great addition to Lou’s world and as a potential love interest, he knocked it out of the park. With some hilarious misunderstandings between Sam and Lou, their relationship and natural chemistry gave this story some much needed heart.

Lily: Fuck moody teenagers are a drag. Full of life, this sweet but mostly maniacal teenager is a force of nature that creates a new set of challenges for Lou. Her appearance was a complete surprise to me and while I did feel like she was spoilt little brat for a good chunk of the time, you can’t help but sympathise with her unstable/shitty 16 year old life. Lily throws a spanner in the works in a big way and the ripple effects of her actions bring some much needed drama and tension to these characters lives.

Nathan: #nathancouldgetit. I really like that Nathan is still in Lou’s life and that they kept in contact. I think he was a great lifeline for her and helped reassure Lou that she hadn’t made up how much love her and Will shared. It was also great to know that there was someone in her corner wanting her to get out of her bubble and succeed.

Lou’s family: Treena you a straight up bitch! They are basically still as horrible and annoying as they were in Me Before You – with the exception of the grandfather. It baffles me how self-centered they are and can’t take a minute of their time to even acknowledge that Lou might still be struggling with her emotions after Will. The mum takes a crash course in feminism that splits the family in half and, because Lou isn’t dealing with enough, she has to help pick up the pieces.

The Traynor’s: Will’s passing has had some adverse effects on his parents and this book sees them struggling to deal with the aftermath in their own ways. I wasn’t huge fans of the parents in book one but I did find them a little more compelling and emotionally in tune with reality in After You.

“You don’t have to let that one thing be the thing that defines you.”

What I really enjoyed most about this book is that it gave you time to really feel the impact that the loss of a loved one has. The days where you don’t want to get out of bed and the days where you want to scream at the world.

Given that I’ve seen Me Before You the movie version, I basically pictured Emilia Clarke the entire time and couldn’t help but  picture the other actors anytime their characters were mentioned – it personally made for a more enjoyable read.

So let’s wrap this ramble up. I didn’t think I was going to like this when I first started reading it – I mean how can you top Me Before You – but before I knew it I was fully engrossed in Lou and her new journey. This was so uplifting and the little twists and turns scattered throughout made this a really enjoyable read. I had a big smile on my face at the end and I mean, what more could you want from a book?

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3 thoughts on “After You: 4.5 out of 5 stars

  1. Donna says:

    I’m glad you liked it 🙂 It did not work for me. I really did not see the point of Lily. She just got on my nerves. Lou… I thought after all she’d been through she finally would start living, and I was a bit disappointed by her. I’d have been much happier stopping at the ending of Me Before You.

    Liked by 1 person

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