After You by Jojo Moyes
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
First of all, I think it goes without saying, but if you haven't read Me Before You and you wish to, stop reading here. Did you stop? OK, you've been warned. After You picks up after her beloved Will's death, and Louisa Clark is foundering. Will wanted her to live life to its fullest and Lou has tried, really. She's traveled, bought a flat... but nothing feels right. Suddenly, Lou realizes she really isn't living much of a life at all. An accident changes things, however, as well as the arrival of an individual linked to Will. Lou's life is no longer so boring, but will she be able to make the changes she needs to move on, to live the life Will would have wanted for her? More importantly, to live the life Lou wants?
I was wary about picking up this book, as its predecessor was a lovely and heartbreaking tome. This one is also very poignant and touching. It's surprisingly easy to pick back up with Louisa again-- as if you're falling in step with an old friend. Her voice and character remain true, as do those of the ancillary characters from the previous book (Will's parents, Louisa's family, etc.). There were times, with this novel, that I felt it was a bit too in your face with its message: a lot of saying it straight out versus letting the story and narrative do its work. That was a bit tedious at times.
Still, there were many times that I found myself smiling as I read, because Lou really is just a sweet, fun character, and you can't help but love her. If you enjoyed (and cried over) the first book, you may not find this one as heart-wrenching, but is that really a bad thing? Do we need such emotion twice in a row (and does Lou)? This was a strong follow-up about a character we've grown to love, and it was nice to spend some more time with her and her family. They all truly feel like our own family now.
You can read my review of Me Before You here.
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