AUTHOR: Jojo Moyes
PUBLISHER: Penguin Books
DATE PUBLISHED: September 29, 2015
RATING: 3.5 out 5
SYNOPSIS (from Goodreads): 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.
After You is quintessential Jojo Moyes—a novel that will make you laugh, cry, and rejoice at being back in the world she creates. Here she does what few novelists can do—revisits beloved characters and takes them to places neither they nor we ever expected.
I received a free copy of this from Penguin Books via NetGalley. In no way did it affect my honesty on this review.
I have nothing but sheer adoration for Me Before You. It’s all blatantly evident on my reviews (here and here) and book tag entries. I’m speaking not for myself only but also for millions out there who read the book and found needy for some Will-Clark intervention. When Jojo Moyes broke the good news to the book world, there’s literally no way for me to contain my excitement, doubled when NetGalley approved of my request for an ARC.
After You left off a year after Me Before You concluded. This book was born to satisfy all questions readers threw at what fate Lou Clark had after “Will’s letter”. To cut the chase, I’d say unfortunately, my expectations weren’t met though it wasn’t an utter flunk. Some books were just better off as it was despite some cliffhangers but alas, After You met an unlucky chanc. To be fair, Me Before You was in a pedestal that neither the sequel nor the reader should be held accountable for placing too much positive presumptions on After You.
It was such a nostalgia revisiting the lives of the characters. Lou is the same comical, adoringly boring one. Her kickass comebacks still intact. Her life was largely diverse from how she lived it before – flat, work, friends, disposition, etc. – but despite the changes, it’s completely inevitable to disregard the grief felt from the first book every time Will’s name was mentioned. One thing though: Did everybody fail to remind Lou to live her life? Did you not catch that part? How many times was it shoved in her face to come out of her boring self? If you failed to spot it, don’t worry. It’s there mentioned a gazillion times. It became a pet peeve how, since Me Before You, everyone’s telling her to shake off a little and give herself a chance to bask under the sun. The broken record wasn’t fixed in After You.
The story welcomes a character, Lily, the daughter Will never met. I practically spent the first half of the book rolling my eyes out at this girl who so conspicuously shells out her obnoxious self to everybody. Seriously, I wanted to poke Clark for being a martyr to this contemptible egotistic Lily. But how is it possible to have a sudden shift of feeling from investing loathe to a character to developing fondness? Lily’s side of story though.
The existence of Lily felt quite compulsory. She undoubtedly wasn’t simply an accessory but someone of indispensable purpose. That without her, there’s practically no After You at all. However, I have nothing but disapproval on the fact she was only inserted as a door en route to Will’s ghost. Like there’s no other way to connect to the past but creating a daughter out of mist; no hint of her being ever mentioned on the previous installment. And man, why do I feel like I’m watching a Shonda Rhimes drama?!
After You embraces another character, Sam aka Louisa’s lover. Him edging in the picture is definitely a anything but negative. We all are a steadfast devotee of Will but that doesn ‘t merit Clark lingering on the shadows of the past. In fact, this poor guy earned my mercy. It’s barely fair for someone to contend against an indelible memory which was exactly what Sam felt.
Despite all these, the ending panned out in quite an agreeable outcome. Everyone settled in each of their own contented nests without overachieving Utopian idea. Just considerably right to be reality-based.
I can’t put this book on my top recommendation but if you’re a fan of Me Before You and are bugged by what fate the characters from there trod after, this book is for you.