Book Review: After You by Jojo Moyes

Rating: 3/5

Review: While I was reading ‘Me Before You’ by Jojo Moyes I came across the sequel, ‘After You’ in a bookstore and decided to buy it. When I looked online for reviews of this novel, I was shocked to see the amount of negative comments. One comment on Goodreads stated that you need to read this novel without having an expectation that it would be as captivating as ‘Me Before You’, so it is important to keep an open mind if you plan on reading it. This novel doesn’t necessarily feel like a continuation of ‘Me Before You’ as it explores different themes and the voices of Lou and Josie (Lou’s mother) are quite different in this novel. Moyes is a talented writer and this novel portrays emotions, grief and heartbreak in a realistic way.

I was really interested to see how Lou continued to live her life after Will’s death. I was hoping she would still be an optimistic and cheerful individual who continued to be adventurous and explore the world like Will hoped she would. Instead, in ‘After You’ we meet the new Louisa Clarke, 18 months after Will’s death. She has moved to London, works a mundane job as a bartender in an airport and lives in an apartment that does not feel homely to her. Lou has lost her purpose in life and secludes herself from adventuring outside her comfort zone. So although I really wanted to see Lou living a happy life after Will’s death, it would be unrealistic to expect that she would grieve quickly and then move on with her life as Will had asked her to, “just live well. Just live.”

When Lou falls off a rooftop, (one thing that hasn’t changed from ‘Me Before You’ is Lou’s clumsiness) we are introduced to a paramedic named Sam who is Lou’s new love interest. To be honest, I didn’t really see the ‘spark’ between Sam and Lou. My expectations may have been too high because I know Moyes has the ability to convey feelings and love between characters in such a powerful way (prime example, Will and Lou). Although I wasn’t completely fond of Sam and Lou’s relationship, Sam acts as a voice of reason for Lou and helps her emerge out of her sadness. Ultimately, it is Sam who helps Lou recover from her intense grieving of Will’s death. I appreciate that Moyes kept Will’s voice present in this novel as it reinforced how hard it was for Lou to overcome her grief.

We also meet Lily, who comes into Lou’s life in an unexpected way. Lily is a bratty teenager, who at first, Lou finds very hard to handle, but throughout the novel it becomes clear that Lily has a positive influence on Lou’s recovery and gives Lou a new perspective on life. In my opinion, Lily’s storyline is the most compelling. I appreciated that Lou and Lily’s relationship formed quite naturally and by the end of the novel the two characters had a strong dynamic.

Humour arises in the novel, particularly with Lou’s parents. Josie has ditched her ‘homemaker’ status and starts completing short courses at college whilst on a feminist streak which causes tension amongst the family. Lou starts attending the Moving On Circle which is a support group where she meets other grieving people who have lost their loved ones. Lou initially feels uncomfortable attending the support group but by the end of the novel she feels like she has made a supportive group of friends through the support group. The support group scenes are interesting because they give insight to what it is like dealing with death but there are also many humourous and awkward moments that take place.

It is both a blessing and a curse to write a powerful novel and then write the sequel to it, because people have an expectation that the sequel will be just as good, if not better. If you we happy with how ‘Me Before You’ ended, then I would not suggest you read ‘After You’ as you may be disappointed. On the other hand, if you are curious about how Lou continues to live after Will’s death than I suggest you give it a read!

 

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Book Tag: Reading Habits

I came across this tag on https://heartscentreads.wordpress.com/ so I thought it would be fun to post this before I post my ‘After You’ by Jojo Moyes review in a couple of days!

1. Do you have a certain place at home for reading?

I like to read outside and in bed.

2. Bookmark or random piece of paper?

Bookmark, for sure.

3. Can you just stop reading or do you have to stop after a chapter/ a certain amount of pages?

I am kind of OCD about this. I never stop reading in the middle of a paragraph. I either finish reading at the end of a chapter or at the end of a page.

4. Do you eat or drink while reading?

I usually drink coffee or tea while I am reading.

5. Multitasking: Music or TV while reading?

I find it hard to concentrate on reading while there is music or TV playing in the background, so neither.

6. One book at a time or several at once?

I commit to one book at a time.

7. Reading at home or everywhere?

Everywhere! I sometimes struggle to find time to read so I like to keep a book with me everywhere I go in case I have a spare minute to get through a couple of pages.

8. Reading out loud or silently in your head?

Silently in my head. But if I am reading a book for uni, I will usually read it out loud so I can process it thoroughly.

9. Do you read ahead or even skip pages?

Only if the book is boring.

10. Breaking the spine or keeping it like new?

Keep it like new!

11. Do you write in your books?

Never. I like my books to look like they are brand new.

12. Who do you tag?

I tag anybody reading this.

June Book Haul

Over the past month I have purchased books from The Book Depository and a store in Australia called QBD The Bookshop. I think anybody who studies a writing degree can agree with me that finding time to read for fun during the uni semester is extremely difficult. I am currently on my uni break and I am loving how much time I have had to read over the past few weeks. Absolute bliss!

I know a lot of people have strong opinions about The Book Depository in regards to how they package their products and the amount of time it takes for them to ship packages. In my opinion, The Book Depository provides great service and cheap books. If you live in Australia, I highly recommend purchasing books through The Book Depository because the shipping is free (shipping is rarely free for us) and the books usually arrive within 1.5-2 weeks.

These are the books I added to my bookshelves in June.

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‘After You’ by Jojo Moyes

Goodreads Rating: 3.7

Why I purchased this book: ‘After You’ is the sequel to Jojo Moyes’ novel ‘Me Before You’. I purchased this book because I absolutely love Jojo Moyes’ style of writing. She really has a talent for creating intriguing and realistic characters. I felt so connected to Lou’s character in ‘Me Before You,’ and I wanted to see how she continued to live her life without Will. I read reviews of this novel online and saw how disappointed some people were but I have read over half of ‘After You,’ and so far, I love it.

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‘All the Bright Places’ by Jennifer Niven

Goodreads Rating: 4.2

Why I purchased this book: I was browsing in QBD The Bookstore and the cover of this book stood out to me. I admit, I am a sucker for pretty book covers. ‘All the Bright Places’ is described as “The Fault in Our Stars meets Eleanor and Park” and I love both of these novels. The blurb is intriguing so I cannot wait to read this book.

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‘Everything I Never Told You’ by Celeste Ny

Goodreads Rating: 3.8

Why I purchased this book: I had not heard of ‘Everything I Never Told You’ before I purchased it on The Book Depository. It was Amazon’s No.1 Best Book of 2014 so I decided it would definitely be worth a read. I also decided to purchase ‘Everything I Never Told You’ because I am interested in the themes it explores. The novel is described as “a profoundly moving story of family, secrets, and longing.”

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‘The Book Thief’ by Markus Zusak

Goodreads Rating: 4.4

Why I purchased this book: I have always been interested in novels set in Germany and in particular, during the time of WWII. Also, if I come across a novel written by an Australian author, like Markus Zusak, I am likely to purchase it.

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‘The Girl on the Train’ by Paula Hawkins

Goodreads Rating: 3.8

Why I purchased this book: There seems to be a lot of mixed reviews on this novel but there has been so much hype about it over the past couple of years so I am excited to see what all of the hype is about.

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‘The Grownup’ by Gillian Flynn

Goodreads Rating: 3.6

Why I purchased this book: I bought ‘The Grownup’ on The Book Depository because it was cheap. It wasn’t until I received the physical copy of the book that I realised the reason it was cheap is because it is actually a short story. Regardless, the plot is fascinating so I am keen to read it.

What books have caught your eye recently? Let me know!

Review:’Me Before You’ by Jojo Moyes

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Rate: 5/5

‘Me Before You’ by Jojo Moyes will give you ALL the feels. Despite the hype surrounding the book and its film adaption currently playing in cinemas, this is not your cliché romance novel.

Louisa Clark is a quirky 26 year old living with her family in a small town in England. After losing her job in a café, Louisa seeks out employment as a carer for a wealthy 35 year old quadriplegic named Will Traynor. The previously powerful businessman was involved in a motorcycle accident and consequently became paralysed from the neck down.

The novel follows Louisa’s life throughout a period of six months as she juggles her work and personal responsibilities. Louisa instantly feels that the snarky, yet charming, Will, does not like her. After weeks of failed attempts to bond with Will, Louisa finally gains Will’s trust and friendship.

‘Me Before You’ explores relationships, sacrifices and hope. My favourite aspect of the novel is that each character has a dynamic personality. There is no doubt a lot of YA readers will feel that they can relate to Louisa, and I think this adds to the appeal of the novel. Louisa’s family and her fitness-obsessed boyfriend, Patrick, do not have a lot of faith in her. When Louisa starts working as Will’s carer, she blossoms as an individual.

If you read the last chapter without a tear in your eyes, you probably did not read it correctly, and I suggest you read it again. I hate to break it to you, but this novel does not have a happy ending. Despite this, the end of the novel is written so perfectly I was not even mad at Jojo Moyes for breaking Louisa’s heart.

The events that take place throughout the novel are realistic, making it even more tear-jerking. Moral questions arise, and as a reader, it makes you question your own ideologies and opinions on the topic of assisted suicide. You experience the tension, the sadness, the love and the hope Louisa feels.

If you are looking for a novel that will make you feel ALL the feels and make you weep for days, this novel is the one for you.