After You (Me Before You #2) by Jojo Moyes: I fell in love with Me before You. It touched my soul, made me think, made me cry, made me hope. I was so very excited to hear that this author had decided to write a sequel, to let us know what happened to Lou, the Traynors, Lou’s family, and everyone affected by. touched by Will.
There is just so much to this story and so much that can spoil the story for someone that has yet to read it, that I will do my best to keep this as spoiler free as possible. Let me start with Lou. She is working at a Pub at the airport, she has a flat, she has not spoken to her family or the Traynors in the 18 months since Will. When she has an accident and is rushed to the hospital, her family comes rushing to her side. The fragile truse that they form and the unspoken agreement to not speak of what happened is like a living breathing thing in the room. When Lou returns to her flat, to her job, to a greif group (pushed to do so by her parents) she is still struggling to make sense of what her life has become.
One night, she gets the shock of a lifetime, something that will turn her life and the lives of the Traynor family on its ear. I am not going to get into specifics, but I kept thinking for the rest of the story that this might have been the thing that made the difference, that Will could have made a differnt decision if he only knew.
As Lou goes through the steps of greif, she meets Sam, the ambulance driver that held her hand and took her to the hospital after her accident. There are sparks that begin to fly between these two and Lou is wondering if she might be able to move on with her life, find love and happiness again. But a series of misunderstandings between these two keep the reader on their toes and when the truth is finally put out there, I found myself laughing my head off. In the end these two are moving in the direction of a relationship and a possible HEA.
Let’s talk about the Traynors. Will’s mum and dad are now divorced, Mr Traynor has married the woman that he was seeing and they are expecting their first child together, Mrs. Traynor is struggling to cope with everything that has transpired, she is living on her own in a quiet secluded area, not answering the phone, not responding to or opening mail. It is like the two of them are just existing. I have to say that I did not like Mr. Traynor’s new wife, she seemed unfeeling and cold when it came to Lou and the shocking news that Lou brings to them. I understand that for so long she and Mr. Traynor were not given the chance to be together because of circumstances, but I have to say, I was disappointed in her. Now Mrs. Traynor I have to say was surprising to me. If you have read Me before You, you will remember that she was aloof, she was prim, proper and did not show much emotion. I have to say that her inital reaction to Lou’s news was not surprising, but what happens after the shock wears off was totally unexpected and heartwarming. I fell in love with Mrs. Traynor.
Let’s talk about Lou’s Parents. Lou’s mother enrolls in Womens Studies classes and it causes a rift between her parents. Her father wants thing to stay as they have always been, but her mother want to spread her wings and learn about herself. It adds to some very funny situations and humor to this story.
Let’s talk about the grief group. As this group discuss the loss of their loved ones and the stages of grief, Lou is guarded with the amount of information that she is willing to share with them. She in the end starts to open up and share her connection with Will and the issues that she is currently facing. Each week brings a new topic, a new set of challenges along with humor, tears and one step closer to closure. The ending chapter of the grief class (end of class party) was tearful, and heart warming. I admit to crying so have the Kleenex at the ready.
While I enjoyed reading this book and learning what happened after we closed the book on Me before You, I did not love this book the way that I loved the first book. There just seemed to be so much going in this book that at times it seemed like the author tried to do too much with the story. I felt like there were so many ways that this story could have played out, and although I enjoyed it, at some points I felt a little let down because of the love that I have for Me before You and my uber high expectation for the sequel. The ending kind of remains open for the possibility of more to come, and I truly hope that will be the case, because now I feel like Lou and the Traynors, and even Lou’s family are a part of me, and I would love to see what happens with them in the future. If you loved Me before You you will find After You enjoyable, but a bit muddled at times. If you had issues with Me before You, you might want hold off reading After You.
***THE SEQUEL TO THE WORLDWIDE PHENOMENON ME BEFORE YOU ***
Jojo Moyes says: “I hadn’t planned to write a sequel to Me Before You. But working on the movie script, and reading the sheer volume of tweets and emails every day asking what Lou did with her life, meant that the characters never left me. It has been such a pleasure revisiting Lou and her family, and the Traynors, and confronting them with a whole new set of issues. As ever, they have made me laugh, and cry. I hope readers feel the same way at meeting them again.”