19 October 2015

Review: After You by Jojo Moyes

After You by Jojo MoyesThere's no question that Jojo Moyes's Me before You was an emotionally strong novel that was loved by millions. And although it was a complete story, the final pages promised a new beginning for protagonist Lou Clark.

In the years since we first met Lou, many of Moyes's fans, me included, wanted to know how the young woman fared once she left the Traynors' employ. Well, wonder no more. In After You, Moyes fills us in.

Note that to best appreciate After You, you should read Me before You first. On the other hand, Moyes offers enough of Lou's background so new readers will not feel lost. This bullet review assumes you read the first book.

• What's it about? The book opens about eighteen months after Lou Clark's first client and true love, Will Traynor, has died. She may have gained some financial security, but she's still floundering, still grieving. One night while crying on the roof garden of her building, Lou is startled and falls from the ledge. Her recovery from that accident brings new people into her life and sets her on an unexpected path.

• Characters: Moyes seamlessly reintroduces us to familiar characters, primarily Lou's and Will's families. Although most of them have grown and changed, they remain true to their general personalities. As I mentioned, Lou also meets new people: from her grief support group, her job, her accident, and even someone from Will's past. As Lou begins to see herself through the eyes of her new friends, she gains self-knowledge and maybe even some strength to take charge of her future.

• Themes: Moyes didn't lose her sense of humor when she wrote After You, but the major theme is grief and the various ways we cope with the loss of a loved one. For Lou, who barely got a glimpse of happy and love, it's been a particularly rocky road. Additional themes are family (the ones we're born into and the ones we make), growing and changing (easy for some, not for others), being true to oneself, finding forgiveness, having hope, and risking love.

• Some things I liked: Lou remains a believable character. Even as she eventually finds some self-confidence, she continues to make mistakes, misinterpret situations, and trust both too much and too little. I love that she tries to do the right thing and is honorable and loyal. Her mother is a hoot! And the new characters--a young girl and a cute paramedic guy--are people we want to know more about, even when we want to strangle them (Lily, I'm talking to you).

• One thing I questioned: The very, very end decision Lou makes. But that's only because I'm not sure if she's moving on or is continuing to run.

• Recommendation: Jojo Moyes's After You is a solid follow-up to her earlier novel. It takes us to a realistic place, not to fairyland, but examines tough issues with a little lightness too. Have your tissues ready; this is an emotional read, although for different reasons from Me before You. If you read the first Lou Clark book, then you have to read After You. If you like realistic characters, novels with depth, contemporary stories that look at everyday issues, and some humor to keep things fun, then add After You to your reading list.

Published by Viking / Pamela Dorman Books, 2015
ISBN-13: 9780525426592
Source: Review (see review policy)
Copyright © cbl for Beth Fish Reads, all rights reserved (see review policy)


Unknown 10/19/15, 6:40 AM  

I, like so many, loved Me Before You. Moyes mixes humor and seriousness well. I'm going to add this to my growing 'ToRead' list. Thanks for a great review Beth.

rhapsodyinbooks 10/19/15, 6:51 AM  

I didn't like the ending either, but I didn't hate it. I felt it was making a prelude for a third novel! :--)

Daryl 10/19/15, 8:50 AM  

you know i loved this book but i am hoping there is not a third book ... Moyes MO is to cause confusion then resolve it and i think Lou's life is pretty resolved at this point ...

Lisa (Southern Girl Reads) 10/19/15, 8:51 AM  

I really enjoyed the audio version of Me Before You so I may continue on with that format for this one as well. Until now I didn't even realize this was a continuation of Lou's story, so thank you for tht! :)

Katherine P 10/19/15, 9:09 AM  

I really want to read Jojo Moyes' books. They sound amazing and complex with a touch of humor. I think I'll read Me Before You first but it sounds like this is a good sequel which is always a bit of a relief.

Laurel-Rain Snow 10/19/15, 11:01 AM  

Me Before You was my first book from this author, and then I went on to enjoy several others. I am delighted that After You promises to engage me as well.

Thanks for sharing!

Unknown 10/19/15, 11:56 AM  

Lou sounds like an interesting character. I like that she struggles with being true to herself in the midst of her other difficulties. Being true to yourself is a major theme of my new novel, Surface and Shadow, that's coming out next March.

Unknown 10/19/15, 11:56 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
JoAnn 10/19/15, 2:04 PM  

I'll definitely be reading this soon!

(Diane) bookchickdi 10/19/15, 3:42 PM  

Me Before You is one of the books I frequently recommend to customers, I'm so glad you liked After You. I must read it!

Nise' 10/19/15, 8:11 PM  

Looking forward to this book.

Unknown 12/9/15, 9:42 AM  

I'll definitely add this to my to-read list...

nishitak 1/13/16, 10:19 PM  

Reading this now, and feel it's quite a believable sequel to Me Before You, but ughhh, that Lily she's such a frustrating character.

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