So, last week I wrote a review on Me Before You by JoJo Moyes. Me Before You is a multinational bestseller and now a motion picture too. Therefore, for this week it made sense to write a review on the sequel to Me Before You, which is After You.
Before you guys read this review I would like to warn you that for those of you who haven’t read Me Before You, this review may have a few spoilers. So I highly recommend reading Me Before You and then reading this review before you decide to purchase After You.
After You is set 18 months after the closure of the last book. Lou is living in a small flat she bought in East London with the money Will left behind for her, away from the prying conversations and accusations that swayed her way after Will’s death in her home town. Also, she now works in an unfitting Irish-themed pub in the airport, unwillingly flouncing around in her too-short and loud checked dress, and spends her days watching passengers being whisked away in giant airplanes to foreign towns, cities and countries, partaking in journeys that she should have, exploring the world in the way she was supposed to.
She has lost her previous zest for life. But the ache for Will remains. It is so deep, so entrenched that her father has made her join a ‘Moving On’ therapy group for grieving people. Over there, she meets people, makes friends and learns a little more about grieving and how to overcome it.
New characters are also introduced – the first is the gorgeous paramedic called ‘Ambulance Sam’ and the second, an unexpected blast from Will’s past – Lily.
The plot comprises of Lou’s attempts to overcome her grief by trying to live the life that Will told her to whilst getting stuck with a 16-year-old rich spoilt brat as well as being drawn to a handsome, keen and caring guy who brings with him hope of love and fear of being hurt again.
After You is a buoyant and breezy take on the after-effects of the bereavement of someone extremely close to you. A theme that appears so poignant and saddening has been portrayed blithely by Moyes. Even on occasions when we should feel sad and empathetic towards Lou, we can’t help but grin at her clumsiness, at her silliness. Her spark is still alive but it just requires the right people to bring it to the fore and that is what Moyes shows in this light-hearted, jaunty take on life as we know it.
Once again, I would say that this isn’t a typical romance novel although it is brimming with love and zest; for family, friends, accomplices, strangers and most importantly, for life. Through Lou, Moyes teaches us the potential for rekindling a passion for life despite loss. Moyes allows her readers to feel good, smile and cry through the striking misfortunes that life throws our way, and that is the most endearing thing about this novel.
Although not as touching and emotional as the first, After You is a must read!
This novel is ideally for those who love reading feel-good stories that affirm life.