Book Review | After You by Jojo Moyes

I spent way too long after finishing Me Before You in a rage. In fact, the rage carried over into my enjoyment of this novel for the first half or so. As much as I tried not to let my anger shape the way I felt about this book, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t let it. Because I did.

I spent so much time being angry at Ms. Moyes over the ending of Me Before You, I almost didn’t even give this book a chance. But I needed to know how the story continued, so I tried to let go of the anger. It worked out for me in the end.

I’m still a little mad though.

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.   

Lily Houghton-Miller

I spent half of this book hating Lily. She’s selfish, she’s a brat, and she’s manipulative. How could her father possibly be a character I enjoy so much? Well, it turns out her character flaws mostly derive from her horrible mother.

When we meet Lily, she’s about 16 years old and struggling to find her way in life. She’s the one who witnesses Lou’s accident. She’s the one who calls the ambulance. She’s annoying, but at the same time, I welcomed her to the story. She gives Lou something to focus on besides her grief.

Toward the end, I really came to like Lily. She was just a lost little girl – who better than Lou to help show her the way?

Moving On

The whole point of this novel is, in my opinion, how to deal with grief. It’s the focal point. This book, much as I hated it at first, helped me through my grief to. This novel was like aloe to a burn – it helped soothe my rage and calm my grief. I didn’t know when I started it how much I needed this book to help me get over the ending of Me Before You. This book was all about moving on and I think that’s what helped me enjoy it toward the middle and end.

Ambulance Sam

At first, I didn’t like him. I fell into the trap Moyes wove for us – the trap Lou herself fell into. But when I realized we were both wrong, I was pleased with the love interest selection. While Sam is no Will Traynor, he is definitely someone who understand Lou’s grief enough to help her work through it. By the end, I found myself hopeful for the sake of the budding romance between these two.

Feminism

There is little I love more than a woman who’s spent her whole life living to serve her husband and family discovering feminism. This was probably one of my favorite parts of the novel, aside from the healing of grief. Lou’s mother discovering feminism at the adult school is literally the best. For a book that kept me sad (and crying) throughout, the added spice of a feminist mother gave me some good laughs and kept me from becoming too depressed while reading. Also Lou’s dad being desperate to get Josie out of this movement is quite funny.

Overall Thoughts

Going in, I didn’t think I’d give this one as high a rating as Me Before You. I might have liked this one a smidge better because I felt it handled the whole recovering from grief thing really well. While I didn’t necessarily like how Moyes handled depression in Me Before You, I do really think she did a great job at handling grief. I mean, I’m still grieving the loss of a character, but this book helped me overcome a little bit. I definitely needed to see Lou heal too – even though I didn’t realize it when I picked this one up.

Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟

I was worried that this would be the sort of book that sucks – as is the case with a lot of second books’ in a series. I was quite impressed with this one. I’m wondering if anyone feels the same as me. Did you like After You? I noticed its rating is quite a bit lower on Goodreads. Share some thoughts down in the comments.

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