After You by Jojo Moyes

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After You by Jojo Moyes

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Category: General Fiction
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Ruth Ng
Reviewed by Ruth Ng
Summary: The sequel we've been waiting for! Funny and moving, with some really great characters.
Buy? yes Borrow? yes
Pages: 416 Date: September 2015
Publisher: Michael Joseph
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 9780718179618

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After writing the massively popular Me Before You, all of Jojo Moyes' readers were clamouring for more. Having been on the edge of our armchairs during the story, we all wanted to know what happened to Lou next. Would she be okay? Would she live her life with passion? Where would she go next? So the arrival of this story is a special treat, as it continues the tale of Lou, although perhaps not in the way we had imagined…

I found Me Before You an incredibly engaging, and totally traumatic read! I loved the characters, and although the book didn't have the ending I wanted, it probably had the ending it had to have. I am speaking a little cryptically since it's one of those books you have to read first without knowing too much about it, so if you haven't read it yet pop along and get a copy and then you can sit down and take a look at this one. If you just start with this book here you won't know what's going on, or who anyone is!

I had been looking forward to seeing Lou's future and had, of course, imagined all sorts of wondrous events and activities for her in my head. I suppose I should have known better, and I should have been prepared for the fact that any sequel wasn't going to be just a nice, easy, happy ending for Lou. I didn't expect quite as many traumatic events as she ends up facing however! This sequel is, in many places, quite bleak. It reflects well the realities of grief, and as much as I'd wanted Lou to bounce back into an amazing life it is entirely believable that she doesn't. She faces struggles and difficulties at every step of the way and even though I felt frustrated with her lack of action, I understood where it was coming from.

As with the first book, it's the characters that really made the story work for me. I was so happy to see Lou's mum and dad again, and her Grandad too. Their stories are funny and moving, and they're really well written characters. I also really liked that we get to see what happened with Will's parents, and the situation with his mum was unexpectedly emotional. There are lots of new people to meet as well, and although I guessed one of the twists in the story, the characters were still interesting enough that I didn't mind. I found myself once again routing for Lou - she's so very normal and natural, and somehow she feels like an old friend. Although her difficulties through the book, and those of the others characters too, are sometimes hard to read it is, again, a very compelling story and although it's a large book I raced through it, eager to see what happened.

The introduction of a new teenage character, who Lou ends up looking after, was an interesting plot idea and worked very well in the story. The growing relationship they have is well written, and the teenager is very realistic! I felt the teen's story was an important one too, though the way it's resolved didn't, in my opinion, reflect real-life situations very well. My real issue with the story was, once again, the ending. I felt that the first book ended in the wrong way, and this time, again, I really wasn't happy with how things are left. It felt a little like we were being set-up for a third book, but I was ultimately dissatisfied with where Lou was in her life, and what was happening next. I felt that the ways in which Lou had grown and developed as a person in the first book were lost and disregarded, and although it was, perhaps, understandable, it still left me wondering what the point of the first book had been if this was where Lou had ended up. A different ending would have bumped this up to a five star review from me but, as it is, this is still a good book. I have had to go away and plan out an alternative finale for Lou, but who knows, perhaps there will be another sequel soon and then Lou can finally have the happy ending she deserves!

Further reading suggestion: You might also enjoy reading Where Love Lies by Julie Cohen, The Day We Met by Roxie Cooper or The Woman Who Stole My Life by Marian Keyes.

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