Book Club: After You and Still Me
We’re continuing putting two book reviews at once! Today’s reviews are both sequels to Me Before You, a book I’ve already reviewed here.
After You by Jojo Moyes
After I wrote my review of Me Before You, I realized I may have liked the story a bit more than I was willing to admit, even to myself at the time. I decided that I needed to finish the trilogy up and I promptly downloaded After You on the Libby app.
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.
Related post: Book Club: Me Before You
I must have liked Me Before You a lot more than I was willing to admit because I found myself really curious about Louisa’s well-being after Will Traynor’s death. According to this book… not well. She’s depressed. All of the colorful clothes she loved to wear? All gone. She’ just wears dark, depressed colors now. She no longer has the same zest for life she did in the first book. I don’t blame her - the love of her life requested assisted suicide and asked her to be there for him after she spent months trying to get him to change his mind.
The book starts with a very sad Louisa working at a cafe at the airport. She had gone traveling with the money Will had left for her but she didn’t gain the experiences that Will had wanted. She was back in England with no real direction in life. While she sits on the roof of her apartment building, accidentally falls off when she’s given a scare by a girl. After a visit to the emergency room, people suggest she start going to a support group for people who have suffered loss in their lives. To add further complications in her life? That girl on the roof is Will’s biological daughter.
I wasn’t sure about Me Before You even needing a sequel in the first place but after reading this book, I am glad it was written. I just wanted to know that Louisa was okay. She reunites Will’s daughter with her biological grandparents, she dusts herself off and finds a new love, and even gets a new overseas job at the end (thanks to her and Will’s mutual Aussie nurse friend, Nathan). I gave this book four stars because I really enjoyed the way the writer wrote through Lou’s trauma and showed the readers that there’s still a lot of life to live after the death of a loved one.
Related post: Book Club: Landline
Still Me by Jojo Moyes
To be honest, after I finished After You, I didn’t understand why a third book was necessary. I felt that Lou was going to be fine and she’s moved on from Will. What else is there to say? Apparently an entire book-full.
Louisa Clark arrives in New York ready to start a new life, confident that she can embrace this new adventure and keep her relationship with Ambulance Sam alive across several thousand miles. She steps into the world of the superrich, working for Leonard Gopnik and his much younger second wife, Agnes. Lou is determined to get the most out of the experience and throws herself into her new job and New York life.
As she begins to mix in New York high society, Lou meets Joshua Ryan, a man who brings with him a whisper of her past. Before long, Lou finds herself torn between Fifth Avenue where she works and the treasure-filled vintage clothing store where she actually feels at home. And when matters come to a head, she has to ask herself: Who is Louisa Clark? And how do you find the courage to follow your heart--wherever that may lead?
Funny, romantic, and poignant, Still Me follows Lou as she discovers who she is and who she was always meant to be--and to live boldly in her brave new world.
Related post: Book Club: Everything, Everything
While I had my reservations on After You, I most definitely felt we didn’t really need a third book in this series. Still, I felt I followed Louisa this far, I may as well read about her new life in New York City.
In After You, Louis a is offered a job to be a sort of companion and assistant to a wealthy woman in NYC, just after she finds a new romance in ambulance driver Sam. She accepts the job and she and Sam try to do the long-distance thing. Life in New York City is very different, not just because she’s in a completely different country, but she’s never had to deal with the upper echelons of the wealthy New York socialite scene, and that difference is extremely apparent the moment Lou steps into the home of the Gopniks.
Leonard hires Louisa to be the companion of his much-younger second wife, Agnes. Agnes is a former masseuse from eastern Europe who hasn’t quite been accepted with open arms from the society her husband. Through many trials and tribulations, Louisa manages to navigate through life in a new country and finds that she really is, “Still Me.”
I gave this book five stars. It had a great romantic comedy scene at the end that, as cheesy as it was, really made me smile.