Rummanah Aasi
 Jojo Moyes' breakout novel, Me Before You, is a heartbreaking and emotional novel. I was a bit surprised to learn she had planned on writing a companion novel. Though it was nice to see the characters again, the sequel did not have much of an emotional impact on me.

Description (edited to avoid spoilers): 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.

Review: Though After You is a companion novel and takes place 18 months after Me Before You, I would highly recommend reading Me Before You first as there are major spoilers in the plot of After You. After Louisa was given the opportunity of a lifetime to live her life, she is still left with a hollow heart. She's settled in an empty London flat and has taken a dreary waitress job at an airport pub. After falling off her apartment roof terrace in a drunken state, she momentarily fears she'll end up paralyzed herself, but Sam, the paramedic treats and saves her. Louisa's family, scared of her mental state, takes her in, which is where the books shines with the family's warmth and humor. 
  Just when I wanted to know more about Sam, the story then shifts when Louisa returns to London and finds a troubled teen named Lily on her doorstep. Lily is a selfish, bratty teen, and a character that I didn't much care for until her relevance is revealed. Once we found out Lily's role in the story, she takes over the book, which made wonder why Louisa is even present in this book and told mostly in her point of view. 
  There are surprises and misunderstandings sprinkled throughout the book to keep the plot moving, however, they are all neatly tied up. The romance between Louisa and Sam is cute, but it felt a bit superficial to me because Sam was a little too perfect as a love interest. While the novel does a decent job in exploring how different people grieve and mourn, its seriousness doesn't sustain with the addition of stereotypical characters such as Lily's narcissistic, rich, and distant mother.
 While I'm glad to be back with the characters that I liked in Me Before You, After You does not leave a lasting impression and isn't as emotionally intense. If you had to choose of the two books to read, I would highly recommend just reading Me Before You

Rating: 3 stars

Words of Caution: There is some strong language, sexual situations, and mature themes. Recommended for older teens and adults only.

If you like this book try: P.S. I Love You by Cecilia Ahern, The Sweetness of Forgetting by Kristin Harmel, Pretending to Dance by Diane Chamberlain
9 Responses
  1. It's so hard for sequels, or companion novels, to live up to the hype of the first one. Glad you still enjoyed it somewhat, though.

    Majanka @ I Heart Reading

  2. Too bad this one did't shine like the first. I will have to check out the first.

  3. I was pretty meh about the first book so I guess I'd better just skip this one all together. Hope you are not in the line of the big storm heading toward the East Cost. Stay warm and dry this week-end! -Anne

  4. Too bad it just wasn't as good. At least you have the first book. One that I still want to read.

  5. Kindlemom Says:

    I definitely want to try this author but I think I will go with her other book first. Thanks so much for the recommendation!!

  6. Did Me Before You NEED a companion novel? Were there loose ends in the first novel? I think it's rare for companion novels to live up to stellar first novels. It sounds like this one was undecided what story it wanted to follow. Sorry it was a disappointment for you.

  7. Christina T Says:

    I loved Me Before You and felt the same way about After You. It wasn't as good and I suspected it wouldn't be because the first book set the bar pretty high. I agree that readers could forego reading this one unless they are desperate to find out what happens to Louisa.

  8. Aw, it's too bad the companion novel isn't as touching. I hate when that happens.

  9. Aylee Says:

    Ah okay, I still have to read Me Before You so I guess I will start with that one... and I may or may not read this afterwards. It certainly doesn't sound like anything special, but my understanding is that I am truly missing out by not reading Me Before You so I know I need to at least read that one!

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