After You by Jojo Moyes

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Actual Rating: 2.5

I’m kind of disappointed. But I’m not surprised, either.
Me Before You was such a heartbreaking and beautiful book for me – I’d have given it a million stars if I could. And, after reading Me Before You, I felt such a sense of satisfaction and completion, and I knew – This book does not need a sequel.

And yet, there was one, and I was still very curious as to how Jojo Moyes was going to pull it off.
In the end, I honestly don’t think she did.

In terms of writing style, I think that After You definitely didn’t have the same tear-inducing factor that Me Before You did. Sure, there were some witty lines and some that made my heart shudder, but in the long run, it was absolutely nothing compared to what I felt for this book’s prequel.

I wish this book focused more on Lou’s journey to finding herself, but After You centered around other characters instead, namely those who were connected to Will.
It felt like much of the story circled around Lily – a bratty, uncontrollable teenager, who turns out all right in the end. Shocking.
Now, I know the point of Lily was to show the depth of her character and the things she’s had to deal with, but it all just felt a little over the top, and I just wasn’t able to stand her character.

Not only this, but I felt like her relationship with Lou just wasn’t quite…”there”.
Lily made obvious mistakes and bad choices, but at the end of the day, she was painted as an amazing person who loved gardening and felt alone and was victimized – the depth to her personality kind of disappeared in the process of the story, and her character simply made a 180 and went from bratty rebel to someone who was broken and needed to be loved.

But moving on – Sam.
I love Sam’s character, I really do. But I just didn’t feel the same chemistry between him and Lou that I felt with Will and Louisa. There was so much depth to Will and Louisa: we followed their story through the ups and downs, and we saw how they progressed from strangers to lovers. With Sam, it felt like he was just there. Sure, he and Lou were in love. Sure, they…did “it”. Sure, he wanted the best for her. But so what? I just didn’t feel the connection there.

And speaking of Sam, there was one line I really had trouble processing:

‘I know you were a mess. I picked up that mess.’

So basically, Lou is a mess, and Sam is the one that saved her?
That’s what I got from this sentence, and what I had wanted was for Louisa to pick herself up, because the sequel should’ve been about Lou’s growth as a person, not about her knight in shining armor.

With the issue of not having enough of Louisa comes the biggest thing that distracted the story from her character, the twisted plot.
Plot was definitely my biggest issue with the book.
After reading Me Before You, which was simply a heartbreaking journey of love and acceptance, I felt like After You read more like a YA novel (or even a fanfiction) where action and needless drama was thrown into the story to make it more interesting and tearjerking, but it simply didn’t work.

And because of these plot twists, Louisa’s story took a backseat and I feel like there wasn’t enough of her story to finish it off, and after reading this book, I was left feeling less satisfied than I was after reading Me Before You.

What I will give After You, is that even though Lou development wasn’t quite there, at the end I was able to clearly see how she had changed as a person and how she was starting to live for herself.

Still, I do think that Me Before You would be one of the greatest examples of books that would have done amazing as standalones.

I kind of wish I just let myself wonder.

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