After You is the sequel to the hugely popular Me Before You, a film of which was released this year. We catch up with Lou a year or so after the events at the end of the first novel, and it turns out she hasn’t completely listened to the advice that Will gave her. Also, a teenage girl called Lily has just landed on her doorstep.
I was a little apprehensive about reading After You as I’d loved the original and I wasn’t sure if a sequel was needed and where it would take the characters. My doubts were correct – I was disappointed and found it very underwhelming. I found Lou SO frustrating this time. I understand that she is stuck in a cycle of grief and guilt about Will, but she won’t help herself to feel better. She is in a dead end job but isn’t looking for anything better. She has no friends, she is far away from her family, but doesn’t try to go and meet new people. She does eventually attend a moving on therapy group, which does bring some humour to the story from the other members, as well as Lou’s family when they appear. So, in short, she hasn’t listened to what Will told her at all.
What annoyed me most about Lou/the plot is, guess what eventually gets her out of her dead end cycle? A MAN. Ambulance Sam. Again, I understand that after having lost Will meeting someone else helps Lou not to feel so lonely, but the fact that she needed ‘a man’ to help her live some kind of life again really grated on me. She is also offered an incredible job offer at one point and it is possible that she won’t accept (not only because of Ambulance Sam, thankfully).
One other small thing frustrated me. Lou’s boss at the airport is horrible to her throughout, but when Lou finally stands up to him he seems to have a sudden personality transplant – I thought this was poor characterisation.
I wanted to enjoy this novel but I wish Jojo Moyes had just stuck with the original story. Her writing style is enjoyable to read and she does bring some humour, but in my opinion a sequel was unneeded.