Monday, September 28, 2015

Just Live

"The only way to avoid being left behind was to start moving."
--Jojo Moyes, After You

Genre: Adult Contemporary
Publisher: Pamela Dorman Books
Pages: 368
Publication Date: September 29h, 2015
Source: Review copy provided by publisher 
Previous Books in Series: Me Before You
Goodreads Description

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.

After You is quintessential Jojo Moyes—a novel that will make you laugh, cry, and rejoice at being back in the world she creates. Here she does what few novelists can do—revisits beloved characters and takes them to places neither they nor we ever expected.
There is something magical every time I read a Jojo Moyes book and that is its ability to make me feel like I'm wrapped up in a warm blanket. What the hell do I mean like that? I mean I'm comfortable. I'm content. I feel at ease. I immediately relax into the cadence of her writing and it defines the words 'leisure reading.' Few books and authors make me feel like I'm at home; Jojo Moyes books do this for me. From the first page, I felt an ease with the story and was quickly enveloped back into Lou's world.

Lou has been struggling for obvious reasons after the death of her love, Will Traynor. She feels like a sham because she hasn't been living the way she knows he would want her to live. She can't seem to move on, she feels lost, adrift, and finds little reason to enjoy life. It's heartbreaking. It's frustrating. It's real. While my feelings were definitely more for the heartbreaking there were moments when I just wanted to shake Lou. Not because I was annoyed with her but because I just wished that was all it took for her to snap out of it. I cannot even begin to imagine what she feels but when I try, I just feel so sad for her. I know it can't be easy and watching her slowly put herself back together was a fantastic addition to the Me Before You story.

After an accident, Lou finds herself at a Moving On support group. She, again, feels a little like a sham because of the brief time she did know Will. I personally believe it's quality not quantity but I really enjoyed these interludes and the scenes of the meetings. It was extremely interesting and realistic to read about the different ways people grieve and try and move on. Because of group circumstances and a little bit of serendipity, Lou meets Sam. There is romantic involvement and how this all plays out I absolutely loved. I felt that it was completely realistic and on point with how Lou's or anybody's first relationship post-trauma would go. There's a lot of stop and go and some hilarious misunderstandings but I loved it. Lou and Sam both have their flaws and I really enjoyed seeing them together.

There is another huge aspect to the plot that I cannot say anything about because hello, massive spoilers but I will say that I loved it. It was unexpected, difficult to read at times because of the emotion involved, frustrating, and absolutely heart-warming. I can see how people might not like it but it would seriously break my heart if people don't react well to this part of the story. It made me tear up multiple times and it just...makes sense and it makes me love Lou so fucking much. It hurts my heart how much I fucking love and adore Lou. *sigh*

Lou's family is also a prevalent piece of the story. Oh, my gosh. They're so fucking hilarious, I just can't. Her parents were my favorite part of the supporting story and I absolutely LOVED watching her interact with her parents and their own problems. The sister dynamic was also on point. While I struggled with feeling their love in Me Before You, this book brought an entirely new depth to Treena and Lou's relationship. I loved their blatant commentary to one another and Treena's tell-it-like-it-is stance on Lou's choices is pretty much spot on with how sisters are...at least it's how me and my sisters are. Absolutely loved this.

While After You doesn't have the traumatic emotional impact Me Before You did--thank God for that--it was extremely powerful in a quiet way. It's a young woman trying to put her life back together after it fell apart when she finally thought her life was going somewhere. It's a young woman trying to find her place in a world that wants you to fail. It's a young woman finding her voice. I love Lou. I can't get enough of Lou. And this story was a perfect complement to Me Before You

Backstage Pass
If you love Jojo Moyes, Lou Clark, and moving on...this book's for you.

2 comments:

  1. I am SO excited for this one, and I'm so glad you loved it. I want to buy it soo badly but, for now, (and because I have another brand new Jojo I still have not read), I will request it from my library and hope it doesn't take 2348 weeks to get here.

    Hope you had a lovely weekend! <3

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  2. I'm nervous about reading AFTER YOU! I'm pretty attached to ME BEFORE YOU, and felt really emotionally wrecked at the ending (though I thought it worked for her story). I do happen to be the person who thrives on hope and recovery after tragedy though, so I'm curious about that part of the story!

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