Lou Clark has her whole life ahead of her and she made a promise to live it fully. The problem is, she can’t seem to find a way to do that. After You is the sequel to Me Before You, the intense love story with impossible choices that’s hard to describe without spoiling the experience. Moyes’ new book picks up Lou’s story after Will Traynor is gone.
Lou has kept the first part of her promise to Will by moving to Paris, but she’s unhappy there and returns to London, a place where she continues to feel depressed and unsettled. A job at an airport bar offers no promise and a near-death experience fails to jump-start Lou’s desire to move on.
Many familiar characters return to Lou’s story, including her quirky family. Tentative ties to Will’s parents show how complicated Lou’s relationships are. And new characters muddle Lou’s ability to see what she needs to do.
Moyes tells Lou’s story in the same serious/funny style I loved in Me Before You, and the strength of that story reinforces this one. But After You seems to suffer the “sequel curse” as other second books do. Lou’s character rarely shows her lively and appealing former self. Of course, she’s depressed, so it’s somewhat understandable. And although there is a new love interest, the chemistry between them barely registers, compared to what happens between Lou and Will in Me Before You. Moyes includes a parallel awakening plot in which Lou’s mother takes a fresh look at her life, but that storyline seems a little stale. Other new characters are hard to get to know and run through their own flat plots.
The first half of the book is the stronger section. As the plot advances, however, some of the side stories seem forced, drawing on the appeal of the first book to lead the reader to a predictable finish, much different from the first book.
I’m glad I read After You, because I was curious about the characters, but this book doesn’t carry enough impact of Lou and Will’s story to stand on its own. All in all, a good follow-up read for fans of Me Before You, but otherwise a little plain.
For the full picture, check out my posts on Me Before You.
Thanks for reading – come back soon!