I am really uninspired to write at the moment, but I am, as always, reading a lot. I don’t review all of the books I read, only the ones that I truly believe NEED to be read, and After You is definitely one of those books.

But first… you have GOT TO read Me Before You by Jojo Moyes. It is the most beautiful, memorable, emotionally challenging books I have ever read. I laughed, I cried, I was enlightened!

After You is the highly anticipated sequel to Me Before You and it launched over the weekend, so naturally I spent the entire weekend devouring this book. It did not disappoint!

[embedplusvideo height=”338″ width=”450″ editlink=”http://bit.ly/1RbNTt9″ standard=”http://www.youtube.com/v/p1BG8NyhEqA?fs=1″ vars=”ytid=p1BG8NyhEqA&width=450&height=338&start=&stop=&rs=w&hd=0&autoplay=0&react=1&chapters=&notes=” id=”ep9260″ /]

After YouLouisa 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.

I won’t lie, I had very mixed feelings about a sequal to Me Before You, because no book could ever top that one read, nothing can every come close to the power and the beauty and the sadness and everything that was within the story of Me Before You. But I did love After You.

For me, After You, takes a good look at grief and the grieving process and reminds us that sometimes, the most extraordinary transformations can occur out of such heartache and darkness. That sometimes, real grief and heartache and help us to grow and live our lives to our full potential. And I felt this book did a great job of exploring grief, grieving, coping and ultimately reinvention of oneself.

Aside from the beautiful Will, all of my favorite characters appeared in this book, including Lou’s completely hilarious family, who are so perfectly dysfunctional. I especially adore her parents, who reminded me so much of characters from Bridget Jones’s Diary.

The story is so much more than just grief and the ending of Will’s life and very much about new beginnings, self examination and exploration and recreation of oneself, but told with such compassion, intelligence and wit that you’ll find yourself laughing, through the tears.

I will say this…. it is NOT Me Before You, but like I mentioned earlier, nothing EVER will be. But it is a solid 4.5 star read and worth the time to read it. When the book ended, it didn’t feel like an ending, but rather the beginning, a fresh start, a reawakening, a new life for Lou.

The book has had some mixed reviews, I think this is mostly because huge fans of Me Before You may have expected or anticipated more of the revelation that was MBY, but it’s not…. it’s about life after loss… coming to terms with grief. It is still a beautiful and worthwhile read!

Read it here!