“After You” by Jojo Moyes

After YouSequels are seldom as good as the originals, but it’s hard to resist them because the lure of revisiting a favorite character is just too strong. As soon as I finished Jojo Moyes’ Me Before You, I knew I wanted to read After You. Louisa was such a compelling heroine that it’s not surprising Moyes wanted to continue her story.

After You is fine, and it’s fun to see what’s occurred in the lives of Louisa and her family (as well as Will’s parents) since the ending of Me Before You. Fans who hoped that Lou would realize her full potential may be disappointed to find out that she’s working a crappy job in an Irish-themed airport bar (where she’s forced to wear a synthetic wig and sexy-Celtic-dancing-girl costume) and living in a spartan London flat. She’s also joined a self-help group for people who have recently lost a loved one.

Then 16-year-old Lily bursts into her life, claiming to be Will’s long-lost daughter. (Will’s college girlfriend, whom he’d broken up with, never told him she was pregnant.) This is the sort of plot twist that may cause many readers to roll their eyes, but troubled, wild-child Lily does at least shake up Lou’s sad and lonely life, and provides a way to bring Will back, in a sense, as Lou tries to impart to his daughter what he was like.

Complications and misunderstandings ensue, and ultimately Louisa has to make a choice: does the responsibility she feels toward Will’s daughter outweigh her own hopes and dreams for the future? And can she open her heart to a new romantic relationship? After You may not be as extraordinary (or as emotionally moving) as its predecessor, but it’s enjoyable enough to recommend to fans of the first book.

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