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Romantic,
Insightful,
Inspiring

24 reviews

After You: A Novel
by Jojo Moyes

Published: 2015-09-29
Hardcover : 368 pages
29 members reading this now
79 clubs reading this now
35 members have read this book
Recommended to book clubs by 23 of 24 members
The sequel to Me Before You, which is now a major motion picture. Look out for Jojo’s new book, Paris for One and Other Stories, available now.

“We all lose what we love at some point, but in her poignant, funny way, Moyes reminds us that even if it’s not always happy, there is an ...
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Introduction

The sequel to Me Before You, which is now a major motion picture. Look out for Jojo’s new book, Paris for One and Other Stories, available now.

“We all lose what we love at some point, but in her poignant, funny way, Moyes reminds us that even if it’s not always happy, there is an ever after.” —Miami Herald

“You’re going to feel uncomfortable in your new world for a bit. But I hope you feel a bit exhilarated too. Live boldly. Push yourself. Don’t settle. Just live well. Just live. Love, Will.”

 
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.

Editorial Review

No editorial review at this time.

Excerpt

1

The big man at the end of the bar is sweating. He holds his head low over his double scotch and every few minutes he glances up and out behind him toward the door, and a fine sheen of perspiration glistens under the strip lights. He lets out a long, shaky breath disguised as a sigh and turns back to his drink. ... view entire excerpt...

Discussion Questions

1. What is Louisa’s emotional state at the start of this book? What has transpired for her between Will’s death and now?

2. Lou’s gig at the Shamrock and Clover is a great source of humor in the book. What other function does this particular job play in the book and how does it serve the story?

3. Lou worries that after her accident everyone thinks she’s suicidal. How would you describe her mental state and her role in the fall? Is she responsible, and why or why not?

4. Throughout the book Lou and her loved ones question her life decisions, and if she is in fact “living” at all after Will’s death. What is holding her back and what ultimately allows her to make changes?

5. Lou finds herself attracted to Sam, but she isn’t always straightforward with him about her feelings. What keeps her from being intimate with him?

6. How are the Traynors dealing with their complex grief in different ways?

7. How does the Moving On Circle help Lou? What insights does she take away from her experience?

8. In Chapter 19, the point of view changes to Lily’s perspective. Why does the author make this shift and how does it serve the overall plot of the book?

9. A running theme in the novel is about personal freedom and how Lou, Treena, and their mother all feel trapped by their respective situations. How do they learn from one another? How might they each benefit from having more freedom?

10. What does Lou learn from her relationship with Sam and how might these lessons serve her in her new life?

Suggested by Members

Grief
Life transitions
Value of community in overcoming obstacles in life
by Grandmarose (see profile) 12/17/15

Notes From the Author to the Bookclub

1. You’ve said that you didn’t plan to write a sequel to Me Before You. What was it that inspired you to return to these characters in After You?

Since the publication of Me Before You I have received the most astonishing amount of e-mail from readers, all of whom cared deeply about Will and Lou, and many of whom wanted to know what she did next, and answering these meant that these characters never left me in the way they had with other books. When I was asked to write the film adaptation of the book, I was once again thrust into Lou’s world—and gradually found myself asking the same question. I was wary of recycling Lou’s life for the sake of it—but then I had a eureka moment, where I woke up one morning at 5:30, sat bolt upright, and wondered: “But what if that happened . . . ?” And from that point, I knew where I wanted her to go.

2. After You begins with Louisa suffering a dramatic fall. Why did you choose to begin the book with this event?

I often start a story with an image—long before I have worked out the full idea for the book. In this case it was Lou walking unsteadily along the parapet of a high building, arms outstretched, with the city buzzing below. Once I worked out why she was up there, the scene pretty much wrote itself. And I’m trying to make my books a little quicker to get going at the start—you can’t get much faster than someone falling from a building!

3. The character of Lily Houghton-Miller is wonderfully drawn—a believable teenager who is at once wise and infuriating, and who turns out to have a major conflict of her own. How did Lily’s story grow or change through drafts of the novel?

Thank you. Lily was actually the most constant character in the book. While other characters underwent several metamorphoses, Lily burst into my imagination fully formed, just as Will had done. After struggling a little with Lou’s grief in the opening chapters of the book, it was actually enjoyable to have Lily’s energy take over the page—crackling and unpredictable and dark and funny. I wanted the readers to assume they knew just who she was—the typical moody teenager—but then realize, as with most characters, there was more to her behavior than meets the eye.

4. In many ways it’s Lily who helps Lou grow up. What can people of different generations teach us about ourselves?

I really wanted to write a book with a teenager in it, as I have two of my own, and the great revelation to me has been how funny and entertaining and generally nice they are—as long as you listen to them. They get such bad press, and we all assume we know what’s going on with them, but really they have such a complex world to negotiate—much more so than mine was (and which felt complex enough at the time!). I’ve learned a lot from having my own teenagers—and do every day. I hope by the end of the book readers have a lot of sympathy for her.

5. What are some of the challenges in writing a sequel to a love story? How did you go about pairing up Lou with another potential partner?

Well, I couldn’t imagine who was going to fill Will’s shoes, and I tried to write Sam for about six months, repeatedly stripping him out and rebuilding him, before he became Sam as he is now. I knew that he could be nothing like Will—not physically and certainly not mentally. He had to be solid enough not to be threatened by Will’s memory, but complex enough to provide his own challenge. He too came from a single image—standing in his half-built house, surrounded by his allotment and his hens. I think the thing I really loved about Sam was how sexy he became. Will’s relationship with Lou was, by necessity, so much in their heads and hearts. With Sam, Lou uncovers another facet of her personality completely.

6. Sam brings a whole new level of swoon to the paramedic profession. What is most important to you in creating an appealing love interest?

I think it’s believability. The difficulty when writing a love story, especially if you are frequently told that what you are writing is “romance,” is to create someone who is not a trope—not that tall, dark, handsome prince who is going to sweep you off your feet and make everything okay. Sam is less a rescuer than a facilitator—he is comfortable enough in his own skin to let Lou be what she needs to be. I think that is incredibly attractive. What I found with Sam is that the more I pared him down, the better he worked; unlike Will, the less he said, the more attractive he became. He probably now has half the dialogue that he did in my early drafts. He’s a doer, not a talker. But I was absolutely in love with him by the time I had finished—and that is a litmus test for writing a love interest. (Even my agent was in love with him!)

7. As Lou becomes more responsible for Lily, her own mother starts to break away from her responsibilities as she reads feminist literature. How do these two story arcs inform one another?

At base level, it’s about expectations of women—how far we put aside our own lives and ambitions to care for others—and the potential cost when we simply choose not to. Lily is a girl lost in the slipstream of a mother who thinks only of herself; while Josie, Lou’s mother, is spurred to try to work out who she is after a lifetime of never putting herself first. Lou vacillates between these two positions, and finally finds a place in which she can feel fulfilled. But I also thought it was really important for the supporting characters to have their own arcs—I didn’t think either the Traynors or the Clarks would be untouched by what had happened—and the book is really about how everyone has been affected by one man’s decision.

8. Without spoiling the ending for readers, can you talk about how you arrived at the decision to leave the story somewhat open?

It was a character thing. I wasn’t entirely sure what would happen until quite near the ending, at which point I realized that, as with Me Before You, I had to set aside what might give me private satisfaction and go with what I think the character would do. It was a fine balance. I hope I got it right.

9. You have an enthusiastic fan base eagerly awaiting this sequel. What do you think it is that readers respond to or identify with most in your work?

I’m never sure, as each book has its own strange alchemy and you are never sure what’s going to work until it’s done. But my main concern when I write is character—someone who might stay with you long after you finished reading— and I think it’s Lou’s character that readers respond to: her lack of malice, her quirkiness, her sweet nature, her stubbornness when it’s needed, and her ability to trip herself up time and time again. I think, from the messages I’m sent, that a lot of women see themselves in her (and a lot of men fall in love with her). I also think it’s the fact that readers laugh and cry while reading. As a reader, I love to be made to feel something—it’s more important to me than a beautifully honed paragraph—and I hope this one makes readers feel something too.

10. Now that you’ve returned to this story, are you ready to move on from Lou, or might there be one more book for her in the future?

I have a very vague idea for a third, but it’s really going to depend on whether readers want to see her again, and whether I can form this into a final chapter that works. I don’t think I’d write an endless series of Lou books, but I can certainly see a trilogy. I’m very fond of her, and of the whole family. It’s actually a pleasure to revisit them.

From the publisher

Book Club Recommendations

Member Reviews

Overall rating:
 
 
  "After You"by jeriwentz (see profile) 02/17/17

Great book and great writing. Jojo Moyes really captures the angst of modern living in a large city by young adults trying to make there way in life.
Great characters and dialogue. If y
... (read more)

 
by bubbex2 (see profile) 10/28/16

 
  "After You"by ciao2t (see profile) 10/06/16

A muti-dimensional sequel to Me After You, we find the main character, Louisa Clark, evolve and grow. Very engaging.

 
  "After You"by Carolynr (see profile) 08/27/16

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 acc... (read more)

 
by acelis (see profile) 08/17/16

 
  "After You"by kathyhaskins (see profile) 07/24/16

A wonderful follow up to Me After You; Louisa finds a life purpose and a new romance.

 
  "After you"by softballmom18 (see profile) 06/01/16

Great easy read love all her books!

 
by Meadowgirl (see profile) 05/29/16

 
by hockey (see profile) 05/10/16

 
by tnewman123 (see profile) 04/22/16

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