**Spoiler Warning: After You is a sequel, so please do not read this review if you haven’t read Me Before You yet as it does contain spoilers!**
I was really apprehensive about reading After You as I was worried it would be a let down in comparison to Me Before You. I thought the first book was perfect and was happy with how it ended. I didn’t think a sequel was necessary, and to be honest, after actually reading it I still don’t think it was necessary.
After You is set two years after Me Before You, and shows how Lou is adapting to life without Will. Obviously the first book was heartbreaking and left me a sobbing mess, but the humour and banter between the two characters balanced the tone and kept it from getting too dark. On the other hand, After You was straight up depressing at times. Obviously the subject matter is very serious and Lou is very much entitled to grieve, it’s just not fun to read.
The characters were a disappointment too. Lou felt like a completely different character to me, there was none of her quirky charm from Me Before You that I loved. I got really frustrated with her at times for making terrible decisions and being a complete pushover, especially concerning Lily. Characters from the first book are barely featured except for random sub plots that never really pay off. I really sympathised with Will’s mum in Me Before You and would have liked to know more about how she was coping, perhaps by having a chapter from her POV, which didn’t really happen. I didn’t connect with any of the new characters, Lily in particular was completely unlikeable. She basically acted like a brat for 90% of the book and treated Lou terribly, so I found her completely unsympathetic. Her stubbornness was constantly compared to Will’s which didn’t work for me. After what he went through, Will was entitled to be stubborn and rude, Lily just treated people terribly for no reason. There’s also a new love interest in After You, who’s basically your average forgettable romantic hero. There’s nothing special about him and I didn’t feel any connection between him and Lou.
I think if After You had been a stand alone book I’d have enjoyed it more.The writing is good and the plot is interesting, but overall, the main problem was that it just really doesn’t stand up to the first book.