I have been counting down the seconds until Me Before You (Pamela Dorman Books, 2012) is released in theaters on June 3 (today, yay!). Ever since I read the book by Jojo Moyes, I haven’t been able to get this incredible story out of my head. I laughed, I cried, I cried some more, and I promptly reread it as soon as I finished. This book is awesome, and I have high hopes for the movie version.
Critics have been calling this the most romantic movie of the year, which is always a good sign. It’s not easy to capture the magic of a book on screen, but Me Before You is one of those feel-good stories that seems like it would be awesome in any medium. So why is it so good exactly?
How much time do you have?
Me Before You is about Louisa Clark, a spunky, slightly aimless young woman who seems pretty content to live an ordinary life (aside from her quirky choice of clothing). She takes a job as caretaker to Will Traynor, a young man who became paralyzed after a horrible accident. Where Louisa is careful in living her life, Will was determined to live his to the fullest, which is why he has such a hard time with his current state. At first the two can’t stand each other, but they start to slowly open up. And then fall in love (of course!). Their chemistry is out of control as Lou sets out to show Will why life is still worth living. But it’s Lou who changes even more, realizing how sheltered she’s been and how few risks she’s truly taken. The story isn’t all sunshine and happiness though, as Will is struggling with a terrible decision, one that Lou is determined to change his mind about.
It’s a heart-wrenching book, but also gorgeous, funny, quick, and unbelievably moving. You must read this story, just be prepared to cry all the tears. We can even meet up in the movie theater afterwards. I’ll be the one clutching the Kleenex and outright sobbing/laughing/screaming for joy. If I don’t get kicked out before it’s over, I’ll consider it a win.
Moyes was a journalist for over a decade before she switched to writing romances. Since I loved Me Before You so much, I’m on a quest to read her other books ASAP. Here are the three I’m most excited to dive into and why you should join me:
After You (Pamela Dorman Books, 2015)
I don’t want to give too much away for those of you who haven’t read Me Before You, but let’s just say that things end pretty up in the air for Lou. But Will does give her a few suggestions about how to live her life, including: “Live boldly. Push yourself. Don’t settle.” After You is the story of Lou taking Will’s advice to heart. But when a freak accident sends her back home again, she’s not quite sure if she’s fulfilling her promise. Though she recovers, she has to make some tough decisions about her future and learn how to live with the events that rocked her world forever in Me Before You. I’m being vague on the plot (no spoilers!), but trust me when I say that I can’t wait to pick up this highly-acclaimed sequel.
The Girl You Left Behind (Penguin Books, 2014)
This book is apparently “another irresistible heartbreaker,” so I will definitely read it with some tissues nearby. But it still sounds awesome: in 1916 Sophie Lefevre is struggling to keep her family safe while her husband fights in the war. When her town is invaded and a German Kommandant becomes obsessed with the portrait her husband painted of her, Sophie is forced to make a horrible decision. Years later, modern-day Olivia owns the painting, having no clear idea of how much it’s worth. Her husband has just died, and her grief is caught up in the painting he gifted to her. But the true ownership of the art is not clear, and the process of discovering the truth sends Liv on a path that could potentially lead to love and healing. Moyes writes heartbreak and complicated emotions so well, which is why I’m dying to read The Girl You Left Behind.
One Plus One (Penguin Books, 2015)
But all this heartbreak can wear a girl out! Thankfully, Moyes also writes comedy and quirky family dynamics just as well. One Plus One is about single mom Jess Thomas who has a goth-teenage son and a math-genius daughter to care for after her husband up and leaves her. When she needs to get her family to Scotland in order for her daughter to compete in a math “Olympiad,” help comes in the form of tech millionaire Ed Nicholls. He’s also the man she cleans for and an obnoxious geek. Or so she thinks. The two grow closer and closer in this hilarious tale about family and finding love in unexpected places.