Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

Louisa Clark and Will Traynor in Me Before You

In this post, we discuss one of Tera’s favorite star-crossed romance stories, the Me Before You series by Jojo Moyes. If you’re looking for related information about:

…then you’re in the right place! To begin, let’s talk about the author behind the series.

Who is Jojo Moyes?

Move over, Nicholas Sparks—there’s a new literary heartbreaker in town, and her name is Jojo Moyes. Jojo is from the UK, but her books transcend continental borders, having been translated into 46 different languages, and with the ability to whisk readers away from every corner of the world. Her readers are not only transported to new locales but are taken on an emotional journey in each of her books. At the time of this post, Jojo has written 12 novels, her most well-known work being the Me Before You series.

Welcome to the Me Before You series by Jojo Moyes

What is the Me Before You series about?

Be prepared for emotional devastation as you join Louisa on her journey to adulthood and first love. Much like #Hessa, she gets her happy ending, but she sure works for it all along the way. I love when a book has the ability to make me feel what the characters are feeling. They’re your best friend, your spirit animal, your confidant—all rolled into one. It’s a special story that can leave you reeling for that character and wishing you were there to comfort them. The Me Before You series will leave you with the kind of book hangover in which you just want to dive back in and make sure Lou is okay.

Who is Louisa Clark?

Louisa quickly earns readers’ undying devotion with her quirky, upbeat personality and her ability to care for everyone in her life (even when they don’t deserve it, or to her detriment). When we first meet her, she’s working in a café, but when she’s let go due to low profits, she must find a new job and fast. With her father losing his job and having a hard time finding new work, Louisa is put in the position of being responsible for her family. This added pressure does not diminish Lou’s love for life and all of the small things that make it so magical. And it’s during this job search that she first meets Will Traynor.

Who is Will Traynor?

When we first meet Will, it’s hard to sympathize with him, yet also very easy to feel pity for him. Will was involved in a tragic accident that left him quadriplegic. The once fun-loving, life of every party is now confined to a wheelchair, unable to move anything below his neck. But he manages to put his quick mind and smart mouth to use by making everyone around him miserable. It’s during his first meeting with Louisa that he does his absolute best to scare her off.

Who is Sam Fielding?

Sam is a paramedic who meets Louisa at one of the lowest moments of her life. He later becomes the one who saves her in more ways than one. He is Louisa’s love interest throughout After You and Still Me, and by the end of the series, he becomes Louisa’s happily ever after. SO, YAY SAM!!!

How many books are in the Me Before You series?

Three—it’s a trilogy. Me Before You was published in 2012, After You was published in 2015, and Still Me was published in 2018. Me Before You was adapted to film in 2016, and stars Emilia Clarke and Sam Claflin.

Read on for a quick synopsis of each book, as well as the movie adaptation.

Me Before You summary

We meet Louisa (Lou) as she is losing her job and begins her search for a new one. You see, she needs this job to help her family make ends meet. She goes to a temp agency that is very short on jobs, but they do have one opening that’s actually been unfilled for a while. People keep leaving this particular position, but it pays well. Lou is willing to try anything and goes for an interview. Here, we meet Will Traynor. He is extremely disagreeable during their meeting. Involved in a tragic accident that had left him quadriplegic, his demeanor is understandably bitter. We find out later in the book that he does not want to live like this, which is a big reason he treats others the way he does. Lou is hired as his companion, to socialize with him and help him have more fun. Will already employs a nurse, so Lou doesn’t need to do anything other than be there for him.

Louisa had mixed feelings about Will as he was initially abrasive and, at the time, she already had a steady boyfriend named Patrick. Patrick was nice enough, but very self-centered. Hers and Patrick’s lives are planned around Patrick and what he wants. Eventually, Patrick observes Louisa becoming close to Will and tries to come between them, but it’s no use: Louisa and Will are falling in love. Will cares about Louisa, and her wants, and he consistently shows it.  A memorable scene is when Patrick first realizes he’s lost after giving Louisa a necklace that wasn’t even remotely her style for her birthday. Will gives her a pair of adult-sized, striped bumblebee tights—something she had mentioned loving as a young girl but had grown out of.

True love

Will is unable to resist Louisa’s plucky attitude and love of the small things in life, and we get to watch as Louisa and Will fall in love. They build such great memories with Louisa pushing Will to do things that he hasn’t done since before his accident. She takes him to a concert (a first for Louisa), accompanies him to his ex-girlfriend’s wedding, and goes on a beach vacation with him among other things. And Will starts going along with these activities to help Louisa live, as well. He’d been lucky prior to his accident, living a full life with lots of experiences, but Louisa hadn’t been so lucky. He wants her to see what the world has to offer outside of their small town in England.

Will & Louisa have a happy ending…right?

Unfortunately, as their feelings grow for each other, they’re torn apart when it’s revealed that Will plans to end his life through assisted suicide. He doesn’t want to go on living, remembering his life before the accident. Will doesn’t want to love Louisa while not being the man he once was. Having made a deal with his parents (prior to meeting Louisa) that he’d give them six months to change his mind, and if they couldn’t, they’d support his decision, Will intends to keep his end of the deal. Louisa, understandably distraught, can’t understand why love isn’t enough to change Will’s mind. Vowing to not be part of his plan, she ultimately changes her mind and stays with him. He can’t die thinking she didn’t love him.

So Will ends his life, and Louisa is left to pick up the pieces. He leaves her a letter, asking her to live and experience the world, to do the things she wants to, and to be brave. He even leaves her a little money so she can do these things without having to worry about her finances. The book ends with Louisa determined to live a life Will would be proud of, her heart set on feeling the joy he’d wanted for her.

After You by Jojo Moyes summary

After You opens with Lou doing her best to fulfill Will’s wish as she copes with his death. She can’t seem to find her place and ends up working at an airport bar, feeling like she’s let Will down. During a night of self-pity, Louisa drinks a little too much and falls off her room. She is seriously injured, having multiple broken bones, and is rushed to the hospital. During this dramatic event, Louisa meets someone who becomes incredibly important in her life and plays an integral role in helping her not only heal, but also find love again. Sam Fielding is the name of the paramedic who helped Louisa. And he remains in her life after she’s healed, becoming her romantic partner. Louisa is learning to love again, and Sam is there to show her how much she deserves that happiness. 

Louisa then meets Lily, Will’s troubled teenaged daughter, who wants to learn about her dad through Louisa. Lily gives Louisa a little bit of Will back, and Louisa helps Lily get to know her dad as someone other than the playboy her mother claims he was. Together, they all three grow together, finding a place in the world for themselves, and a way to grieve their own loses (Sam’s sister passes away from cancer).

Still Me by Jojo Moyes summary

Louisa and Sam are in love but that love is tested when Louisa decides to travel to America for work. She will be a companion for a wealthy woman Agnes Gopnik.  Louisa needs to do this to continue her growth that she feels Will would have wanted but it is hard leaving Sam. Sam also feels like Louisa’s love for Will overshadows hers for him.  Throughout this book we see Louisa return to her sweet, loving nature from Me Before You and finding joy in the small things.  But her love with Sam is tested through distance both physically and emotionally. 

Their relationship is further tested by outside influences.  Louisa meets Josh Ryan, the spitting image of Will Traynor.  He is clearly interested in her and she is taken in by how much he reminds her of Will.  Sam is assigned a new partner, Katie, who clearly is interested in him.  While Sam may not reciprocate Katie’s feelings he does nothing to dissuade her and also begins leaving pieces out of stories to Louisa.  This makes Louisa doubt him and their relationship.  At the same time, Sam is doubting his relationship with Louisa due to the distance and the difficulties of this distance and that Louisa chose to go knowing it would be difficult.  This comes to a head when Louisa gets to go home early for Christmas and finds Katie at Sam’s house making dinner with him and then kissing him.  Louisa shuts down and refuses to speak with him.  

Louisa goes back to America after the holiday break broken hearted but still seeing the good.  Louisa is accused of stealing and is fired but she did not do it and is later proven innocent.  To avoid possible legal action, Mr. Gopnik, asks Louisa to come back which she refuses but she does ask him to fund a public library in Will’s name.  Louisa is again hit with tragedy when her grandfather dies.  She travels home again to attend the funeral where same delivers her Christmas present and indicates that he is with Katie now.  Louisa travels back to America again brokenhearted.  Sam knowing he messed up and that he loves Louisa decides that he is going to do what it takes to get her back and travels to America. He confesses that he knew Katie was interested and that it felt good but that he was never with her and he and Louisa make up.

Me Before You series review

I love a story that can convince me that the characters are my friends and pulls me into the story. I FELT it when Louisa fell in love with Will, and I was shattered right along with her when she found out that he was set on ending his life. I championed her when she rediscovered her love of the world around her and when she found someone to love again. The entire series had me rooting for Louisa.

While I wanted Will to change his mind and live his life with Louisa, I also understood why he felt he couldn’t; I understood his pain and put myself in his shoes. Would I decide to end my life if I couldn’t really live? Would falling madly in love change that or solidify my choice?

This series had everything I love in a good story. It had a heroine who wasn’t perfect and was someone I saw myself in and imagine I could be friends with. It had not only one love story, but so many. Some were conventional, like Sam and Louisa’s, but others were not. It was an emotional rollercoaster that left me devastated at times and soaring at others. There were times I could recall my own emotions from similar experiences in my own past. And most importantly, it had difficult moments that made me think about myself and what I thought was the right thing to do. I learned about myself and how I view situations.

This series left me with a book hangover and I just wanted to go back into Louisa’s life and check on her. I hope she is still living a happy and fulfilled life with Sam.

If you’ve read the Me Before You series, or seen the movie, what did you think? What would you have done in Will’s shoes?

Looking for something similar?

Sandra recommends 100 Days of Sunlight by Abbie Emmons. It’s a sweet, contemporary YA romance that has a lot in common with the Me Before You story.

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