This book was not quite what I had expected from what I had heard. I expected to cry (I will not tell you what kind of tears they were), and I did. I expected interesting characters, and they were there. I expected a little more of the romance aspect, and that was the unexpected part. It was there, omnipresent, but not really acknowledged as much as I thought it would be, which wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, but I think it contributed to my feelings and emotions at the end of this book.
The highlight of this book for me was Lou, short for Louisa. She’s an amazing character to follow and her journey as a character is authentic. She’s an intriguing sort of girl, who definitely lives life to the beat of her own drum, which makes me feel like we could be best friends. She’s convinced herself she’s happy with her lot in life, but it doesn’t take long for the reader to see the chinks shine through. Her journey brings her to Will Traynor, who we meet after a terrible accident has affected his life in an extremely profound way. Lou is brought into his life for reasons we aren’t privy to right away, and they change each other in a very natural way. It was a privilege to be along for the ride.
The assorted side characters are also very real people with very real lives, goals, and thoughts on the lives they see unfolding before them. Occasionally, a chapter is from one of these side characters’ points of view and it really helps us to know the reality of how things are going, as perceived by someone other than Lou. These chapters did nothing but enhance the book for me.
Overall, this book is an essential for anyone who likes vibrant, strong characters involved in a story that becomes meaningful in a very unexpected way. This book shows lives that are probably happening all around us, every day. Enjoy the journey.
Recommend: Yes, if you like romantic stories that aren’t quite romance and/or authentic characters on authentic journeys
Rating: 3.75 out of 5 stars
Note: There is also a sequel called After You. I do hope to eventually read it. There’s also a movie version that I have yet to see?
What did you think? Have you read it? Love it or hate it? Let me know!