I’m not going to lie, Me Before You sat on my shelf for a while before I decided to actually read it. Partially because I’m more into thrillers than I am romances, but after the movie came out in 2016, I wanted to read it before I watched it. So, back in 2017, I bought the book at a used bookstore called the Book Warehouse in the San Marcos outlets during one of my many Texas trips. Personally, when going into family-owned or small franchise bookstores, my goal is to find a book I’ve been wanting that has a price tag that’s lower than Barnes&Nobles. Now, ThriftBooks sells it for a few dollars (click the link for a discount), but I wanted to see how cheap I could find it in-person. Usually, I don’t mind paying for books in-full, but with a 2012 release date I figured I’d be able to achieve this challenge eventually. Luckily, after a few minutes of browsing, Me Before You was found on one of their discount shelves with a 60% off sticker on the upper right-hand corner (although, it’s not pictured because I try to keep my books sticker free). What was once around $28, now turned into around $11 – which is a steal in the book world, especially around the date of the movie release.
After managing to avoid watching the movie for several years, I finally decided to read the first of the trilogy coincidentally right when Hulu took the movie off of its site. Now, upon starting Me Before You, I didn’t really have high hopes. Here comes another cheesy love story. I wonder how this is going to end, is what I usually think to myself when starting any YA novel or romance, yet this one surprised me. The story itself was really interesting and ended nowhere near where I expected it to in the beginning. When I first started reading it, for some reason I thought that Louisa would end up working for an old boyfriend, but what came after her employment was almost unexpected.
Overall, the book was enjoyable. I started reading it the second day of my honeymoon at the Omni-Interlocken Hotel in Broomfield, CO. Initially, I was reading Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine, buuuut that’s another story for another review. In other words, Me Before You was a much better poolside novel than Eleanor was. Despite all of my skepticism about yet another romance novel, I found myself flying through it. Will and Louisa just had the right chemistry throughout the entire book (from their initial meeting on up), and the downright feeling of upset I felt within the last few chapters was very real. Without releasing any spoilers, this novel didn’t end how I would’ve expected. Usually in romances, love always wins, no matter the cost, but Me Before You takes it to a whole other level. Needless to say, this book definitely deserves five stars in my opinion.
Plot: I’ve still yet to see the movie, but after watching previews, it wouldn’t be a giveaway to note that a 35-year-old Will Traynor is confined to a wheelchair. In the beginning of the book, it starts out by explaining how he became reliant on others. Once a resilient, adventurous, and stable man, Willwasn’t exactly the type of guy who could adapt to being a quadriplegic. He wasn’t the type of guy who could sit at home and watch movies all day, or the type of guy who could be content with solely listening to music. His life was filled with traveling and adventures, so after it was taken away by a horrific, unlucky accident, his life was shoved towards a negative direction. So, much so, that his mother would do anything to try and prevent the inevitable outcome ahead of them.
After a countless number of nurses, caregivers, and physical trainers, Will’s mom Camilla finally found one that she thought would fit for the next six months – Louisa Clark. A 26-year-old eccentric dresser and avid reader, Louisa Clark had no idea what she was getting into. Before Will, she lived in a world of her own. She was unambitious, felt as though she was outshined by her sister, and after getting fired from a coffeeshop, she felt as though her life was going downhill. In the Clark household, everyone works together to keep a roof over their heads. With one sister, a nephew, her granddad, and parents all in one house, it’s not hard to imagine how her living situation is. Also, in the beginning, she’s with her boyfriend Patrick. He’s a personal trainer who relies on strict diets and excessive exercise. As someone who clearly doesn’t care for either right off the bat, their relationship’s fate wasn’t exactly unpredictable.
Now, Louisa and Will weren’t exactly chums when she started as his caregiver. Their conversations were abrupt and to the point. She simply did chores around the house and, with the help of Nathan – his nurse and personal trainer – she also catered to his every need. However, it’s not long before they start to warm up to each other and begin going on journeys outside of the house. Although, with as cynical as Will is, not every outing ended up in a positive result. It takes Louisa a while before she understands exactly who Will Traynor is outside of the wheelchair, and she’ll do anything to save him from his seemingly-inevitable outcome in six months.