If You Like Me Before You...

Since its publication in 2012, JoJo Moyes’s Me Before You has been a story enjoyed by many. Perhaps you read it when it first came out or perhaps you’ve read it recently as part of one of the many book groups in FCPL’s system – both George Mason’s book discussion group and Kings Park’s afternoon book discussion group focused on the book this past February, and Chantilly’s group read and discussed it just last month. Perhaps you came to the story as a result of seeing the trailer for its movie adaptation, slotted to hit theaters in June. Whatever originally drew you to it, if you fell in love with the story and are looking for something similar to read and enjoy while you wait for June – we suggest you try these titles:

After You, JoJo Moyes [FIC MOY]

          It is undoubtedly cheating to list this title, published last fall, as many lovers of Me Before You have probably already jumped on it. The current holds list for this sequel is not long at all compared to the holds list for Me Before You though, so if you haven’t read it yet and want to know what happens to Louisa – now would be a good time to add yourself to the list! (Fun fact: Moyes herself wasn’t expecting to write a sequel to Me Before You – check out her blog announcement for After You, late last February.)

The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving, Jonathan Evison [FIC EVI]

          If you appreciated the caregiving theme and the changes in perspective that can come from the interaction between caregiver and patient, try this novel, which explores both without the romantic angle. Ben becomes a caregiver after a traumatic series of events which leads him to Trev, a young adult with Duchenne muscular dystrophy, and a journey to redemption and renewal.

A Walk to Remember, Nicholas Sparks [FIC SPA]

          As in Me Before You, reflecting on love in the face of illness, possible death and the momentous changes that that love can make in a person’s life is central to this title. Landon, a high school troublemaker, surprises both himself and his friends when he falls in love with the last person he would expect: Jamie, a minister’s daughter whose personality and outlook on life is very different from his own. What he learns from her lasts a lifetime. A bittersweet love story.

The Fault in Our Stars, John Green [YFIC GRE]

          Whether you're an avid reader of young adult fiction or haven’t tried reading young adult fiction in years, this title is not to be missed. Hazel Grace has barely had the opportunity to do the kinds of things Will was known for pre-accident in Me Before You, having been diagnosed with stage IV thyroid cancer at the age of 13. She’s barely even lived! That begins to change when she meets Augustus and finds herself experiencing things she never dreamed were possible.

Starlight on Willow Lake,  Susan Wiggs [FIC WIG]

          Like Me Before You, this novel explores the dynamics of caregiving for a paraplegic used to a much more active lifestyle, though the specifics are reversed. Mason has been able to rely on his brother and sister to care for his mother, who lost her husband at the same time she lost her mobility. His contribution is financing anything she could possibly need to adapt to her new life. But her care falls firmly on his shoulders when long term commitments require the absence of both his siblings. Luckily, he has Faith - a single mother trying to raise her two daughters years after the death of their father - who he hires on as a new caregiver to help. This novel is a testament to the power of love and family in the face of illness and death.

The Royal We, Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan [FIC COC]

          For those who enjoyed the setting and writing style, you may also like this title, which takes place primarily in England and handles similar relationship themes – both romantic and familial, though it ruminates less on illness and death. Nick and Bex are an unlikely couple trying to make their relationship last despite the influence of very different upbringings and family pressures, with a potential for both happily ever after and not-so-happily ever after hanging in the balance.

Have other recommendations for others who love Me Before You? Don’t forget to leave them, along with any suggestions for future “If You Like…” posts, in the comments.

-Denise Dolan, George Mason Regional Library

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