Review: Me Before You | And Everything In Between

Title: Me Before You

Author: Jojo Moyes

Publisher: Pamela Dorman Publishing/Viking

Publication Date: December 31, 2012

Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Series (Me Before You #1)

Rating: 4.5 Stars

Dear fellow Babblers,

Just bury me with Will please. I am feeling everything I never thought I could feel: heartbroken, in love, confused, hopeful, hopeless – everything is so beautiful and everything hurts. I’ve cried tremendous bouts of tears reading this love story, both happy and sad. This book is one you will never forget, taking readers on a journey through a closed off world where pain is so real that death is something to look forward to. Love, not even love sometimes is just not enough. Me Before You, set aside the promise that it will break your heart, will also change your perspective on the little things – walking, eating, the sunshine, taking chances, taking risks, having choices. It calls into question our everyday life and where we choose to go and who we choose to become from this moment.

Goodreads Review:

Louisa Clark is an ordinary young woman living an exceedingly ordinary life—steady boyfriend, close family—who has never been farther afield than their tiny village. She takes a badly needed job working for ex-Master of the Universe Will Traynor, who is wheelchair-bound after an accident. Will has always lived a huge life—big deals, extreme sports, worldwide travel—and now he’s pretty sure he cannot live the way he is.

Will is acerbic, moody, bossy—but Lou refuses to treat him with kid gloves, and soon his happiness means more to her than she expected. When she learns that Will has shocking plans of his own, she sets out to show him that life is still worth living.

A love story for this generation, Me Before You brings to life two people who couldn’t have less in common—a heartbreakingly romantic novel that asks, What do you do when making the person you love happy also means breaking your own heart?


Louisa Clark is a quirky, chatterbox 26-year-old whose wildly eccentric and colorful clothing makes her stand out in her small town outside of London. She’s worked at the same cafe since she was a teenager and cannot begin to dream up a life outside it’s doors. She’s been dating an average-looking personal trainer Patrick for years for no real reason than that it makes sense. One day she walks into work expecting to grind the same beans, hear the same voices ordering the same drinks, listening to the same customers making the same complaints. Instead she’s met with a ‘closed’ sign and her boss waiting to give her her last paycheck. Louisa’s life is about to take a turn that not even Louisa herself can see coming.

Will Traynor is a handsome business man. He indulges in life’s possibilities and is always looking to tomorrow before today is even finished. He jumps out airplanes, loves Parisian sidewalk cafes, and never not lives. He loves London the idea of having choices, taking risks, seeing the world; never being contained in one place. His life is turned upside down one rainy day on his way to work when he is hit by a driver who loses control of the wheel. In an instant Will loses all vivacity and faith in life as choices are here on out made more him, risks are no longer a possibility and of course not chances. Everything changes and nothing for Will never again be what life is supposed to be.

Will is a quadriplegic, confined to a wheelchair, has little voluntary movement and require round the clock care. All past caretakers with experience, degrees and professionalism have been a failure and walked out of the job. Time is ticking and Will’s mom is becoming desperate to find someone to save her son from himself. Louisa is out of a job, needs money to take care of her family, and has little experience outside of serving coffee. The local job centre places Louisa is a variety of jobs, all of which she finds pitiful and pathetic. She ultimately obtains a six month contract as a caretaker, finally accepting the job more for the promising salary than for her own sanity.

A few weeks into the job and Louisa’s breaking down. Will is impossibly cranky, bossy and can’t seem to stand Louisa near him, less the sound of her voice or knowledge of her presence in the house. Louisa busies herself with minuscule tasks like cleaning the tiles on the bathroom wall, bringing Will in continuous warm beverages and scrubbing the floor. However, as time wears on the two begin to fall into each others rhythm with some orders from Will and quick comebacks from Louisa. They develop a unmistakable bond and soon make it into each others hearts in a way that one could only think possible in fairytales.

Assisted suicide is a theme that pervades throughout the entire novel. It calls into question the meaning of life and making choices between life an death. Each character is put into the position of rethinking the very definition of life and distinguishing the nuances between living and surviving. Will seems to be just barely holding onto life as he now sees himself as simply a doll confined to a wheelchair, surviving and no longer being given the opportunity to make live or even make choices on his own life. He is left to watch the world pass him by, sitting in front of the window as the seasons change, people move on and the world outside forgets that he ever even existed. The portrayal of suicide in the novel was overwhelmingly touching as Moyes presents both sides of the story, leaving the reader to make his or her own decision on whether to take Will’s mothers side or Louisa’s mothers side.

The majority of the novel is narrated by Louisa with a few chapters told by other characters to give background information and tell thoughts of other characters that Louisa wouldn’t have access to such as Will’s nurse and friend, Nathan, and Louisa’s younger sister, Trina. As the novel progresses Louisa’s hope and confidence in her mission to save Will becomes stronger and all the more heartfelt. She becomes more than just an awkward companion to a crippled and overwhelmingly depressed man. She’s the one that keeps Will holding on for as long as he does. She joins online forums to find activities and ways to make Will believe he can still lead the life he once did. She thinks and spends every waking moment with Will in her thoughts, trying not to watch as the days, weeks, months on her calendar fall and slip away. Louisa is such an affective voice in the book through her observations of Will as well as her own self reflections of her progression. Will inspires her to get out of her bubble and take the world, while she still is young and has a chance. He urges her to seek adventure and be someone greater than what the town allow her to be. Will’s faith in Louisa gives Louisa the faith she needs in herself to take chances, risks and make choices. The reader sees this from little pivotal moments here and there in the story such as the scene in the tattoo parlor, Louisa’s flashback to the maze incident growing up, as well as her adventure scuba diving towards the end.

If all the little yet ripping events in between weren’t enough to tear apart my heart the ending was brutal, just completely and utterly brutal. After the final holiday that Louisa, Will and Nathan took together I was looking towards a completely different, more romantically classic ending. I was definitely not prepared for the way it all ended up. But then again, it is a sort of feminist, contemporary ending where the girl doesn’t necessarily need the guy to sweep her off her feet and lead her into a happy ever after in the sunset. In this story Louisa makes it into the sunset alone, without a guy. This little turn I really liked, but then again there is a part of me that just felt as though Will was completely giving up hoe at adapting to life as it was now available to him. His life was a miracle and, though it was not the life he chose, it was still in the grand scheme of things a life better than many other people were able to get out of a traumatic accident. But then again, reading all the little pieces of Will’s life that he could no longer have for himself from typing a letter on his computer with his bare hands, to dancing with a girl on his own two feet, and even to walking up the steps to his favorite restaurants there is also a part of me that admires Will for having held on for as long as he did. This new life was not life to Will. This new world of pain, constant attention when put in public situations, it was all just too much for Will, even with Louisa around to make it all somewhat more bearable.

Me Before You is an inspiring and memorable story that left me in tears, both happy and sad. Though the ending was not as I would have pictured going in, it was nonetheless perfect in its own right. Lives are changed inside and outside of the story as life and what it means to live one’s own life as one chooses must be redefined. The characters are charming and realistic to the point I found myself at times being them in the course of the story. This book captures everything I’ve ever looked for in a book – romance, heartache, loss and self discovery. This is one of those stories that will make you shudder, sending chills up your spine even after you turn the last page.

Yours Truly,

(Book image credits go to Goodreads)

Review: P.S. I Still Love You | P.S. I Still Love You Lara Jean!

Title: P.S. I Still Love You

Author: Jenny Han

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

Publication Date: May 26, 2015

Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Series

Rating: 4.5 Stars


Dear fellow Babblers,

I love this series. Okay. There. I’ve said it, happy? Any reader out there who has a heart, soul, and ability to cry agrees with me, it has to be a given. I’ve never been a fan of reading series because I always feel compelled to continue through them even if I don’t like the way it’s going. But this? To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is a magnificent series and I wasn’t expecting the second to be so charming. It wasn’t as humorous and downright adorable as the first, but it was nonetheless a delight to read and therefore, despite it being released over two years ago, I will still review it. I just really have to commend all the characters, humorous happenings, and fun dialogue that goes on in this book. Everyone needs to know that it is worth the hype and the corny compliments.  Continue reading “Review: P.S. I Still Love You | P.S. I Still Love You Lara Jean!”

ARC Review: The Goblins of Bellwater | A Nuanced Portrayal of Reality and Fantasy

Title: The Goblins of Bellwater

Author: Molly Ringle

Publisher: Central Avenue Publishing

Expected Publication Date: October 1, 2017

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance

Rating: 4.5 Stars


I received an ARC copy of The Goblins of Bellwater in exchange for an honest review. Thanks goes to NetGalley as well as Central Avenue Publishing for this advanced copy which is expected to be released October 1, 2017.

Dear fellow Babblers,

I’m giving The Goblins of Bellwater by author, Molly Ringle 4.5 stars. But wanna know a fun fact? About 35% through the book I was contemplating putting it down and walking away! But then I said to myself, “well I haven’t written a negative review in quite a while, so I’ll just read on and pick and choose why I don’t like this book and discuss it. But here I am telling y’all that I am rating it 4.5 stars. I am so glad I followed through a finished because this has been one of the greatest realistic fantasy (contradiction? Absolutely not!) titles I have read yet this year! This book is a fusion of realism and fantasy with a twist of romance and mental illness. This book is raw, real and somehow brings to the surface all the spirits and monsters that could be living in our very own world, but we will never be sure of it. Confused? Read on.  Continue reading “ARC Review: The Goblins of Bellwater | A Nuanced Portrayal of Reality and Fantasy”

Review: To All the Boy’s I’ve Loved Before | *Heart Still Swooning*

Title: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before (#1)

Author: Jenny Han

Publisher: Penerbit Spring

Publication Date: March 20, 2015

Genre: Young Adult, Romance

Rating: 5 Stars

“I wonder what it’s like to have that much power over a boy. I don’t think I’d want it; it’s a lot of responsibility to hold a person’s heart in your hands.”

Dear fellow Babblers,

More than half way through the year and I have finally started a series. Or, well, trilogy. Talk about a late bloomer, huh? I’m usually intimidated and anxious about going into series because what happens if I read the first and then not like it? I can’t just stop there. Even if I don’t like a series, I feel obliged to stick it out through each and every book. Spoiler alert: that did not happen with To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before. I’m writing a review on the first, though let me warn you that I read all three this week alone! I simply could not put this book down. It was not thrilling in any stretch of the imagination but had me smiling, laughing, reminiscing on my own high school relationships the whole way through. I’m officially a Jenny Han fangirl and after reading my review I hope my readers will be too.  Continue reading “Review: To All the Boy’s I’ve Loved Before | *Heart Still Swooning*”

Review: The Bear and the Nightingale | Fear the Fairytale

Title: The Bear and the Nightingale

Author: Katherine Arden

Publisher: Del Rey Books

Publication Date: January 10, 2017

Rating: 4.5 Stars


“But the rip in her blouse was large, her hunger vast, and her patience negligible even under better circumstances.”

Dear fellow Babblers,

The Bear and the Nightingale tells the story of a fairy tale come true. So we expect a beautiful maiden riding out to her castle in the sunset with her prince charming – happily ever after, right? Not in the least bit correct. This novel cradles the dangers that lurk behind old time Russian fairytales. This book is at once suspenseful and surreal. I was carried away by Arden’s lyrical prose from the very first page. Arden shows us the dark hidden secrets behind the folktales we grow up with through a young girls fight both for the peace and harmony of her people, and against the fierce winds of evil lurking around it at midwinter.  Continue reading “Review: The Bear and the Nightingale | Fear the Fairytale”

Review: A Summer of Drowning | A post for the solitaires

Title: A Summer of Drowning

Author: John Burnside

Publisher: Vintage Books

Publication Date: July 9, 2012

Rating: 4.5 Stars


Dear Fellow Babblers,
For today’s book review, A Summer of Drowning …

This post is for the solitary people, and therefore for the readers of A Summer of Drowning.  Continue reading “Review: A Summer of Drowning | A post for the solitaires”