Suppose your life sucks. A lot. Your husband has done a vanishing act, your teenage stepson is being bullied and your math whiz daughter has a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that you can’t afford to pay for. That’s Jess’s life in a nutshell—until an unexpected knight-in-shining-armor offers to rescue them. Only Jess’s knight turns out to be Geeky Ed, the obnoxious tech millionaire whose vacation home she happens to clean. But Ed has big problems of his own, and driving the dysfunctional family to the Math Olympiad feels like his first unselfish act in ages . . . maybe ever.
The problem with writing a book like Me Before You – one that rips your heart out and digs a sharp high heel into as it lies on the ground – is that it’s really hard to write anything that comes after it. There will always be a comparison to that previous heart-breaker and when the new book doesn’t leave you emotionally damaged and hungover, it almost feels a little flat. That’s the fault of the reader, each book should stand alone and be viewed as such, but it’s difficult to separate them out when one had such a huge impact.
Here’s my issue:
So many books (chick lit, romance, new adult, women’s lit, all of ‘em) contain these stories that are basically “Hey we met four days ago but let’s fall in love that quickly and already forgot how to live without each other. That should take between 72 and 96 hours, right? Cool. Love you. Never leave me.”
JoJo Moyes does a decent job at setting up the premise and including all the little moments that make you pause and think “wait, am I developing feelings for this person?” but it’s so rushed. She does it better than most but it still leaves me trying to resist rolling my eyes at the speed of relationships in novels today. A handful of days does not true love make.
The basic premise seems a little too much like a checklist to me – poor good looking female, rich good looking guy, quirky kids wise beyond their years. Check, check, and check. It’s not a novel heavy on plot. The book was more about understanding relationships, human nature, and our own reactions to life’s ups and downs. It takes a look at the outcomes to all the little and big choices we make in life and asks the question of when is enough enough and if there will always be repercussions to pay. The most true part, to me, is that Moyes does a great job encompassing every parent’s biggest fear: Am I doing right by kids or am I failing them?
It’s a decent book. I wouldn’t say it’s a MUST READ but it’s still good. I liked the character development and themes throughout but it still felt like it was missing a little something. I can quite put my finger on what. It’s a mixed bag to me. Some good, some not so good, and it all balanced out to be alright. Just alright. Most of the time, I felt like Jess needed to take a step back and realize that she would find her way through, no matter what, like she always had. Deep breaths, Jess. You got this.
The required disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for review.