Lou Clark know how many footsteps there are between the bus stop and her home, that she likes working at The Buttered Bun tea shop, and that she may not love her boyfriend Patrick. What she doesn’t know is what she will do after losing her job. Will Traynor knows that a motorcycle accident took away his desire to live, that his life now seems diminished from what it once was, and how he’s going to change things. What he doesn’t know is that Lou is about to burst into his life in an explosion of colour. And in Jojo Moyes’ Me Before You, neither of them realizes just how much they’re going to change one another forever.
While marketed as adult fiction, young adult fiction readers shouldn’t dismiss reading Me Before You offhand. In fact, it is a perfect example of an adult novel that will have crossover appeal for the teens and adult readers of YA. The subject matter is rather heavy and emotional at times, and yet, Moyes’ writing won’t leave readers cold or bored. She has the gift of knowing when and how to make the reader laugh, cry, swoon, and ultimately rage at her characters and the situations that they find themselves in throughout the novel.
If one had to pick four words with which to describe this love story, then ‘great characters, story, and dilemma’ would more than suffice. Teens will eat up the romance and comedic elements, but the question of whether Will decides to go through with his desire to end his life or be persuaded by Lou’s efforts to make him see his life as worth living again will have the greatest impact on them. Assisted suicide and the ethics of it are hotly debated issues in the public eye, and readers may have their own opinions before they ever decide to pick up this book. No matter which side of the debate they fall on, it goes without saying that the in-depth look at how Lou and several other secondary characters view Will’s decision may cause the reader to question their opinion in a way that philosophical argument or case study may be unable to do. However, by approaching the subject through several first person narrations, especially that of Lou, readers see the issue – perhaps for the first time – in a personal way, making it an especially great book for those studying the ethics of euthanasia.
For those who are 14+, Me Before You is must read fiction.