"STILL ME," by Jojo Moyes, Pamela Dorman Books, 400 pages (f) (ages 16 and up)
"Still Me," the third novel in the New York Times best-selling series "Me Before You," charms audiences once more as author Jojo Moyes provides readers with yet another heartwarming tale following the life of Louisa Clark. While Will Traynor, her love interest from the first book, is physically absent, his influence continues to play a prominent role in Louisa's ability to find love again. It's a love that brings not only romance, but also a discovery of self.
Still the same small-town girl in the bumblebee tights, Louisa leaves the familiarity and comfort of England, the only place she's called home, to fulfill Will's final request of her.
However, this new life is not without its sacrifices.
Leaving behind her boyfriend, Sam, and her family, she travels across the pond to New York City to be a caretaker for a new family. Excited and nervous for the adventure, she finds comfort knowing that Nathan, a co-worker she had met working for the Traynors, is working under the same roof.
Louisa is immediately thrust into a world that contrasts her own simple life with that of New York City's wealthiest elite. At first, the bright lights of the city, the fancy ball gowns and limo rides excite her, but Louisa soon discovers that even the brightest lights eventually fade. It is in these dim moments, where she is forced to manage the strains of her long-distance relationship, form new friendships and self-reflect that she finally discovers what Will truly wanted for her.
As the pages turn, the reader watches Louisa transform into someone new. A braver, stronger version of her old self, Louisa is the type of modern heroine this world needs more of.
Unable to put the book down for more than a quick break for the necessities of life, this well-written, entertaining novel demonstrates the complexities of finding one's self and finding love through humor, all-too-familiar sadness, unwelcomed hardships and surprising friendships. It is these relatable emotions Moyes so accurately captures that make the characters come alive on the page, leaving the reader to have courage to follow Louisa's footsteps and perhaps be the heroine of her own story once that final page has been turned.
Far less tragic than the impossible love between Will Traynor and Louisa Clark that left readers wiping tears in the first book, this book provides a different type of love story. While readers will get the romance Moyes has become known for, woven within that tale are the equally important themes of falling in love with yourself and the life you choose to live.
Content advisory: "Still Me" contains some mild swearing and references to sexual content but nothing graphic.