Jojo Moyes's Me Before You is a wistful modern retelling of Beauty and the Beast with an ethical conundrum at its core. When Louisa Clark loses her job waiting tables at a local café, she's desperate to find work and winds up taking a position as caretaker to a quadriplegic man. Given her lack of health care experience, Louisa can't understand why the family would hire her. Then she meets the patient.
Will Traynor's fast-paced life of big business, international travel and daredevil hobbies ended when a motorcycle accident left him paralyzed below the shoulders; he's become caustic, withdrawn and nearly unbearable. When Louisa finds out he plans to commit assisted suicide in six months, her first instinct is to quit, but instead she sets out to change his mind with a hit-and-miss series of adventures that ultimately brings her out of her own shell. Before she knows it, saving Will's life is intimately connected to saving herself from heartbreak.
Given her chirpy personality, quirky sense of humor and enormous capacity for compassion, it's no surprise even moody, sarcastic Will finds Louisa irresistible. And though he never completely loses his edge, once Will lets his guard down, he's as charming and eloquent a hero as any romance reader could wish for. While the story contains several "pass the Kleenex" moments, the romance between these two irrepressible souls only intensifies the novel's core question: at what point should a disabled person's friends and family acknowledge that if he can no longer control his life, he should be allowed to end it? --Jaclyn Fulwood, youth services manager, Latah County Library District; blogger at Infinite Reads