Before We Were Strangers
A Love Story
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From the USA TODAY bestselling author of Sweet Thing and Nowhere But Here comes a love story about a Craigslist “missed connection” post that gives two people a second chance at love fifteen years after they were separated in New York City.
To the Green-eyed Lovebird:
We met fifteen years ago, almost to the day, when I moved my stuff into the NYU dorm room next to yours at Senior House.
You called us fast friends. I like to think it was more.
We lived on nothing but the excitement of finding ourselves through music (you were obsessed with Jeff Buckley), photography (I couldn’t stop taking pictures of you), hanging out in Washington Square Park, and all the weird things we did to make money. I learned more about myself that year than any other.
Yet, somehow, it all fell apart. We lost touch the summer after graduation when I went to South America to work for National Geographic. When I came back, you were gone. A part of me still wonders if I pushed you too hard after the wedding…
I didn’t see you again until a month ago. It was a Wednesday. You were rocking back on your heels, balancing on that thick yellow line that runs along the subway platform, waiting for the F train. I didn’t know it was you until it was too late, and then you were gone. Again. You said my name; I saw it on your lips. I tried to will the train to stop, just so I could say hello.
After seeing you, all of the youthful feelings and memories came flooding back to me, and now I’ve spent the better part of a month wondering what your life is like. I might be totally out of my mind, but would you like to get a drink with me and catch up on the last decade and a half?
First loves and second chances
Actual Rating 4.5 stars
Before We Were Strangers is a novel about the importance of timing, first loves, and second chances. The dual POV and weaving of past and present really made this a captivating and entertaining read.
I loved Matt and Grace, both individually and together. Their relationship felt natural and I really enjoyed watching it grow and unfold. The chapters in the past were definitely my favorite, but I also liked how the present chapters showed how each character had grown and been shaped by their experiences. They each had never truly let the other go and that made the story both heartwarming and heartbreaking at the same time. I did feel that the present chapters felt a little rushed, but that's probably because I was dying for them to just get back together already!
The only reason this isn't a 5 star read for me is that the break-up, miscommunications, and just plain giving up didn't sit right with me. I understand that the relationship was relatively new and that this could lead to insecurities about the future, but I felt that the past chapters showed so clearly how much these 2 loved each other that it seemed very out of character to have them be OK with ending things so poorly. It was a different time, without the conveniences of social media, but both had the ability to find the other through friends, family, or even their place of work. Even after the interference of Elizabeth, I still was surprised that Grace did not push harder to find Matt. Yes, she felt rejected and was heartbroken, but she needed to get in touch with Matt for others, not just for herself. Again, on the one hand I understand why the story unfolded this way, but on the other it really was infuriating!
This is the first Renee Carlino book I have read, but I fell in love with her writing style immediately. Her characters were perfectly flawed and the interactions were raw and real. Ultimately, the story for me boiled down to timing. Matt and Grace were victims to it the first time around, but sometimes space and time are needed to show us that what was true, was there all along. Overall, Before We Were Strangers was an excellent read filled with emotion and heart.
Such an awesome story. Normally my frugality prevents me from purchasing any book over 4.99 but I'm glad I took a chance. I was hooked as soon as I read the sample.
This should be your next read!
If you are looking around and thinking about what your next read should be stop now because this is it. Our two main characters and so easy to connect with and as we journey back to when they met and walk with them as they slowly develop from an instant friendship into love you fall right along with them. Grace is a music student and has no help from her family for college so she has had to figure out how to survive on her own. Matt has a family with money and a Lawyer for a father but his passion is photography. The things that these two get into will make laugh out loud. But as they all do there comes those unexpected twists that just rip you apart and make you ache for these characters that you have fallen in love with. Do not let the idea of heartache make second guess reading this book because the author has written it in a way that it is a sweet torture and you really do not want to miss it. Mainly because everything after it you will devour and savor slowly all while hoping that it is not coming to an end because you want to spend more time with these amazing characters that have come to life.