The Girl He Used to Know
Annika (rhymes with Monica) Rose is an English major at the University of Illinois. Anxious in social situations where she finds most people's behavior confusing, she'd rather be surrounded by the order and discipline of books or the quiet solitude of playing chess.Jonathan Hoffman joined the chess club and lost his first game--and his heart--to the shy and awkward, yet brilliant and beautiful Annika. He admires her ability to be true to herself, quirks and all, and accepts the challenges involved in pursuing a relationship with her. Jonathan and Annika bring out the best in each other, finding the confidence and courage within themselves to plan a future together. What follows is a tumultuous yet tender love affair that withstands everything except the unforeseen tragedy that forces them apart, shattering their connection and leaving them to navigate their lives alone.Now, a decade later, fate reunites Annika and Jonathan in Chicago. She's living the life she wanted as a librarian. He's a Wall Street whiz, recovering from a divorce and seeking a fresh start. The attraction and strong feelings they once shared are instantly rekindled, but until they confront the fears and anxieties that drove them apart, their second chance will end before it truly begins.

The Girl He Used to Know Details

TitleThe Girl He Used to Know
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseApr 2nd, 2019
PublisherSt. Martin's Press
ISBN-139781250200358
Rating
GenreRomance, Contemporary, Fiction

The Girl He Used to Know Review

  • Alex ✰ Comets and Comments ✰
    January 1, 1970
    “Are you going to kiss me?”He laughed. “I was planning on it, yes.”“Okay. I’m ready.” While I enjoyed witnessing this story unfold and truly appreciate how Graves approached certain themes within this book, my true determination to reach the last page was because of the beautiful flower we meet called Annika Rose. _______________ "Romance" While yes, this is a romance novel filled with all the kisses and warm moments you'd want in one... I'd like to think this was more-so a story of hope. Hope “Are you going to kiss me?”He laughed. “I was planning on it, yes.”“Okay. I’m ready.” While I enjoyed witnessing this story unfold and truly appreciate how Graves approached certain themes within this book, my true determination to reach the last page was because of the beautiful flower we meet called Annika Rose. _______________ "Romance" While yes, this is a romance novel filled with all the kisses and warm moments you'd want in one... I'd like to think this was more-so a story of hope. Hope for a strange and gorgeously odd girl that never really got the manual for life. I loved the way we saw Annika find herself and grow through the years and tears. This story begins with Annika meeting her ex-college boyfriend Jonathan. At the start, we don't know why they split up or why this is the first time they are seeing each other after ten years but we know that somehow, it foreshadows to Annika's fault. Which after finishing this book, I can most confidently say that Annika deserves so much better. "But I will call. I’ll apologize. Ask him if we can start over. “Clean slate,” I’ll say.Such is my desire to replace the memories of the girl he used to know with the woman I’ve become." The story itself moves from past to present POV's from both Jonathan and Annika. We watch as their love unfolds and Annika becomes someone she is proud of. I won't give away too much, and really I think it's better if you go into this one blind. Although there were a lot of sub plots and story arcs, I felt like it was easy enough to follow. “Where do we start?” I ask.Will smiles. “I’ve always found the beginning to be a good place.” Before I address the parts that I felt really took away the magic of the story. I'm going to go through the parts that I really adored. I struggled to decide whether I should give this a 2 or 3 star rating and am still hesitant. Maybe as this review writes itself, I'll find out my final answer ;) The Characters Firstly, Annika has my whole heart at the moment and I am not afraid to throw down anyone who says she isn't the purest angel. She is kind and warmhearted towards everything and although she may not understand the world around her, she knows love. Annika was truly the winning piece in this story and I felt so comfortable reading her POV. It felt like being inside her head with all the weird fragmentations and beautifully blunt observations. Secondly, Janice. Janice was the kick ass, bad ass girlfriend that everyone needs in their life. Especially through college when everything feels like it's constantly changing and you can't keep up. I really enjoyed that the author put in a girl advocating another girl instead of bringing her down trope. It makes my heart sing whenever I see cliches like that kicked to the curb. Now... for Jonathan. My mother warned me about men like him. "His touch grounded me and made me feel as if nothing bad could ever happen as long as Jonathan had ahold of my hand." I would really like to say that he was selfless, mindful of Annika's health and disorder, loving and noble. In truth, we were made to believe he was. However, reaching the end of the novel and watching everything come to light, I saw a wolf in sheep's clothing. The whole time we think that Annika did something, and without giving anything away - she went through such hard shit in her life and continues to blame herself for everything. Then enters Jonathan, who all but doesn't want to give her a "second chance" because he agrees!?!?Next comes the dialogue and trust between the two of them. By the second half of the book, it truly came across that Jonathan felt like he was just settling. Annika loved him way more than he did her and it really fleshed out that way. We saw her constantly battling to be a better version of herself and there comes a point in the book when Jonathan all but tells her that he may never find his perfect girl, so Annika is good enough. This man frustrated the living fuck out of me. He was selfish and under the surface manipulative. He reminded me of a lot of toxic people that wear a mask in order to pretend they are actually fucking living light. Every time I thought there would be some sort of redemption and justice, he went and mentioned how pretty she was. "There’s something about having a pretty girl on your arm and knowing she’s into you that makes you feel like showing her off.” The Writing Having read Graves previous work "On the Island," I have really come to enjoy her simple yet subtly poetic writing. I loved that this wasn't a magic dick syndrome story or another "love can cure me" one either. It showed how important it is to take hold of your own life regardless of who you want to please or who you want to be with. Overall, I enjoyed some of the warm moments that this story had to offer, but I wish there was more. Thinking now, I feel like this is a 2.5 stars, all because of Annika and the way she held herself and her dialogue. The other half of the rating was lost due to the endless amounts of sub-plots and Jonathan. Because fuck him.
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  • Meredith
    January 1, 1970
    Sweet read about first love, heartbreak, and second chances. Annika and Jonathan first met while in college in 1991. Annika, awkward, shy, and socially inept, has trouble connecting people. She is on the spectrum, but it is 1991 and Autism was not a common diagnosis. Annika struggles during her time as an undergraduate. She has one close friend and spends a lot of her time in solitude. When she is partnered up with Jonathan during a chess game, Jonathan sees her in a different light than other Sweet read about first love, heartbreak, and second chances. Annika and Jonathan first met while in college in 1991. Annika, awkward, shy, and socially inept, has trouble connecting people. She is on the spectrum, but it is 1991 and Autism was not a common diagnosis. Annika struggles during her time as an undergraduate. She has one close friend and spends a lot of her time in solitude. When she is partnered up with Jonathan during a chess game, Jonathan sees her in a different light than others. They eventually begin dating and have an intense romance. Fast forward to 2001--Annika lives in Chicago and is working at her dream job at a library. A random shopping excursion at a grocery store, she runs into Jonathan. They broke up 10 years ago, but the reader isn’t aware of why. They rekindle their relationship, but a terrible event puts their relationship in jeopardy. The narrative switches between 1991 and 2001, alternating between Annika and Jonathan’s earlier relationship and back to 2001 where they are trying to put the pieces back together from what broke them up in the past. Both of their POV’s are shared, but I was more interested in Annika’s chapters than Jonathan’s, even though both characters are likable, there was just something more compelling about her voice.There’s an ease about THe Girl He Used to Know. From the first page, I was sucked in by Annika’s voice and couldn’t stop reading. Graves does a nice job of capturing Annika’s feelings of anxiety and sometimes exclusion. The romance with Jonathan, especially during their college years, was super sweet. As much as I loved reading this, when I got closer to the ending, I put it aside for a while because I knew by the date what was to come and I didn’t know how things were going to play out--I was terrified the ending was going to be painful and awful, but it was not. The ending seemed a little rushed, and I was left wanting more. Overall, this was an enjoyable, light read with likable characters and a compelling romance.Thank you to Marissa from St, Martin's Press for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Emily May
    January 1, 1970
    Clearly this is a testament to how shallow I am because I've never been tempted by this author's books before when the covers featured photographs of women staring at the horizon, but give me an arty hipster cover and I'm all for it. It was a mistake, obviously.I could tell you that this book bored me, that the characters had no chemistry, that it was all telling and no showing, that the writing was robotic (even in Jonathan's chapters so, no, this can't be attributed to Annika being autistic), Clearly this is a testament to how shallow I am because I've never been tempted by this author's books before when the covers featured photographs of women staring at the horizon, but give me an arty hipster cover and I'm all for it. It was a mistake, obviously.I could tell you that this book bored me, that the characters had no chemistry, that it was all telling and no showing, that the writing was robotic (even in Jonathan's chapters so, no, this can't be attributed to Annika being autistic), and all of that would be true. But it is not what bothered me most.By far the most irritating aspect of The Girl He Used to Know is the way the author handled some of the themes. I won't spoil the ending, but that whole drama that flew in at the last minute seemed unnecessary and a bit tasteless, honestly - (view spoiler)[of course Jonathan was in the South Tower on 9/11 🙄 (hide spoiler)]. And it really bothered me the way Jonathan infantilizes Annika and turns her into something of a manic pixie dream girl during his perspectives. He describes her as "childlike" and "delicate" and patronizes her with comments about how she was “wonderful tonight” after she passes for neurotypical at a social event.The author says she did extensive research into autism, but doesn't personally know anyone on the autism spectrum. I think that came across here.Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Youtube
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  • Deanna
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 Stars!! My reviews can also be seen at: https://deesradreadsandreviews.wordpr... I REALLY enjoyed this novel. Chicago 2001 - Annika is picking up groceries when she hears a familiar voice call her name. Though she only sees the person out of the corner of her eye, she knows it’s him…Jonathan. It’s been ten years since she’s seen that face or heard that voice. She wants to run but a voice inside her head tells her to stay put. “Don’t run, take responsibility, be yourself” Annika takes a deep 4.5 Stars!! My reviews can also be seen at: https://deesradreadsandreviews.wordpr... I REALLY enjoyed this novel. Chicago 2001 - Annika is picking up groceries when she hears a familiar voice call her name. Though she only sees the person out of the corner of her eye, she knows it’s him…Jonathan. It’s been ten years since she’s seen that face or heard that voice. She wants to run but a voice inside her head tells her to stay put. “Don’t run, take responsibility, be yourself” Annika takes a deep breath and says hello. When they hug she still feels the safety and comfort she always felt in his arms. As they leave the store, Annika impulsively asks if they could get together sometime. Jonathan hesitates but eventually agrees.The University of Illinois 1991- When Annika attended the University of Illinois you could find her at the Wildlife Medical Clinic, the library, or at chess club. Annika loved playing chess. During a particularly tough time at University, Annika considered moving back home. That's when her friend, Janice took her to a chess club meeting, urging Annika to give it a try. Chess club gave her a chance to interact and be a part of something. Then Jonathan Hoffman joined the club.Annika felt awkward and nervous around most people. She spent hours studying people, their behaviors. “Why were there so many things to think about? To remember? Why couldn’t I figure anything out in the moment instead of days or weeks later?” There were few people she could be herself with.Jonathan was instantly smitten with Annika and was thrilled when she eventually agreed to go out with him. Being with Annika could be challenging at times, but Jonathan loved the things that made her different. He understood what many others didn’t. He also seemed to know exactly what to do when Annika was upset or overwhelmed.Annika usually felt invisible, but it was different with Jonathan. With him, she felt safe…. and so much more. Their relationship was strong. But then something drove them apart.Now that they have reconnected, is there any hope for their relationship? Will they be able to move past the hurt and anger?A terrific novel that I read in just one sitting.The story is told from Annika and Jonathan’s point of view, alternating between 2001 and 1991. The author’s descriptions made me feel like I was in the minds of these well-developed characters and I fell in love with many of them. There were a few parts of the story that may have seemed implausible, but I found those easy to overlook and just enjoyed this wonderful and heart-warming story.A compelling and sensitive read about love and second chances . I am absolutely looking forward to reading more from Tracey Garvis Graves.I'd like to thank St. Martin’s Press for providing me with an advanced copy of this novel. Opinions stated are my own.
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  • Cristina | CristiinaReads
    January 1, 1970
    When past mistakes make you into a stronger individual, for the sake of wanting the one true person that makes you better, that's what this compelling romance does to the wonderful characters... Never have read this author before, so you should all know that I am very sensitive when it comes down to new authors, especially authors in which come from a line of very little known romance that I have heard or read from. But to my surprise, this novel did not upset me in any sort of way. On the cont When past mistakes make you into a stronger individual, for the sake of wanting the one true person that makes you better, that's what this compelling romance does to the wonderful characters... Never have read this author before, so you should all know that I am very sensitive when it comes down to new authors, especially authors in which come from a line of very little known romance that I have heard or read from. But to my surprise, this novel did not upset me in any sort of way. On the contrary, it had everything that I was hoping would get me out of my book slump. Everything a romance should entail when it comes down to emotional in depth struggles, to having a second chance at true love in which will have you as the reader, emotionally drained for more.I am not the biggest fan of flashback chapters, but this novel was one that I was able to tolerate due to the fact that Annika and Jonathan have such a complex back story in which had me questioning as to why they ended up separating in the first place. As previously mentioned, this is a second chance romance. That in itself is also another triggering point in which I would have never picked up this novel. But thank goodness that I did because I would have regretted it otherwise. Annika is such a unique character, one in which has social concerns that make me want to hug her and become her next best friend. Jonathan has known her for a while now, so after seeing each other after so many years, his attraction towards Annika is one that never seemed to diminish. A bond that made them the ideal partnership both physically and emotionally.Overall, Tracey has outdone herself with the creation of this romantic novel that will have you swept from your feet. I am glad that we can have the chance of reading romance such as this one that makes you slow down and truly find that one person that will have your heart in the best way possible by protecting it cherishing it, and knowing when to do what's best. Thank you to SMP for sending over this novel as I will not be on the lookout for more of Tracey's novels.ARC kindly provided by SMP, in exchange for an honest review...Follow Me On:Blog ♕ Instagram ♕ Facebook ♕ Twitter
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  • KAS
    January 1, 1970
    4 Undeniably Unique!! StarsI was beyond thrilled to have received an ARC for this book having loved every single, solitary word of “On The Island.”Once again, Ms. Graves writing skills transports you to an alternate universe of uniqueness. Honest to goodness, if you are looking for a romance which is a far cry from the usual, this author fills the bill. I couldn’t have been more engrossed if I tried.We meet two individuals whom I immediately fell in love and connected with. The beautiful Annika, 4 Undeniably Unique!! StarsI was beyond thrilled to have received an ARC for this book having loved every single, solitary word of “On The Island.”Once again, Ms. Graves writing skills transports you to an alternate universe of uniqueness. Honest to goodness, if you are looking for a romance which is a far cry from the usual, this author fills the bill. I couldn’t have been more engrossed if I tried.We meet two individuals whom I immediately fell in love and connected with. The beautiful Annika, whose social skills would be deemed ‘awkward’ by society’s standards; and Jonathan, who is smart, personable and terrifically good looking.While this is a sweet romance, there is also an important secondary storyline making this such an extraordinary read. To say Annika is “odd” is an understatement. The way in which she copes with the challenges and adversity of everyday life captivated and endeared her to my deepest core. And Jonathan ... wow ... he is a humble hero.  ”Marched to the beat of a different drum, did she?”   ”She marched to the beat of an entirely different band. One you’ve never heard of and under no circumstances ever expected to like.” Annika and Jonathan meet and start dating during their senior year of college and when they unexpectedly bump into each other again, ten years have passed.The telling of the story goes back and forth between ‘then and now’ and with a dual narrative, which works seamlessly.But, what I really craved was an epilogue. Like really, really craved! Did I get my HEA? I think so, but needed more, a lot more.Of course, I went into this beautiful story with blinders on, and hope you will too. It is an unforgettable and unparalleled read.
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  • jessica
    January 1, 1970
    my first ARC for 2019 and i honestly couldnt have hoped for a better book! maybe its just because my past week or so has been very fantasy heavy, but i really needed this sweet contemporary romance.i have never read a ‘second chance at first love’ story that i didnt enjoy, and this is no exception. this story is rather simple. the writing is fairly basic and when it comes to annika and jonathan, there isnt really much that happens in regards to a plot. this is just a story about two people who c my first ARC for 2019 and i honestly couldnt have hoped for a better book! maybe its just because my past week or so has been very fantasy heavy, but i really needed this sweet contemporary romance.i have never read a ‘second chance at first love’ story that i didnt enjoy, and this is no exception. this story is rather simple. the writing is fairly basic and when it comes to annika and jonathan, there isnt really much that happens in regards to a plot. this is just a story about two people who come to love each other and then later learn that that love never went away. but i think that by keeping this story simple, it adds to the integrity and sincerity of the characters. also, i love reading about someone on the spectrum. it makes me so happy that this has become common representation in books lately! i will also mention that i was let down by the ending. the last couple of chapters feel like an entirely different story to me and i am not quite sure why it took the direction it did. i can kind of understand if the author was trying create an intense moment for the reader to become more emotionally invested in annika and jonathan, but the manner in which she did it did not seem necessary to me. it is very out of place, rushed, and just not feel like the right conclusion to this story. but overall, this is a delightfully wholesome novel. and it may have been my first TGG book, but i doubt it will be my last. 
thanks again to st. martins press for the advance copy and i hope you guys keep an eye out for this when it releases in just a few months! :)↠ 3.5 stars
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  • Katie B
    January 1, 1970
    *I'm so excited this book is finally out! One of my favorite reads in the last year. Happy publication day! 4/2/19It is such a wonderful feeling when you read a book and you fall in love with the characters. Sure, many books have enjoyable characters but it's not often you get to meet someone special. I absolutely adored Annika. She shares some similarities with another character in a book I read recently, but while that book was an okay read, this one truly captured my heart. Back in the early *I'm so excited this book is finally out! One of my favorite reads in the last year. Happy publication day! 4/2/19It is such a wonderful feeling when you read a book and you fall in love with the characters. Sure, many books have enjoyable characters but it's not often you get to meet someone special. I absolutely adored Annika. She shares some similarities with another character in a book I read recently, but while that book was an okay read, this one truly captured my heart. Back in the early 1990s, Annika and Johnathan were seniors at the University of Illinois. Annika gets anxious in social situations which is probably why she enjoys the game of chess because it doesn't involve much talking. After playing a few games against Annika as members of the university chess club, Johnathan finds her intriguing and admires how she remains true to herself even if she comes across as different. While the two form a connection, something happens that tears them apart. Ten years later, they run into one another in Chicago and slowly start to get to know each other again. But with so many things left unresolved from the past, is it even possible to move on and give love another shot?Hopefully, my synopsis doesn't read too much like a typical second chance romance because in my opinion this book was so much more than that. There's a pretty big theme going on in the story that I'm sure most people will pick up on early but the author doesn't fully address until pretty far into the book. Despite the fact there are many differences, I found myself relating to some of the aspects of Annika's personality. And yet it was also really easy to relate to Johnathan and how he tried to adapt so he could bring out the best in Annika. I just really enjoyed seeing the two of them interact, back as students and also meeting back up again ten years later. This was such an incredible read for me. So many touching moments and passages I would read and then have to pause for a bit because I was so moved. Maybe this won't be a perfect read for everyone but I do think it is absolutely worth it to give it a shot. One of my favorite reads this year!Thank you to St. Martin's Press for the opportunity to read an advance copy! I was under no obligation to post a review and all views expressed are my honest opinion.
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  • Susanne Strong
    January 1, 1970
    4 Stars.If you Believe in Anything, Believe in the Power of Love.1991:Annika and Jonathan meet at the University’s Chess Club. For Jonathan, there is just something about Annika that stands out. She challenges him in a way that no one else ever has. Annika has never been comfortable around people. Every situation makes her anxious and being in college pretty much freaks her out. Working at the animal clinic, being at the library and playing chess are the only times she feels normal. When Jonatha 4 Stars.If you Believe in Anything, Believe in the Power of Love.1991:Annika and Jonathan meet at the University’s Chess Club. For Jonathan, there is just something about Annika that stands out. She challenges him in a way that no one else ever has. Annika has never been comfortable around people. Every situation makes her anxious and being in college pretty much freaks her out. Working at the animal clinic, being at the library and playing chess are the only times she feels normal. When Jonathan approaches her for a game she freezes. Playing with someone new isn’t something she does - it’s out of her routine, yet she gives it a chance and tries to act normal.Jonathan underestimated Annika from the start. Though she tries to push him away he won’t let her. Boy is she lucky. Soon they begin spending every second together, only to be torn apart.2001:When Annika runs into Jonathan at the Grocery store in Chicago she immediately knows what she has to do: grab hold and not let go. Soon they are catching up like no time was lost. Things aren’t that simple however. Love never is. “The Girl He Used to Know” is a love story - it is sweet, full of heart and it will bring you close to tears. Annika and Jonathan are as real as they can possibly get. Tracey Garvis Graves writes about people and situations close to each of us: love, life and heartache. Most elements of this story rang very true in my opinion, except for one and that was a big one for me and that is the reason why I deducted a star from the rating. This is however, a beautiful, compelling, heart wrenching novel and I highly recommend it. A huge thank you to Dana at St. Martin’s Press and to Tracey Garvis Graves for a galley of this novel in exchange for an honest review.Published on Goodreads, Twitter, and Instagram on 11.23.18.Will be published on Amazon on release date of 4.2.19
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  • (Bern) Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas
    January 1, 1970
    At its core The Girl He Used to Know is a story of love, acceptance and second chances.Annika and Jonathan come face to face in a grocery store...after 10 years. The two were college sweethearts and it is instantly apparent that the connection they shared is alive and well even after years of absence. Annika and Jonathan's love story was heartwarming, endearing and unique. I enjoyed watching their relationship unfold through the dual timelines both for the first time in 1991 and the second time At its core The Girl He Used to Know is a story of love, acceptance and second chances.Annika and Jonathan come face to face in a grocery store...after 10 years. The two were college sweethearts and it is instantly apparent that the connection they shared is alive and well even after years of absence. Annika and Jonathan's love story was heartwarming, endearing and unique. I enjoyed watching their relationship unfold through the dual timelines both for the first time in 1991 and the second time in 2001. Annika is beautiful, intelligent and quirky. She is also on the autism spectrum. Although she is considered to be high functioning, she suffers from social awkwardness. Through the course of her life this has led to people taking advantage of her, mistreating her and dismissing her. Yet, as we come to know Annika we realize she is strong, brave, caring, loyal and trusting to a fault. Graves did a phenomenal job developing Annika's character. I found myself rooting for her and wanting to be her friend. Jonathan loved and accepted Annika for who she was. He was so sweet, gentle and understanding of her needs and quirks. They truly balanced each other out with their relationship. He was a sense of security for her. With him, Annika tried new things and discovered more than her usual routine was possible. In turn, she offered Jonathan a fierce and unyielding love. Although Annika and Jonathan were the main characters Graves solidly built secondary characters that were an integral part of the story. I adored Annika's best friend Janice who was truly a light in her life. Janice helped Annika navigate the world socially. She acted as her translator, confidant, and guide. Their friendship was just so emotionally satisfying! I adored that Annika had this strong friend who accepted her and saw all she had to offer others. The one negative I have for this amazing story was the ending. It felt rushed after the time spent building their relationship. I didn't see the traumatic event coming and while I felt a bit like it came out of left field, I was ok with it. I simply didn't appreciate the abrupt ending after everything Annika and Jonathan (and me!) had been through together. This was a strong debut from Tracey Garvis Graves. Annika is the kind of character that will definitely remain strong in my memory and her story was well developed, emotional and left me feeling content. Thank you Tracey Garvis Graves, St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review an arc of this book.
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  • Christy
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 stars "Life isn't easy for anyone. We all have challenges. We all face adversity. It's how we overcome it that makes us who we are.” I love Tracey Garvis Graves writing, so when I saw she had a new book, I jumped in right away. I didn’t read the synopsis and the cover didn’t really call to me, but I am so glad I picked this one up. I adored this story and these characters so so much. Annika and Jonathan meet in chess club their last year of college. Annika is a truly gorgeous girl who is 4.5 stars "Life isn't easy for anyone. We all have challenges. We all face adversity. It's how we overcome it that makes us who we are.” I love Tracey Garvis Graves writing, so when I saw she had a new book, I jumped in right away. I didn’t read the synopsis and the cover didn’t really call to me, but I am so glad I picked this one up. I adored this story and these characters so so much. Annika and Jonathan meet in chess club their last year of college. Annika is a truly gorgeous girl who is on the autism spectrum, and Jonathan falls hard for her. Their relationship has it’s ups and downs, but it’s so beautiful. Annika has a lot of trouble dealing with her autism at first, but she works on learning how to cope. “I never know what people are thinking. It’s like visiting a country where you don’t speak the language and you’re trying so hard to understand but no matter how many times you ask for juice, they keep bringing you milk. And I hate it.” This book is set in 1991 (their college year) and 2001 (the present for them) and I think seeing how Annika is accepted with her behaviors is a true indication of how people perceived people who are autistic back then. Jonathan never makes Annika feel like anything less than the amazing woman she is and I loved that for her. Annika and Jonathan’s relationship was so sweet and pure. What I loved most about it is that Annika was allowed to 100% be herself and Jonathan loved her for it. She’s autistic, she does her best, and it’s good enough for him. Where are all the Jonathans of the world? I hope they exists for the Annika’s of the world. I also felt this was the most real depiction of an autistic character I’ve ever read about. Being in Annika’s head helped me to truly understand the thoughts and behaviors of someone different than me and I appreciated that. Annika had the best heart and I loved her so much. Jonathan, too. They were both incredible. “How can you want to be with someone like me? How were you able to fall in love with someone who acts the way I do?”“It was easier than you think.” As much as I loved them both, their relationship wasn’t perfect. There was some conflict and a pretty big gap of time they were separated, but I understood it and did feel it was necessary for both characters growth. I loved most everything about this book. The characters, the writing, the progression of the story. Honestly, I think had we gotten more of an ending/epilogue I’m sure it would have been a 5 star for me. I feel like after all we went through, we deserved more than a quick hfn. I wanted the real deal of an ending for Annika and Jonathan. I cried all the tears towards the end of this book. I was so immersed in the story, I had my airpods in at the grocery with tears streaming down my face looking like an emotionally unstable wreck, but it’s okay. It was better than the alternative, which was waiting to finish this book! If you’re looking for read that is emotional, heartwarming, and just a truly beautiful second chance romance with complex characters and spectacular writing, pick up The Girl He Once Knew. Side note, the audio was fabulous!!
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  • Larry H
    January 1, 1970
    Wow, wow, WOW. This book was amazing."It's like everyone around you has a copy of the script of life, but no one gave it to you so you have to go in blind and hope you can muddle your way through. And you'll be wrong most of the time."Annika Rose is different from other people. She's much more comfortable with solitude, and would much rather be in the company of animals, hiding under her comforter and reading a book, or getting lost in a competitive game of chess than spending time with her fell Wow, wow, WOW. This book was amazing."It's like everyone around you has a copy of the script of life, but no one gave it to you so you have to go in blind and hope you can muddle your way through. And you'll be wrong most of the time."Annika Rose is different from other people. She's much more comfortable with solitude, and would much rather be in the company of animals, hiding under her comforter and reading a book, or getting lost in a competitive game of chess than spending time with her fellow undergraduates at the University of Illinois.She dreams of life as a librarian, surrounded by books, but she often doesn't notice social cues, and she wishes that people would be more direct about what they think and feel rather than make her figure it out. Luckily, Annika has her roommate, Janice, to help her navigate through the confusing and anxiety-provoking world of college.When Annika meets Jonathan Hoffman in her senior year at a meeting of the school's chess club, she can't quite understand why he's interested in talking to her, or continuing to play her once she beat him, badly. She knows she's attractive (she's been told her face is "aesthetically pleasing") but she's sure that he'd be more interested in someone more comfortable in social situations, a girl who wears makeup and enjoys going to bars and listening to loud music.But Jonathan keeps coming back, and after a while he makes it clear that he's interested in Annika, and he's willing to help calm her fears and understand the things that make her nervous or anxious, because he wants a relationship with her.The two fall deeply in love and begin to plan a future together in New York City after graduation. It's not always an easy path—sometimes Annika misses Jonathan's signals, or is unable to do the things he hopes she will—but with Jonathan, for the first time since leaving home, she feels safe, understood, and loved. But even the intensity of their love isn't enough to withstand an unexpected obstacle which tears them apart, leaving them to chart the course of the future on their own.Ten years later, Annika is living in Chicago and working at a library. She's a much stronger person than she was in college, and she understands her role in what happened in her relationship with Jonathan. But despite keeping up a strong façade, she's utterly unprepared to run into him in a grocery store. He's back in the area after a career on Wall Street and a divorce, and seeing Annika again rekindles all the old feelings. But can he trust his heart to give her a second chance?Annika is determined to show Jonathan how much she has changed, and is willing to take it slow if that's what it takes. Can a relationship that was so intense the first time pick up where it left off, after so much has transpired between them? Is Jonathan still willing to accept Annika the way she is? Can they move past the things that drove them apart, and can they finally have the future they had dreamed of? The Girl He Used to Know is an utterly fantastic book which blew me away. I read the entire book on a plane ride home. Tracey Garvis Graves has created an incredible set of characters, with such complexity and depth, and this love story is a special one. There are so many books out there that similarities with other novels are expected, but I really felt this was a beautifully unique story, despite a few more familiar plot twists.I read the plot synopsis of this book a few weeks ago, so I honestly didn't remember what it was about when I started reading it. I loved where Graves took her story (although I'll admit I wanted more) and I just love the way she writes. There are moments in this book—not even the highly dramatic ones, but the quieter, "ah ha" moments—that just took my breath away.Run, don't walk, to get this one.See all of my reviews at itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com.Check out my list of the best books I read in 2018 at https://itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com/2019/01/the-best-books-i-read-in-2018.html. You can follow me on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/yrralh/.
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  • JanB
    January 1, 1970
    5 stars! If you are looking for the perfect summer read, look no further. This is it.Right from the start I fell in love with Annika. How could I not love a woman who says “I want to work at a library someday….I want to spend every waking day of my adult life surrounded by books.” A girl who carries around a book of Eleanor Roosevelt quotes? Her favorite: ‘A woman is like a tea bag - you can't tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water.” And Jonathan...well, he is the perfect boyfrien 5 stars! If you are looking for the perfect summer read, look no further. This is it.Right from the start I fell in love with Annika. How could I not love a woman who says “I want to work at a library someday….I want to spend every waking day of my adult life surrounded by books.” A girl who carries around a book of Eleanor Roosevelt quotes? Her favorite: ‘A woman is like a tea bag - you can't tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water.” And Jonathan...well, he is the perfect boyfriend we all wished we had met in college, but instead met only the jerks. Annika and Jonathan fell in love while in college, but something broke them apart after graduation. A chance encounter 10 years later rekindles the flame, but there are issues. From here, the short chapters that alternated between Then and Now kept me furiously flipping the pages. And that is all I will say about the plot as it’s best to go into this blindly. However, I can’t end this review without saying something about the characters. Annika is a high functioning woman on the spectrum and I loved how she was portrayed. The author presents her in such a way that we understand her way of thinking, and we love her for it. Our hearts break for her when she struggles and is the victim of hateful comments and bullying. Jonathan is Annika’s strongest supporter, along with her best friend Janice. These two help Annika navigate an often confusing world. But perhaps they helped her a bit too much and Annika needed to learn how to navigate the world on her own.No spoilers, but I will say that after I learned what happened to break Jonathan and Annika apart (which you will either love or hate), I loved the direction the author took Annika’s character. How she was no longer ‘the girl he used to know’. This is a beautiful love story, but it’s so much more than that. It’s a story of how some people struggle with social norms. It’s a reminder to not judge and be kind, always. It’s a story about love, friendship, and rising above adversity.Recommended for everyone because I loved it so. But this will especially appeal to those who love a character-driven story that falls into the category of lighter fiction with depth. Don’t make the mistake of thinking this is for romance readers only. I read this as a buddy read with my friend Marialyce, and we both loved it. Annika touched our hearts and she will stay with us a long while. This book will surely be on our 2019 favorites list.For our duo review of this book and others please visit:https://yayareadslotsofbooks.wordpres...
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  • Kendall
    January 1, 1970
    The Girl He Used to Know was such a unique, sweet, and uplifting romance story.I loved Annika and Jonathan!! I wasn't sure what to expect when picking up this book... and it turned out totally different then I envisioned in my mind. Annika and Jonathan meet in 1991 at a Chess club in college. Annika is stunningly beautiful but due to her autism she has challenges with her confidence in relationships. Annika and Jonathan fall in love but a tragic event occurs between them that causes the relation The Girl He Used to Know was such a unique, sweet, and uplifting romance story.I loved Annika and Jonathan!! I wasn't sure what to expect when picking up this book... and it turned out totally different then I envisioned in my mind. Annika and Jonathan meet in 1991 at a Chess club in college. Annika is stunningly beautiful but due to her autism she has challenges with her confidence in relationships. Annika and Jonathan fall in love but a tragic event occurs between them that causes the relationship to end. The storyline takes place in 1991 and present... so naturally the readers are aware something happens between the two to break up the relationship.Presently, Annika and Jonathan run into each other at the grocery store and end up rekindling their relationship. Can Annika and Jonathan rekindle their flame despite their challenges of why they broke up to begin with? Tracey Garvis Graves does an amazing job with characterization. The characters feel so real, raw, and beautiful. I couldn't get enough of the story of Jonathan and Annika. Do you ever have just those perfect effortless reads? Well.... this is definitely one of them my friends!I highly recommend this book. Sweet, unique, and amazing!4 stars!!Huge thank you to St. Martin's Press and Netgalley for the arc in exchange for an honest review.Publication date: 4/2/19Published to Goodreads: 1/28/19
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  • Brandice
    January 1, 1970
    The Girl He Used to Know is one of the (if not ”the”) best books I read this year. It’s an instant add to my Favorites shelf and as a story, I savored every second of reading it!In 2001, Annika is grocery shopping in Chicago when she runs into Jonathan, her ex-boyfriend from college who she hasn’t seen in 10 years. The story shifts between the present in 2001, and their college days in 1991 at the University of Illinois. In college, Annika is kind of shy though she can be a bit direct in social The Girl He Used to Know is one of the (if not ”the”) best books I read this year. It’s an instant add to my Favorites shelf and as a story, I savored every second of reading it!In 2001, Annika is grocery shopping in Chicago when she runs into Jonathan, her ex-boyfriend from college who she hasn’t seen in 10 years. The story shifts between the present in 2001, and their college days in 1991 at the University of Illinois. In college, Annika is kind of shy though she can be a bit direct in social interactions, which she finds to be exhausting. She needs alone time and prefers books and animals over people. She can be quirky but is also caring. She plays chess in a club at school and there, she meets Jonathan. They’re friendly and compete against each other, regularly interacting at the club. Eventually friendship turns into more. I enjoy stories that include past and present time frames, particularly when they are well-done. Here in The Girl He Used to Know, they are great. I enjoyed reading about Annika and Jonathan’s relationship and was curious to see what drove them apart in 1991. I really liked the present time frame too, as they attempt to reconnect and address lingering emotions from the past. The story is told from both Annika and Jonathan’s POVs. I really Loved both of these characters! I loved their different trains of thought, their interactions, and the dialogue in this story. At one point near the end of the book, I gasped when I realized where I thought the story was heading, and my eyes instantly became teary. I rarely cry at a book but yes, I had truly become invested! I had to finish the book immediately to find out what would happen. A wonderful story with likable characters you want to cheer for. The Girl He Used to Know is a must read for 2019. Thank you to St. Martin’s Press for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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  • *TUDOR^QUEEN*
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you to St. Martin's Press for providing an advance reader copy via NetGalley.This was a totally engaging book about a college student named Annika who struggled lifelong with social cues. She was naturally very beautiful and smelled good without ever having to wear perfume. While being born with these physically attractive gifts, life could still become dangerous to someone so vulnerable and easily taken advantage of. Annika had been home-schooled since the seventh grade following a horrib Thank you to St. Martin's Press for providing an advance reader copy via NetGalley.This was a totally engaging book about a college student named Annika who struggled lifelong with social cues. She was naturally very beautiful and smelled good without ever having to wear perfume. While being born with these physically attractive gifts, life could still become dangerous to someone so vulnerable and easily taken advantage of. Annika had been home-schooled since the seventh grade following a horrible bullying incident. She didn't know anything else but to say honestly what she thought. Some people might find this refreshing, but others might find it laughable and a reason to mock her. She survived just enough by carefully watching the way other people acted in social situations, and then mimicked them. Now she was at college in her home state of Illinois, and she had a wonderful and caring roommate named Janice. Janice patiently explained things to Annika to help her navigate life. One evening when Annika was frustrated and actually planned to have her parents pick her up the next morning to abandon college, Janice encouraged her to go to the Student Union building for some lemonade. Knowing that Annika was a masterful chess player, Janice casually steered her towards the chess team who were having their usual Sunday gathering. It was here, during 1991,that Annika met Jonathan...the love of her life.The book begins ten years later in August 2001. We learn that something had happened to break these two lovers up, and Jonathan had been living in New York until recently. They had both been shopping in a supermarket named Mariano's, a favorite of theirs. They are shocked at seeing each other after all these years, both experiencing a multitude of emotions. He's been living in Illinois for several months to tend to his ailing mother before she died. They marvel at how they never ran into each other until today. It's obvious that something tore these two apart ten years ago, but there's still "something" there. There's also a hesitancy on Jonathan's part, but on impulse Annika asks for Jonathan's phone number as he's about to walk away. Annika's been growing as a person since they separated a decade ago. She now visits a therapist named Tina, and one of the main topics Annika works on is the impact of her failed relationship with Jonathan. She also discusses her challenges with daily living, as someone who feels as though she's living life without a map while others don't need one. So, the two main issues driving this story are Annika's mental roadblocks and the mystery of why this relationship unraveled when they clearly never stopped loving each other.The book is narrated randomly in chapters by Jonathan or Annika, and you know this without seeing the name because of how exquisitely this author captures their personas in dialogue. Annika will snare your heartstrings with her simple and honest narration, which I'm sure many will identify with, some who suffer with her affliction and even some that don't. Just to name some of her "quirks", she has no shame of nakedness, cannot withstand loud/throbbing music (such as in a bar), and would much prefer reading a book in bed than going to a party. The story of Annika and Jonathan deliciously unfolds to an incredibly emotional and unexpected crescendo. This was a very satisfying and moving read that swept me away. My heart is full!
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  • Berit☀️✨
    January 1, 1970
    An extraordinary love story brimming with heart, hope , and second chances! Tracey Garvis Graves has stolen my heart with this evocative and emotional story. I read “On the Island” A few years ago and thoroughly enjoyed it. Going into this book I knew I was going to be treated to brilliantly developd characters and an intriguing storyline. What I was not prepared for was The emotional toll this book would have on my heart! This book both destroyed me and pieced me back together again. I seriou An extraordinary love story brimming with heart, hope , and second chances! Tracey Garvis Graves has stolen my heart with this evocative and emotional story. I read “On the Island” A few years ago and thoroughly enjoyed it. Going into this book I knew I was going to be treated to brilliantly developd characters and an intriguing storyline. What I was not prepared for was The emotional toll this book would have on my heart! This book both destroyed me and pieced me back together again. I seriously feel a little squeeze on my heart just thinking about this book! If you enjoy stories with characters that will worm their way into your heart then this is a can’t miss! The story bounces between 1991 and 2001 and is told from both Annika and Jonathan‘s perspectives. In 1991 both Annika and Jonathan are attending the University of Illinois, where they meet while attending chess club. Anica is a bit socially awkward, a little anxious, a little oversensitive to her surroundings. She is on the autism spectrum, however in 1991 this was not a common diagnosis so people saw her as quirky or just plain weird. Jonathan was immediately drawn to Annika and saw through to who she truly was inside. What follows is a beautiful and intense romance that was so special to read about. Watching Jonathan so tenderly and cautiously try to understand Annika and her needs was so sweet! He legitimately made my heart melt, I might’ve fallen a little in love with him myself. Sadly tragedy struck and the couple was torn apart. 10 years later Monica was at the grocery store when she hears a familiar voice, it must be fate because there is Jonathan in the bread aisle. Anica and Jonathan try to rekindle the flame, but has too much already happened to prevent this? Can Annika and Jonathan open their hearts up to each other again, regardless of the past? In case you missed it, I really loved this book! The characters popped off the pages and the story was so well told. There is something about a second chance romance that really resonates with me. It’s definitely not that I want a second chance with anyone I’ve ever been with *shutters* I think it is the idea of hope, and this book had that in abundance. Beautiful and moving, I cannot recommend this book enough, be sure to have Kleenex on hand before reading!*** many thanks to St. Martin’s Press for my copy of this book ***
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  • Diane S ☔
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 My I really needed this one book of the month, desperately needed after reading about the Irish starving in Ireland and climbers dying on K2. Just fell hard for Annika and Ben, surprising myself since I'm not a big romance reader. Though this was a little different as Annika is on the spectrum, and Jonathan loves her for who she is. A little naive as to people's motives, says what she thinks, hates crowds and loud noises, totally without artifice. Jonathan though, gets her and loves what he 3.5 My I really needed this one book of the month, desperately needed after reading about the Irish starving in Ireland and climbers dying on K2. Just fell hard for Annika and Ben, surprising myself since I'm not a big romance reader. Though this was a little different as Annika is on the spectrum, and Jonathan loves her for who she is. A little naive as to people's motives, says what she thinks, hates crowds and loud noises, totally without artifice. Jonathan though, gets her and loves what he sees. So what then tore them apart?They meet again ten years later, both have grown snd changed. I spent part of the the book wondering why they weren't together, and the other part hoping they'd find a way back to each other. Alternating chapters tell us he story of then and now. I loved how the author also explores the danger Annika, and others on the spectrum, face in relationships with those who do not have pure motives. Also the difficulties they face trying to fit in society. Learning to read people's cues as to how they should act. So anyway on my way to a perfectly delightful four stars read. Fingers crossed for their relationship.And then comes the ending..........no, no, no, too dramatic, Annika doing something that doesn't fit with what comes before. Something I can't believe she is capable of doing. But again, probably just me. Still, I'm glad I got to meet these characters but there went the other star.
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  • Shelby *trains flying monkeys*
    January 1, 1970
    When offered this book I was sorta scared to read it. I mean how in the world do you top one of this author's other books? On the Island Or why would you want too? That sucker was perfection. But jump up and down and squeeing happened and I did decide to read it.Meet Annika. She is shy, awkward and doesn't do well around other people. There is something special about Annika in the fact that you can't help but love her.She might not hit those social graces just right but who cares anyways? In col When offered this book I was sorta scared to read it. I mean how in the world do you top one of this author's other books? On the Island Or why would you want too? That sucker was perfection. But jump up and down and squeeing happened and I did decide to read it.Meet Annika. She is shy, awkward and doesn't do well around other people. There is something special about Annika in the fact that you can't help but love her.She might not hit those social graces just right but who cares anyways? In college Annika tries to come out of her shell and meet some people and she just happens to meet Jonathan at a chess match. Jonathan accepts Annika as who she is and knows that just being around her is good for anyone's soul. (See how sweet I sounded there?) Then the romancey book thing happens and something super bad happens to tear them apart. Why do all romance books have to have that angsty big reveal anyways? I think a book like this one just didn't need it. But what the heck do I know? I don't sell millions of books. I just gripe and whine about them. Anyways...like I was saying...That stuff happens and I still liked their story.I LOVED both these characters. I rarely do that. Even in real life.It is a sweet little story. I think if that ending hadn't irritated me with throwing in even more angst I would have rated it higher. But well..when you wake up like this in the mornings what more is expected of you? 3.5 starsBooksource: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for review. Thank you!
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  • Debbie Oliphant
    January 1, 1970
    WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This story blindsided me. I was all in with the storyline and the history and the challenges and saw a different ending in my head but I couldn't make sense of the timeline until the big twist reveals itself and OMG, it is huge and unexpected.I read this in one sitting and could not put this book down. No spoilers here, read and feel this story.
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  • Elyse Walters
    January 1, 1970
    I loved it....I admit to the sloppy mushy feelings...I finished it seconds ago… in one sitting. Eleanor Roosevelt was a wise woman!!! The presence of her in this story gave me pause. The charm, sincerity, and the love that this little gem was written from... was deeply felt by this reader. I could pick ‘many’ excerpts to share...But here’s one I adored:“I love you Annika Rose. He wiped away my tears and kissed my forehead, my cheek, my lips”. “I Love you Jonathan Hoffman”. “He started laughing. I loved it....I admit to the sloppy mushy feelings...I finished it seconds ago… in one sitting. Eleanor Roosevelt was a wise woman!!! The presence of her in this story gave me pause. The charm, sincerity, and the love that this little gem was written from... was deeply felt by this reader. I could pick ‘many’ excerpts to share...But here’s one I adored:“I love you Annika Rose. He wiped away my tears and kissed my forehead, my cheek, my lips”. “I Love you Jonathan Hoffman”. “He started laughing. “You’ve put me in the same category of love as your ‘ ‘cat’”. “But I love Mr. Bojangles!” “I know you do. You love him as much as you love me. And that’s funny because you make no attempt to hide it”. “But ‘why’ is it funny?” “Because most people like their boyfriends a little more than they like their pets. And if they don’t, they probably don’t say it out loud”.“You can have both”. “Yes, you can”. Jonathan kissed me again and soon we weren’t doing much talking at all”. “Can you imagine how hard it is to try to fit in when you know you’ll never get it right?” Truthfully I can never fully comprehend that question...but Annika’s explanation helped. This next excerpt expanded my understanding and compassion - FOREVER!!“It’s like everyone around you has a copy of the script of life but no one gave it to you so you have to go in blind and hope you can muddle your way through. And you’ll be wrong most of the time”. This book reminds me never to underestimate the value of *kindness*.
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  • Astrid - The Bookish Sweet Tooth
    January 1, 1970
    TITLE: The Girl He Used To KnowAUTHOR: Tracey Garvis GravesGENRE: Romance/Women's FictionTROPES: Second ChanceRATING: 4.5 StarsCLIFFHANGER: NoI've been having a hell of a time finding the perfect rating for The Girl He Used To Know - I think this is one of those books that you need to read a second time to get the full experience. You are very much in the dark as to why Annika and Jonathan's relationship didn't survive. You know it wasn't lack of love because that's still there on both accou TITLE: The Girl He Used To KnowAUTHOR: Tracey Garvis GravesGENRE: Romance/Women's FictionTROPES: Second ChanceRATING: 4.5 StarsCLIFFHANGER: NoI've been having a hell of a time finding the perfect rating for The Girl He Used To Know - I think this is one of those books that you need to read a second time to get the full experience. You are very much in the dark as to why Annika and Jonathan's relationship didn't survive. You know it wasn't lack of love because that's still there on both accounts. By the time you learn what happened you need to go back to the beginning to remember both of their feelings and memories when they reunited and rekindled their connection. Standing on the sidewalk, I wonder if she remembers how it felt to be in love with me? I haven’t forgotten how it felt to be in love with her. This heroine is what makes this book outstanding. Annika has so many quirks that her quirks have quirks. She is unable to recognize people's intentions, their feelings and how to react to people's actions. She has a childlike quality to her, a sweet and kind nature, that I found incredibly endearing. Her desire for independence and her single-minded determination made her admirable, her frustration with herself, her anxiety, her loneliness and her fierce love for Jonathan made my heart ache. “I never know what people are thinking. It’s like visiting a country where you don’t speak the language and you’re trying so hard to understand but no matter how many times you ask for juice, they keep bringing you milk. And I hate it.” Some of Jonathan's reactions to Annika were born out of his own insecurities and frustration which came from an inability to understand her sometimes. Some of the things young Jonathan said painted a selfish picture which I don't think he really was because of all the other times he took care of Annika and protected her. That message on her voice recorder when we learn what he said in the end gutted me. He didn't handle Annika's feelings to that one life-changing event during their college time very well but I also got where Jonathan was coming from and that it was an expression of his frustration and hurt.I genuinely believe that he loved her deeply, the way he treated Annika with so much care, how he not only accepted her quirks but found them adorable.There is nothing better than a great friend at your side who looks out for you. Annika's best friend Janice is the best of the best. I was so glad that Annika had someone who accepted her and loved her without conditions. “Are you going to kiss me?” He laughed. “I was planning on it, yes.” “Okay. I’m ready.” When you look at the date this story is set in, you know which major event that changed the world will be the backdrop of the finale in this story. The last 20% were a mix of harrowing emotions, anxiety, heartbreak, relief and joy.The half star deduction comes from the lack of an epilogue. I wish we could have had a couple of pages more with a bit more sweetness between Jonathan and Annika, that would give us the sense that this time they'd go the distance and make it work. I didn't get that completely.THE GIRL HE USED TO KNOW is a tender one-of-a-kind love story, one that will stay for me for a long time. Despite the lack of an epilogue it still goes on my favorites shelf. I loved Jonathan and Annika who felt so real and authentic, who had flaws and never claimed to be perfect yet still aimed to be. I'm sure I will re-read this poignant, meaningful, wonderful and all the other -fuls story again. "It’s me, Annika.” “It’s always been you,” she says as she presses her lips to mine.
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  • Marialyce
    January 1, 1970
    How could you not love a book that allows you to crawl into the mind and heart of its main character? You feel the pain, the sorrow, the hope, and the need to fit in so much that you yourself become that character. That’s exactly what you find reading about Annika, a most delightful character and her struggles with what we now know is autism. If you know someone, and who doesn’t, who is autistic, you probably are aware of the difficulties that person has trying to find their place in a world tha How could you not love a book that allows you to crawl into the mind and heart of its main character? You feel the pain, the sorrow, the hope, and the need to fit in so much that you yourself become that character. That’s exactly what you find reading about Annika, a most delightful character and her struggles with what we now know is autism. If you know someone, and who doesn’t, who is autistic, you probably are aware of the difficulties that person has trying to find their place in a world that often seems hostile and unforgiving. For Annika her struggles are apparent, no friends, being thought of as strange, and sadly being taken advantage of. She retreats, insulates herself from hurt and decides to surround herself with what she loves, books. Life takes a turn as she heads to college working on independence and meeting two of the most wonderful characters ever to grace a story. Jonathan the man who comes to love her, and her friend and roommate, Janice. Jonathan and Annika are thrown together at a chess club. She is reluctant to participate, to branch out,  but there is something that Jonathan sees and eventually loves about Annika. He draws her out of the shell she has created for herself and ultimately falls in love with her and she with him. Sounds like a perfect story but there not silver linings in Annika's story, and so Annika and Jonathan separate. It’s sad and tragic but Annika has strength that she is discovering and that strength is the strength of self. “The constant vigilance and my heightened anxiety that I'd screw it up anyway exhausted me, but I persevered.”Ten years later fate intervenes and offers Annika another chance for happiness if she is willing to grab that gold ring. Jonathan is back and as they reconnect he wonders is Annika still the girl he used to know or is she something even more wonderful? I absolutely am over the top in love with this story. I so appreciated the author’s wonderful effort in taking on the topic of autism in such a touching and sensitive manner. This is how you portray the autistic spectrum with eyes focused on the beauty of life, love, and friendship that is open to all even if you are different.Don’t miss this amazing story. It will warm your heart and make you come to the understanding that to be different is often a wonderful thing to be.Jan and I loved this story. It made us feel all those wonderful emotions that a talented author can make you feel. We were both sad though, and that sadness was because this beautiful story had come to an end. Our reviews can be found here: http://yayareadslotsofbooks.wordpress...
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  • Cheri
    January 1, 1970
    !! NOW AVAILABLE !!Told in alternating timelines, the earlier being set in 1991, and the latter in 2001. At its heart it is a story of love and being accepted as we are.Annika is a student at the University of Illinois when she meets Jonathan, also a student. It is the first time that Annika has attended school since she was a young girl. Her mother removed her from that environment due to a school-bullying incident, followed by home schooling. Social interaction is difficult for her, it’s easy !! NOW AVAILABLE !!Told in alternating timelines, the earlier being set in 1991, and the latter in 2001. At its heart it is a story of love and being accepted as we are.Annika is a student at the University of Illinois when she meets Jonathan, also a student. It is the first time that Annika has attended school since she was a young girl. Her mother removed her from that environment due to a school-bullying incident, followed by home schooling. Social interaction is difficult for her, it’s easy to feel her discomfort, her awkwardness in social situations, and her reactions to certain situations allow the reader to see her struggles.As this begins, it is ten years after Jonathan and Annika have gone their separate ways, and then one day while she is shopping, she bumps into Jonathan at the store. As they begin to reconnect on some level, to spend a moment catching up with each other’s lives it stirs up old memories.This was, for me, a fun, light read – most of the time, but it does have its darker moments. Still, there are times when I am in the mood for a story that does nothing more than entertain me, and this is one of those very readable books that was also unique, and with some very likeable characters. There is something so very disarmingly charming about Annika; her unfiltered view on life was a breath of fresh air, especially in this genre. Besides, how can you not love someone who says: “I like books more than I like most people.” Pub Date: Apr 2 2019Many thanks for the ARC provided by St. Martin’s Press
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  • Kelly (and the Book Boar)
    January 1, 1970
    Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/3.5 StarsI actually read this a couple of weeks ago, but then I discovered Instagram and book pictures and now I’m completely and totally obsessed just a teensy little bit into this new hobby so I had to wait for it to stop raining for 40 days and 40 nights in order to go up to the library roof and take this . . . . . Totally worth it and not psychotically addictive behavior at all.Before I even begin here, I feel I should tell you al Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/3.5 StarsI actually read this a couple of weeks ago, but then I discovered Instagram and book pictures and now I’m completely and totally obsessed just a teensy little bit into this new hobby so I had to wait for it to stop raining for 40 days and 40 nights in order to go up to the library roof and take this . . . . . Totally worth it and not psychotically addictive behavior at all.Before I even begin here, I feel I should tell you all about my relationship with Tracey Garvis-Graves. Noooooo, we’re not related or even friends. But she did write On the Island, a book that my non-re-reading self will re-read every single summer until I die. It’s just oh so very Blue Lagooney and it makes me feel pretty much like this . . . . That being said, it’s a nearly impossible task for this author to write another “kitten riding a unicorn” type of book for me. The current blurb states . . . . . “Love doesn't come with an instruction manual.” I say this is book is an example that . . . . It’s a different (simply for lack of a better word – please don’t get offended) type of love story. And I really loved it . . . . until I didn’t. I’m assuming the problems I had will probably be just that – MY PROBLEMS – but they are what they are. I just do not like the device that tore Annika and Jonathan apart. I can’t remember a book where I was ever okay with it. Call it a trigger or whatever catch phrase is most fitting, but it annoys the crap out of me and my hackles remain raised for the duration once I read it. And then to top it all off there was my second most hated thing that I really should have seen coming, but I wasn’t paying attention to what the dates were and when I finally realized what was going to happen I was all like . . . . But do you see what I mean? These were obviously my issues. For the rest of you, The Girl He Used To Know will probably make you feel like . . . . ARC received from St. Martin’s Press in exchange for an honest review.ORIGINAL "REVIEW:"My reaction to being offered an ARC of this book . . . .
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  • Bibi
    January 1, 1970
    **4.5 stars**Big Scowl** That ending was jarring which detracted from what had been an exceptional love story, and I need TGG to do a re-write or an additional epilogue. FRTC.
  • Patty Belongs To Kellan~Jesse~Lautner~Miller~Jack~Racer~Rafe~Liam~Prince Nicholas~Hayes~Simon~Gianluca & Archer
    January 1, 1970
    *****FIVE++++++ STARS*****{ARC Generously Provided by Publisher}I can hardly remember the names of the girls who came before her, and after her, there was only Liz. But I can recall with unbelievable clarity almost everything that happened during the time I spent with Annika.Probably because no one has ever loved me as fiercely and unconditionally as she did. ”Did you ever fall in love with a girl who was different? Not just from any girl you’d ever dated before, but from most people in general? *****FIVE++++++ STARS*****{ARC Generously Provided by Publisher}I can hardly remember the names of the girls who came before her, and after her, there was only Liz. But I can recall with unbelievable clarity almost everything that happened during the time I spent with Annika.Probably because no one has ever loved me as fiercely and unconditionally as she did. ”Did you ever fall in love with a girl who was different? Not just from any girl you’d ever dated before, but from most people in general?” This story was INCREDIBLE!! It’s definitely a page-turner! I mean, I could hardly put the book down. I fell so in love with the characters and their story and hoped with all of my heart that they would finally get that happily ever after they so rightfully deserved. This is a story about beautiful first loves, heartbreak, and second chances. The ending had my heart pounding out of my chest and it felt like I was balancing on the edge of utter devastation or pure joy!The story starts off in the present which is 2001. Annika and Jonathan run into each other at a local grocery store in Chicago. It has been ten years since they last saw each other. You can feel that although their relationship ended, that there are many unresolved feelings between them, and then we are brought back to the past when they met during their senior year of college. Right from the start, we can tell that Annika faces challenges that most people never have to deal with. Everyday social queues that we take for granted, are quite difficult for Annika to decipher. Her roommate is her one and only close friend who often has to help her understand certain peoples’ motives. Janice was an angel and such an amazing friend to Annika. I loved the dynamic between them.When Annika meets Jonathan at chess club, she’s a little closed off at first since he messes with her routine, but something about him eventually makes her feel at ease, and she does feel an intense attraction towards him. Jonathan is captivated by Annika’s beauty and her honesty. I think he definitely picked up on the challenges she faced but he also admired her for her determination to make things work with him. Jonathan never treated her as if she weren’t a normal girl nor was he ever embarrassed by her behavior.His love for Annika helped to push her to do many things out of her comfort zone and in turn she gave him the love that he so deeply needed. But then life throws tragedy their way which ultimately results in their relationship’s demise.Ten years have passed and it looks like there might be a second chance for Jonathan and Annika. Will they be able to put old heartbreaks to rest and start on a new journey together? Make sure you have something strong to get you through the ending of this story. It wasn’t anything I expected and although it tangled me up inside, I also couldn’t help but feel so much admiration for Annika’s strength and determination!Here are my overall ratings:Hero: 5+++++Heroine: 5++++Plot: 5+++++Angst: 5+++Steam: 4Chemistry Between Hero & Heroine: 5+++++”THE GIRL HE USED TO KNOW” releases on April 2nd! This is a story that you will fall crazy in love with! Amazon: https://amzn.to/2TScYDU
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  • Meredith B. (readingwithmere)
    January 1, 1970
    4 Darling Stars! I pry open the flap, and inside are two crisp one-hundred-dollar bills and the words "thank you" written on a piece of paper. There is also a child's drawing. It's of a women with blond hair and she is driving a car. There's a princess crown on her head and a man in the passenger seat. And a duck in the backseat that's blue. You know when you read the right book and the right time? This is what happened to me with this book. I needed a love story with some depth and this book g 4 Darling Stars! I pry open the flap, and inside are two crisp one-hundred-dollar bills and the words "thank you" written on a piece of paper. There is also a child's drawing. It's of a women with blond hair and she is driving a car. There's a princess crown on her head and a man in the passenger seat. And a duck in the backseat that's blue. You know when you read the right book and the right time? This is what happened to me with this book. I needed a love story with some depth and this book gave it to me.Annika (rhymes with Monica, without the M, which she'll always tell you) bumps into Jonathan one day, years after they have broken up. They agree to meet to catch up and Annika is both happy and nervous about this. They avoid talking about the past and learn about where each other is in their life. Jonathan is divorced and Annika is working at the Chicago library. Annika wonders if they could rekindle and she can go back to the place when she was happiest.What you don't know about Annika is that she is very blunt and always says what's on her mind. She mostly likes to keep to herself, except for Chess club when she was in college but she could only play against one person. She doesn't have too many friends and people assume she likes to be alone. But the opposite is true. Annika just wants to be around people it's just people don't always understand her...This is everything you'd hope a love story would be. It covers falling in love, intimacy, loss, fighting for a relationship and shows how a couple can really support one another. It also shows that even if you need to take your time that a good partner will always wait for you and you can always come out stronger.I loved the story of Annika and Jonathan. I had a lot of "aw" moments and the entire time I was rooting for them, which is not the case of every romance story line that I read. The author did a great job putting in real life situations that happen to couples like this but also making us fall in love with them. I'm on team Annika and Jonathan forever!Thanks to St. Martin's Press for my ARC of this book. This wonderful novel comes out tomorrow, April 2nd! I highly recommend you pick up a copy if you're looking for a sweet yet realistic love story.
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  • ✰ Bianca ✰ BJ's Book Blog ✰
    January 1, 1970
    I think I will post my whole review in a SPOILER thingy. I don't want to spoil anything for you. I think I'm not really spoiling anything, but some people are weird with spoilers.And it might even be better to read this book without knowing much about it. ☺ (view spoiler)[Jonathan and Annika met over a decade ago at College.Now it's 2001 and they haven't seen each other for 10 years.But both are now living in Chicago for work.Something ended their relationship back then - we don't yet know exact I think I will post my whole review in a SPOILER thingy. I don't want to spoil anything for you. I think I'm not really spoiling anything, but some people are weird with spoilers.And it might even be better to read this book without knowing much about it. ☺ (view spoiler)[Jonathan and Annika met over a decade ago at College.Now it's 2001 and they haven't seen each other for 10 years.But both are now living in Chicago for work.Something ended their relationship back then - we don't yet know exactly what. We just know they belong together and we hope that now is the right time for their second chance.But of course it's not going to be easy. Jonathan just got divorced 18 months ago and Annika is still her complicated, socially awkward self. Jonathan was always the only one person she felt safe and comfortable and happy with. But whatever happened ten years ago is still very much between them....What will happen to Annika & Jonathan?Will there finally be a Happily Ever After?READ THE BOOK TO FIND OUT! ☺═══════════════════ Ugh!Too bad that I had a paperback ARC of this book, not the kindle version. Tears are much more easily wiped from a screen. And also???? How did people in olden - paperbook - ages highlight something in a book???? I guess you can use post-it stickers? But I don't wanna hurt the book! I took a pic of the quotes with my phone! Here's one I loved:I just adored this book. Annika and Jonathan are so perfect for each other.Annika is such an amazing person. She has all of those problems - and with her mega social awkwardness - Jonathan just gets her. He knows exactly what to do and say and it's so adorable to watch those two.The book is told in both POVs and we go back and forth in time. They met in 1991 at college and the present time is August 2001. And that makes me really nervous, because even though we're in Chicago, I just know that someone will be in NYC in September - I was a bit scared all through the book.The whole book was basically a huge cry-fest for me. I started reading and nothing bad happens ... and still I cried. It was all so beautifully sad. Poor Annika with her challenges. She doesn't like noise, smells, lots of people in one place and so much more. She's happiest with her books or playing chess.But she's in college now and she needs to live a little - says her room mate!And then she meets Jonathan at chess club.And he's instantly attracted to the pretty girl - but of course he didn't know that being with her would be quite the challenge - but also so very worth it!AMAZING BOOK!I don't want to say any more, I could keep on writing for hours - all you need to know is that it's a beautiful book with beautifully written characters and moments and feelings and problems and ... it's not your typical New Adult & Second Chance romance. I absolutely adored everything about this book. Welllll - maybe I would've loved to have an epilogue - but I can make one up in my head! ☺PLEASE HOLLYWOOD!!! Come and make something out of this book. A Netflix show or something! I NEED TO SEE Annika & Jonathan!THE GIRL HE USED TO KNOW was the most beautiful love story! First love and second chances and ALL THE FEELS!READ IT! (hide spoiler)] ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡
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  • Carol (Bookaria)
    January 1, 1970
    This is a romantic story about second chances. It is also a story about reconnecting, growing, and hope. My heart was pumping non-stop on the last chapters, really lovely.One of the main characters is in the spectrum, and we get to hear the story from her point of view. The novel explores the challenges of living with the condition, and the difficulties many still face from society.The story is narrated from different points of view and in dual timelines (1991 and 2001).  I enjoyed it and recomm This is a romantic story about second chances. It is also a story about reconnecting, growing, and hope. My heart was pumping non-stop on the last chapters, really lovely.One of the main characters is in the spectrum, and we get to hear the story from her point of view. The novel explores the challenges of living with the condition, and the difficulties many still face from society.The story is narrated from different points of view and in dual timelines (1991 and 2001).  I enjoyed it and recommend it to readers of romantic and contemporary fiction.Received ARC from the publisher
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