Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Book Review: The Girl He Used to Know by Tracey Garvis Graves


Pages: 291
Genre: Adult Fiction
Pub. Date: April 2, 2019
Source: Publisher for review
Publisher: St. Martin's
Other Books by Author: On the Island
My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars 

Goodreads says, "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."

Annika is a bright young woman; however, she falls on the Autism spectrum, so she has some difficulty in her life relating to people, picking up on social cues, etc.  She has spent most of her life trying to avoid her triggers and mimic socially adept people so she can fit in as she truly is high-functioning.  Once she heads off to college, her world opens up for her.  Thankfully, she ends up with Janice, who is pretty much the best roommate ever.  She is so caring; she takes Annika under her wing and helps her with her wardrobe, her social situations, and more. She is a godsend.  Annika joins the chess club as she is an avid player and in turn meets Jonathan.  No one has ever noticed Annika despite her outward beauty as most people are turned off by her quirks. Not Jonathan though.  He loves Annika just the way she is. Swoon.  They dated for quite sometime, but at first readers aren't privy to what went wrong.  Fast forward ten years later, Annika runs into Jonathan at the grocery store of all places and there's still something there between them.  Can they push aside the past and whatever event turned them away from each other? The Girl He Used to Know by Tracey Garvis Graves is such a swoon-worthy romance. I was hooked from the beginning and was so sad to say goodbye to these characters.  This book is one of my favorites of the year! 

Annika, as I mentioned previously, is on the Autism spectrum, but is high-functioning. She graduated college, has a job, is able to live on her own, and even has dated a few guys.  Graves captured someone who is autistic brilliantly.  She was able to highlight some of her quirks and issues while also showcasing how fantastic people can be on the spectrum, especially when it comes to their honesty and their passions. I love that Graves wrote Annika as an autistic woman and I would love to see more of this in adult as well as young adult fiction as it helps people to understand and relate.

Jonathan was also a great character in The Girl He Used to Know. He embraces Annika for who she truly is, quirks and all.  He appreciates every aspect of her and I adored their relationship.  At times, it broke my heart to see how hard it was for Annika to fit in in some of Jonathan's social situations, such as a dinner party or work event, but he handles it so well for the both of them.  What can I say? Their romance is beautiful!

There's a lot more that goes on in The Girl He Used to Know; it's not just a simple romance. Disaster strikes and things get very complicated, but I know readers will be rooting for Annika and Jonathan just like I was.  The Girl He Used to Know is a phenomenal read that would be perfect for fans of contemporary fiction. I couldn't think of a better book to read on vacation this summer, especially if you love characters that tug your heartstrings.  


4 comments:

  1. My sister just lent this to me and I am SO looking forward to starting it. Have heard nothing but good things.

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    1. It was fantastic! I hope you enjoy it, Michele! Thanks for visiting.

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  2. I LOVED this one - I love Annika and Jonathan together, how they were so comfortable with each other, how he was so supportive, how she tried to be better for him.

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    1. Yes! It really enjoyed their relationship too. I'm glad you loved this one as much as me. Thanks for visiting, Angela.

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