The Girl He Used to Know

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 16 Apr 2019

Member Reviews

I have mixed feelings about this book. I enjoyed the first 3/4 of it, and it was a quick read. I originally thought it was going to be a sweet second-chance love story, but it is so much deeper than that. I liked the back and forth between Annika and Jonathan's college years and 10 years later as it showed Annika's progression and confidence. That said, I didn't love the last part of the book. I get why the author decided to do it, but it felt like it was a little much. I also didn't really like the ending. Right now the book is 3.5 stars for me, but I rounded up to four stars.
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4.5 Stars!

❝You're like the ketchup in my life,❞ I'd told Jonathan one night on the phone, and he laughed.

❝I don't know what that means, exactly, but if it makes you happy, I'm honored to be your condiment.❞

What a beautiful story!

After a horrific experience in middle school, Annika Rose's parents decide homeschooling was best for her. But when it came time to go to college, Annika's parents encouraged her to leave home and explore her independence. It wasn't long before she started feeling over stimulated, oversocialized and completely overwhelmed and wanted to go home. Fortunately for her, she had an incredibly compassionate and empathetic roommate who took her under her wing. She helped guide her and taught her how to navigate life. Janice refused to let Annika give up, she challenged her at every turn and provided her with something Annika never had, a true friend. It was when Janice introduced her to the chess club, that the beautiful and smart Annika learned to trust others and began to see there were people who could accept her as she was.

Watching Annika blossom from a young woman who struggled daily to survive in social situations, to a confident woman who learned social cues and gained an understanding of what other people are thinking and feeling, was truly beautiful to watch.

❝Do you want to go out with me Friday night?❞

❝Go out with you where?❞ I asked

❝On a date. We can go wherever you want.❞

❝Why would you want to do that?❞ Why would anyone?

❝Because I think you're really pretty, and I like you.❞ When I didn't say anything, he dropped my hand and shoved his into his pockets. ❝I feel like I can be myself with you.❞

Jonathan attends the same university as Annika and was also a member of the chess club. After college, he planned to move to New York and get a job on Wall Street. Around Annika, he found that he could be himself, without pretense. He enjoyed Annika's quirks and the unapologetic way in which she lived her life. She said what was on her mind and did what she wanted. Jonathan was refreshingly honest and utterly charming. His patience was admirable and his love unconditional.

While reading, I want to experience what the characters experience. I want to laugh with them and cry with and for them. While reading The Girl He Used To Know, there were times that I felt the story was being told to me rather than letting me experience it. For example, with the passages between dialogue, the author does a wonderful job telling the reader what each character is thinking, I just wished I had been able to feel what they were feeling. Nonetheless, the author's strong storytelling and character development carried me through to the end where the true magic of this story unfolds.

THE GIRL HE USED TO KNOW is a beautiful second-chance romance, that encourages readers to discover their own power, accept each other's differences, and love unconditionally!
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"Such is my desire to replace the memories of the girl he used to know with the woman I've become."

Ten years after parting on less than good terms, Annika (think Monica minus M) and Jonathan run into each other at the supermarket...what follows is the dual timeline of how they met and got together and the present. Are they able to rekindle what they had in the past? You'll have to read this amazing book to find out. I couldn't put it down and didn't want it to end! 

Annika is a character who will stay with me for a long time to come!

Thank you to St. Martin's Press for the advanced review copy; all opinions are my own.
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Without a doubt, “The Girl He Used to Know” by Tracey Garvis-Graves, tops the list of my favorite books thus far this year!  In fact, I can’t rave enough about this unique and compelling second-chance romance that left an indelible impression upon my soul.  Boasting well-developed, multi-dimensional characters and a premise unlike any I’ve encountered before, Tracey Garvis-Graves delivers a gripping, emotional story that you won’t soon forget. 

While Annika and Jonathan’s arduous journey towards reaching their HEA is paved with many pitfalls, as a reader that longs for the exceptional, I found it to be a road well worth traveling.  Ignorant to most social clues, Annika has struggled to fit in for most of her life.  And then there was Jonathan, who loved her, flaws and all.  That is, until Annika inadvertently broke his heart.  Now, years later—after a chance encounter—Annika hopes to win Jonathan back by proving to him how much she has changed.  Still, some obstacles might be too great to overcome.  So, the question remains, can this couple rise to the challenge? Or will fate step in and  prevent them from ultimately beating the odds?

Eliciting a myriad of emotions, “The Girl He Used to Know” broke my heart and then slowly pieced it back together.  It’s raw, it’s gritty, and it’s real.  And it’s what true romance is all about.
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I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. An original, second chance, slow-burn romance that really was quite unlike any I have read before.

The author's style is quite something; she has a flair that makes it natural for you to sink right into the mindset of the characters you're reading. And man, does that make you stop and think when you're embroiled in a story like this one. You'll feel the turmoil this young lady feels. Her inner struggles...it's really a well-plotted story. Well done. 4 stars.
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4.5 Stars for this very sweet book about second chances at first loves! It alternates back and forth between 1991 when Annika and Jonathon first meet in college and 10 years later when they run into each other in Chicago. I loved both of them, Annika is clearly on the Autism spectrum - but this was back when that diagnosis was fairly uncommon. I found myself not only rooting for both of them and their relationship, but also left wanting to know more! Could there possibly be a sequel?? Either way - I couldn't put this book down! Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the ARC!
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Oh. OH! What an incredibly lovely story this was!

Jonathan and Annika’s second-chance love story is told both in flashback (1991) - where we get to experience them falling in love for the first time - and in present voice (2001) – where we get to experience them fall in love all over again, ten years later. Both experiences were equally captivating and I could barely pull myself away from their riveting story. 

The tone of the storytelling felt almost gentle throughout most of the book – evoking a sweet innocence to the couple both as they experience their first love, and then again when they rekindle that love. Annika is one of the most compelling heroines I’ve read in a long time and I absolutely adored her. I loved the time I got to spend inside her head, and I loved watching how the people who loved her – and not just Jonathan - cared for her. She broke my heart, but she also pieced it back together again and the whole thing could not have been more rewarding.

I felt like Ms. Garvis-Graves captured the excitement and the angst of falling in love in college, even while her characters were “outside the box”. That is, there were just as many things with which I could identify, things that triggered memories and touched on long buried soft spots in my heart, things that allowed my heart to flutter with shared emotion – as there were things that could never have been part of my neurotypical experience (but made for fascinating reading nonetheless). I completely lost my heart to Jonathan and Annika as they lost their hearts to each other. It was just lovely.

It was also sometimes heartbreaking. There were a couple of emotional punches delivered along the way, and they hit me right in the feels. There was also a period toward the end where the storytelling turned more intense and lost that sort of gentle vibe that I associated with it for most of the book. As Jonathan and Annika’s world turned upside down, my heart raced and I spent some time on the edge of my seat while Ms. Garvis-Graves once again summoned my own very vivid memories and feelings from Jonathan and Annika’s experiences. My heart ached for them. My pulse pounded for them. I read with bated breath until – finally – the happily ever after. 

In all? What an incredible read. I would have maybe liked a little more from the ending. I definitely would have liked an epilogue. But the story I did get was a poignant, emotional, wonderful read. These are not your average characters. This is not your average love story. And your heart? It just might never be the same after taking this ride. I loved it! Definitely recommend!Oh. Oh! What an incredibly lovely story this was!

Jonathan and Annika’s second-chance love story is told both in flashback (1991) - where we get to experience them falling in love for the first time - and in present voice (2001) – where we get to experience them fall in love all over again, ten years later. Both experiences were equally captivating and I could barely pull myself away from their riveting story. 

The tone of the storytelling felt almost gentle throughout most of the book – evoking a sweet innocence to the couple both as they experience their first love, and then again when they rekindle that love. Annika is one of the most compelling heroines I’ve read in a long time and I absolutely adored her. I loved the time I got to spend inside her head, and I loved watching how the people who loved her – and not just Jonathan - cared for her. She broke my heart, but she also pieced it back together again and the whole thing could not have been more rewarding.

I felt like Ms. Garvis-Graves captured the excitement and the angst of falling in love in college, even while her characters were “outside the box”. That is, there were just as many things with which I could identify, things that triggered memories and touched on long buried soft spots in my heart, things that allowed my heart to flutter with shared emotion – as there were things that could never have been part of my neurotypical experience (but made for fascinating reading nonetheless). I completely lost my heart to Jonathan and Annika as they lost their hearts to each other. It was just lovely.

It was also sometimes heartbreaking. There were a couple of emotional punches delivered along the way, and they hit me right in the feels. There was also a period toward the end where the storytelling turned more intense and lost that sort of gentle vibe that I associated with it for most of the book. As Jonathan and Annika’s world turned upside down, my heart raced and I spent some time on the edge of my seat while Ms. Garvis-Graves once again summoned my own very vivid memories and feelings from Jonathan and Annika’s experiences. My heart ached for them. My pulse pounded for them. I read with bated breath until – finally – the happily ever after. 

In all? What an incredible read. I would have maybe liked a little more from the ending. I definitely would have liked an epilogue. But the story I did get was a poignant, emotional, wonderful read. These are not your average characters. This is not your average love story. And your heart? It just might never be the same after taking this ride. I loved it! Definitely recommend!
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This book threw me for a loop so many times. At first, I couldn't decide if I was enjoying it or not and then BAM! It hit me that I was fully invested in this book, this couple and this relationship. It was interesting to see someone in a relationship who was dealing with personal issues mentally, etc.  It was interesting to see the things that she had to work through and how he helped her along the way. Then the big part of the book came and BAM! It hit me again. I have no idea why I didn't see that coming, but I didn't at all. Great book, kept me on the edge of my seat!
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A young woman on the autism spectrum leaves home for college and is supported by a wonderful best friend and a burgeoning romance.  I like this book and read it fast but I wasn't blown away and had some nit-picking issues.  I kind of wish this was just about the wonderful friendship of Annika and Janice and the romance was pushed to the back burner.  I'm not qualified to comment on how well the inner monologue of a person on the spectrum was portrayed but I really got sick of hearing how beautiful she was.  It felt completely unnecessary.   Overall, this was a quick, mostly enjoyable read.  I received a digital ARC of this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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Annika is at the grocery store when she bumps into Jonathan, her former boyfriend who she hasn't seen in 10 years. A boyfriend - the love of her love, really - who she thought still lived in NYC. When they make plans to get coffee, a sudden succession of interactions forces both Annika and Jonathan to confront feelings that they were not prepared to have surface.

The author alludes to the fact that Annika might be autistic well before confirming it. I love being on a journey where a female character has a lot to overcome.

The novel jumps back and forth between perspectives and time: present and college. The reader learns about how Annika and Jonathan fall in love, what drove them apart, and the past they must confront before a true second chance at love can happen.

While I didn’t want this to end, the ending TOTALLY threw me for a loop. My heart raced and I finished the book 20 minutes later!

I listened to On the Island on audio last year and knew I had to read more from Tracey Garvis Graves. Thank you NETGALLEY for sending me this arc!
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I started reading this book and thought OK, just another romance and love story! 

It was unique and very touching,  

The story travels between the time Annika and Jonathan was in college and 10 years later which is 2001. 

How they fell in love and had plans and their lives changed and their ways were separated. Which was nothing very much different with other usual love stories. The part that I enjoyed a lot was the current (2001) when I got to know more and more about Annika. This book has strong characters and the story gets more developed towards the end. 

Love can change one's life. Love, will make people forget about themselves and love, will make one strong. 

It was the Jonathan's love that made Annika strong to drive alone to find him. That strength gave her confidence and forced her to be independent. 

Amazing book. 



Many thanks to Net Galley and the Publisher for sending me an advanced copy.
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I loved this book and devoured it it one sitting. The author does a fantastic job building toward a suspenseful finish you won't see coming--I didn't see coming--and it had me on the edge of my seat the last few chapters. This is a love story between unconventional characters, though there is nothing more lovely than the beauty and depth of their connection. You will root for Jonathan and Annika as I did and close the book wanting way more of them. Highly recommend! Brava Tracey Garcia Graves.
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I was looking forward to reading this, and it didn't disappoint. I read it in one day. It's a simple story of boy meets girl, and they fall in love. It seemed like a young adult novel, but I don't read many of those so I am not sure that's what it's supposed to be. I would recommend this book to teens/young adults of college age.
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The Girl He Used to Know is a beautiful book that tells the story of Annika and Jonathan in alternates POV’s and with some flashbacks to the past.
Through the book, we can read about how they met, how they got together and the things they lived. 
I have to say I regret not reading this book sooner because it was an amazing read. The characters were complex but also very likeable and it was easy to connect with them at some level. I love reading the two sides of the story and the intertwined flashbacks. I never thought the story would end up the way it did and the minute I read about that turning point, my heart broke. I finished the book in tears, for everything that was happening, but it was in a positive way. 
It was a great story; I thought it was sweet and beautiful. The romance is enough; it is not sugarcoated and it feels real. 
Annika was a very interesting character and it made me realize how people can be different and how we can sometimes hurt other people without meaning too. I like it when books depict characters that make you aware of things you might have not thought before.
Overall, I deeply enjoyed the book and, without a doubt, would recommend it; because it is completely worth it and it will surely surprise you.
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This is a total gem of a story about a girl/woman is who is totally misunderstood until she meets a boy in college. A story of their journey through the ups and downs of getting to know each other.

I was not familiar with Tracey Garvis Graves but I am definitely a fan. She had a way of writing Annika's story in such a special way. I could easily relate with quite a bit of Annika. It was refreshing to read a book with a POV that was so relatable. I knew very early on in this story that this book would be one of my favorite books of 2019 and all-time favorite list. I didn't want to stop reading this story but also didn't want it to end. Annika is a character that will stay with me a long time. 

If you follow my reviews, this book does have more sex than I typically read but Annika's and Johnathon's story is special and worth the read.
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The story opens with Annika and Jonathan bumping into each other at a grocery store and we learn they share a past, but we don't know the particulars of it, which is where the story takes us.

Annika and Jonathan meet in Chess Club during their senior year of college. They develop a friendship which turns into a romance. Annika has her issues, and we eventually figure out that she on the Autism spectrum. She's quite intelligent, but she has a hard time reading social cues and doesn't always have the "right" reaction to situations. Jonathan is quite understanding of Annika's quirks and actually loves her eccentricities. Their relationship grows and we eventually learn of the situation that broke them apart. Their break up is difficult for various reasons.

The story is told in intermixed chapters of their past and now present relationship. Jonathan is recovering from a messy divorce and he's not sure if he wants to try again with Annika, although we get the sense that he'd be more devastated if he lost Annika again. Annika is working hard to show Jonathan how she's changed over the years. I adored the way Jonathan admires Annika and all of her struggles. He knows that sometime she needs to work things out for herself and doesn't rush in to try and solve her problems for her. Annika proves herself in a big way towards the end. 

I really quite enjoyed their journey. My only wish is that I would have had more of the "after".
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I’d like to thank NetGalley and St. Martin”s Press for the opportunity to read this ARC. Ioved Annika and Will. I rooted for them both throughout the story. However, the twist at the end seemed to come out of nowhere  and seemed far-fetched given the situation.
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This book was refreshing and new. I loved the themes on beauty, and I found the relationship between Annika and Jonathon very endearing. I enjoyed both the multiple points of view, and the flashbacks from past to present. I think that having multiple points of view in romance gives the story so much more character if it's done well, and this was absolutely done well. I can see some readers struggling with Annika as a character due to her social challenges and chopped dialogue. But I found this incredibly authentic and real, and I appreciated how genuine the author made her character. This was a 4 star read for me!
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As a first time reader of Tracey Garvis Graves my excitement for this novel came from a fresh, unfiltered place. The blurb and simple, lovely cover intrigued me. As this author toggles between a ten year gap of time she introduces us to two misfit characters so well suited to each other and likewise so suitable to readers. Her story telling in the characters past is as reverent and nostalgic as it is shadowed by an inevitable separation. Bringing us to their present where this author weaves a tale of forgiveness, acceptance, and utmost courage through her wonderful writing.

I was consumed with this book almost all the way through. I couldn't get enough of the characters and their plights. Their story was as sweet as it was painful. It was interesting - two people who couldn't be more different coupled so well together. The trust and love apparent in this story is in abundance. As unseemly college sweethearts, Annika and Jonathan move through their journey together so naturally. Their stories and backgrounds are quite unique and different from each other. The patience and understanding of Jonathan and the quirks and bravery of Annika make them so appealing. As a reader, it was a comforting read even in it's delving into much deeper emotions than just simple romance.

Once I reached a certain point though and the author made it point to be more obvious to something I should have been paying more attention to, I was overcome with a sense of uniqueness in a situation that hits all of us so close to home. The devices used to create the final conflicts of the past coupled with what's happening in their present hit me full force. Unfortunately, the way the story races to the end in a series of questions and tumbles left me a little leery about truly loving it for five stars. Those devices weren't fully fleshed out for me in a natural way but rather seemed too obvious of plot devices once they happened. After so much excellent build up and beautiful story telling the ending felt rushed and even a little incomplete.

The Girl He Used to Know still does come very much recommended from me though. The character building of Tracey Garvis Graves is worth the read in and of itself. She needles her way into the very center of the loving and scarred hearts of her unforgettable characters and in doing so opens up her reader's hearts. Coupled with beautiful writing this story is one you don't want to miss.
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Amazing story! Such a sweet read. really enjoyed it! Great read for anyone looking to find a great one to curl up with!
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