The Girl He Used to Know

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 01 Apr 2019

Member Reviews

A book about a woman with high functioning autism. Fairly well written, but I didn't really connect with the characters. I didn't dislike them, they just didn't seem super fleshed out to me and the "romance" seemed a little flat. I'm not a huge fan of "second chance at love" in general so maybe I'm not the audience for this book.
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I didn't really know what to expect with this title but I'm glad that I requested it. 

Jonathan and Annika became close while both attended University--as a result of Jonathan pursuing Annika. Annika reluctantly allowed herself to get close to Jonathan after he invaded her Chess time. After a striking separation they don't speak for 10 years until they have both moved into the same city and begin to cross paths more and more. Over the ten years both have grown and (Annika) learned coping skills and they attempt to begin anew. 

We get to see how time and growth really can heal and restore relationships in this story.
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A lovely slow burner of a read about the normality and the humdrum of reality and everyday living. A story of second chances, a rekindling of love and just seeing how things can go. A delicately written novel with endearing characters and a beautiful plotline. The ending was just too sad and emotional for me.
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When Annika gets a second chance at a wonderful romance life is going to change for the better.  Great characters, beautiful romance.
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This book was so much more than I anticipated. It told a story of not just love but of strength and finding beauty (internal) in the oddity of people and life. Annika was such a well written character. I never felt pity for her and all the ways the world was cruel to her. I felt like her cheerleader and wanted her to pull through so much. As the ending was unfolding and I wasn’t sure how it was going to go I still felt so much warmth for her character for finding her voice and place in this world. The story goes back and forth between the present time of the book (2001) and the past where the original story of Annika and Jonathan began. I read this book in 2 days because I couldn’t put it down. There are some hard parts of the storyline that could be triggering for people but for me it made the story that much more heartfelt. It reminded me of the good things in this world and that we should never give up on people or lose our faith in humanity. While this world will always be harsh it is also beautiful. It is a love story but goodness it is so much more. Don’t let that take away from wanting to read this. It is so much more than that.
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I found myself having extreme sympathy for Annika but I could see people finding her to be irritating until they realize where her problems stem from. I loved Jonathan for loving her as she was and felt myself crumble when their relationship fell apart. The ending made me gasp out loud and then be a little mad at the book for it ending so well, but overall I fell in love with the characters and their story.
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i thought this was a pretty enjoyable book for about 90% of it, and then the last 10% really brought the rating down for me.  It's not that I'm opposed to reading about 9/11, but I really didn't feel it was necessary in this book and that it was added for drama's sake.  I enjoyed Annika's character and appreciated reading about someone on the spectrum, but I thought Jonathan was a bit flat.  Overall I gave this one three stars, but that wouldn't keep me from reading something else by this author.
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Thank you NetGalley for the opportunity to review this book. The Girl He Used To Know by Tracey Garvis Graves.  I really enjoyed this book.  I will not give any spoilers.  I will say it flips in between the characters ages and  decades .  I think you will r joy this book. I liked it so much I’m bought the hardback book.
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The best way that I could describe this story is as a coming of age tale; even though the main character is in her early 20s.  This is a story that flips between the early '90s and then 10 years later to the early '00s.  I would say that it's coming of age in that way that the story shows how the main character has developed and evolved in her own way.  I was not expecting the ending!! It came as a total shock.  Even though after thinking about how the chronological sequence of dates happened, then it made sense... 

I really enjoyed this book!
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Loved it and that simple book cover beautiful. 

Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for giving me an ARC in exchange for an honest review*
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I will be very surprised if this doesn't end up being one of my favorite books of the year! St. Martin's Press has been killing it with their titles lately! (Thanks for my digital copy) I have never related to a character in a novel as much as I relate to Annika. As soon as I learned she loves animals and books more than people she had me forever. Yes, this is love story about two college students who reconnect later in life and get a second chance. But it was so much more than that to me. Annika overcomes so many obstacles and Jonathon appreciates her for who she is through it all. I also love love love that she has a best friend she can turn to when life gets too overwhelming and she holds back on living. We all need a Janice and Jonathon in our lives.

Although I do not have autism, I was told in the past that I might. I've never had tests done because I was able to overcome so many things on my own by pushing myself to do things that scared me. But so many of Annika's struggles resonated with me on such a deep level. I've always thought there was something wrong with me because there were so many things I could not do (talking on the phone, being in groups, talking in class, picking up on social cues) and people thought I was just being apathetic or lazy. Reading this book made me realize it is nothing to be ashamed of because it truly helped shape me as a person.

I love how Graves brought so much insight into being on the spectrum and I hope she opened so many peoples eyes. It is a broad spectrum for a reason. Many people have said that the ending makes no sense and came completely out of left field. I love the ending because Annika needed this test to know that she really had overcome many great obstacles. Be ready for all the tears though!
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In 1991, Annika is a junior at the University of Illinois in Chicago.  She is extremely socially awkward.  Annika often says what is on her mind without thinking. She finds social situations exhausting and rather spends time volunteering at the wildlife rehab center.   When she first moved to Chicago two years earlier, her roommate, Janet, begins to show her things like how to dress  stylish, become organized, encourages her to volunteer, and what to say/act in certain social situations. Janet is the first and only friend she has. During her junior year, Annika has enough and is ready to move back home. Janet makes her first go to the chess club meeting that she enjoys and takes her mind off of things. She always plays the same person. That night she plays a match against Jonathan and everything changes.

Jonathan has just transferred to the school, happens across the chess club meeting, and plays with Annika. He is quickly taken in with Annika and her quirky ways.  They soon fall in love and begin to talk about a future after college. However a tragic incident happens that changes everything. 

Ten years later, Annika has her dream job as a librarian for the public library system.  She is living on her on and doing well. She now has weekly sessions with her counselor, Tina, who helps her get through everyday situations.  When life gets really stressful, she still calls Janice for advice.  One afternoon she goes grocery shopping and runs into Jonathan.   He has just moved back to Chicago after a divorce. They agree to have coffee. Jonathan is surprised how much Annika has changed. They both wonder if they could have a second chance. 

The Girl He Used to Love is the latest by Tracey Graves.  The book alternates taking place in 1991 and 2001 and is told by both Annika and Jonathan.  Right away you sort of figure Annika is on the autism spectrum when tests were not done then for it (according to the book) It is not until she is tested in 2001, does a doctor confirm she does have it. It is interesting to see how the characters grow and seem to be there for each other at the right time.  The only negative about it is I thought it ended a little quickly and would have like to have had one more chapter with Jonathan’s POV. Just like her other book, On the Island, once I started it I could not put it down.  One of the best romance novels I have read in a while. 4.5 stars.

THanks for Netgalley and the publisher for the free copy a few months ago. I would have read it sooner if I knew it was this good!
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This book had a lot of hype in the months prior to publications. The author, a well-known romance writer, and the book cover, simplistic yet beautiful, made it seem like the perfect weekend read. And yet I struggled. I loved that Annika was on the Autism spectrum. I'm not the biggest fan of second chance romances, but when done right they can punch you in the gut and give you the warm fuzzies simultaneously. But then there was all this drama, much of which seemed unnecessary and purely plot devices (looking at you, 9/11 subplot). I wasn't all that sure why they broke up in the first place either. I either completely missed it or it just wasn't that clear. Unfortunately, I felt The Girl He Used to Know missed the mark a little bit, but with so many others loving it, I would suggest others give it a try and see for themselves.
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When Annika runs into her ex-boyfriend after 10 years, she wants to show him that she's not the same girl she was when they dated in college. The Girl He Used To Know goes back and forth between past and present and switches between Annika and Jonathan's viewpoint.

The different viewpoints really allowed me to get to know both Annika and Jonathan, and it gave me a better perspective on their relationship. I loved getting to know both characters, and couldn't put the book down.
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I'm on the fence about this book. Maybe I should cut it some slack. I like the premise, but Annika fell wicked flat for me, and since she is the main character, that is a major problem.. What if she sounded more authentic? Would she alienate neurotypical readers? That aside, I was trying to figure out whether this book would have been better -- a fun read, but not something that would standout later.
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This is a fantastic read - a romance but so much more. The story centers around first love and second chances. The narrative alternates between 1991 and 2001 - telling the reader the story of Annika and Jonathan. What makes this one so unique is that Annika isn't a typical heroine - she is autistic. Seeing the world through her eyes was so interesting and gave me a whole new perspective on the life of a person with autism (and I mean that in the best way). The story of Annika and Jonathan was beautifully rendered. Heartwarming, endearing and lovely are all words that I'd use to describe this one. It's definitely a romance but it truly is more. I highly recommend this one!
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The Girl He Used to Know by Tracey Garvis Graves is a 2019 St. Martin’s Press publication. 

A tender, second chance at love story-

Annika and Jonathan met in college via the chess club back in 1991. They gradually fall deeply in love, despite Annika’s social anxiety, which is coupled with a plethora of other little quirks. 

Jonathan is just absolutely the most patient and sweet guy, most of the time, but without fully understanding Annika’s social miscues there are a few misunderstandings along the way. Yet, they manage to make it work and are looking forward to building a future together. 

Obviously, something went horribly awry, however, because as the story opens, it is now 2001, and Annika and Jonathan haven’t seen one another for ten years. They bump into one another at the grocery store of all places, and Annika seizes the opportunity to prove to Jonathan that she is not the girl he used to know-

I got caught up in this story instantly. Annika’s character is so earnest and sincere, I couldn’t help but root for her. But I loved Jonathan too, although, almost by default, his character remains a bit muted. Yet, the author most assuredly did this by design, as the reader is most likely so focused on Annika, Jonathan’s emotional needs often feel secondary, or even trite. Yet, it is entirely possible that the book is just as much about Jonathan as it is Annika. 

There is so much to love about this book. It is important too, in many ways, as well. Knowing early on when someone falls within the spectrum is crucial, and there was a time when no such testing was available. But, while I appreciate the attention the book brings to these issues, at the end of the day, this is a second chance at love story, which is one my favorite romantic tropes. I’m a sucker for it and fall for it every single time. 

One does have to suspend belief a bit towards the end, but I still found Annika’s determination to prove her mettle in keeping with the book’s theme. A concerted effort on her part to give Jonathan what he needs in a relationship, is why the title of the book is so fitting, and well, that’s kind of the point, when you get right down to it. Perhaps it was a little overly dramatic- but come on- it was very effective and kept me riveted to the pages, afraid to even exhale. 

Overall, this is a very touching novel, with all the great themes a love story should have, but is also a story of personal growth, compromise, friendship, family. 

4 stars
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I waffled around with my rating and I think I'm going with 2.5 stars. 
I honestly did not get the same feelings and love for Annika that everyone else seems to gush over in their reviews. I didn't like her very much throughout the story. I thought that everyone around her went out of their way to accommodate her, and those who thought she was strange or weird were vilified and made out as terrible people. Yes, I get having compassion for someone who is different and/or on the spectrum, but it doesn't excuse every single part of their behavior that is rude and inappropriate. 
I appreciated toward the end when Jonathan finally confronted her and told her she didn't get to run away every time she felt uncomfortable. I thought "Finally!" when he said it and thought he should have said it long before. If they were supposed to be in a truly loving partnership, it didn't feel that way because he was more of a teacher and a guidance person (with some sex on the side)
I really disliked the ending. It was incongruous with the entire book and did not show to me what I thought the author was wanting to show (Annika's growth as a person). It was very abrupt and the strangest way to end things. I was an adult during the Sept 11 attacks and vividly remember how devastating everything was for weeks. I just thought the author's handling of the whole thing was bizarrely unemotional and wrapped up too quickly and neatly, almost like an epilogue after the long lead up.
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This book was SO good! As a new author for me, I cannot even believe how good it was. I will recommend all to read this book (and more from her)! I love that the book took me on so many emotional paths. I didn't expect the twist at all. I love Annika and Jonathan's special relationship!
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This was a great contemporary romance; it reminded me a lot of the Ghosted by Rosie Walsh, in that it's about a un-explained past and old love re-emerging. Whatever happened, rooted for Annika the entire time; was a beautiful read.
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