The Girl He Used to Know

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 01 Apr 2019

Member Reviews

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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Thank you very much for allowing me the opportunity to read this book!  I appreciate the kindness. 
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Review will be posted on 5/21/19
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.
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Truly great book, wonderful, unforgettable story. This was one of the very best books I’ve ever read. From start to finish, this was a beautifully written, compelling, addictive love story.
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I loved The Girl He Used to Know so, so much. Annika has always been seen as odd or strange, and people do not understand her "weird" behaviors. Except for Jonathan. He sees her and accepts her the way she is. In fact, they fall in love. But something happens that splits them up and Jonathan moves to New York City while Annika stays in Chicago to finish her schooling. Ten years later they run into each other at the grocery store, and this sends them both back in time and forces them to reevaluate their feelings for one another. This book was simply wonderful. It made me feel so many things. Having a stepson who is on the Autism spectrum, so reading the story partially from Annika's perspective opened my eyes to so many things. The Girl He Used to Know is one of the best books I have read this year. In fact, it is one of the best I have ever read!
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This book was amazing, I didn't expect to love it so much, but it touch me in so many ways.It was intense , emotional, fast paced and intense. The story was perfect, it was unique and it has a deep meaning.It's not your usual romance.


Annika was an interesting heroine, I adored her.I liked her personality and her love story was sweet but also there were moments I cried so much.Annika and Jonathan’s relationship touched me, I loved their moments together.

It was an amazing story that I would definitely reread it!If you are looking for a powerful story this is what you need!
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Oh my God, what an amazing story.  I have to admit, I never knew any autistic people that were female, instead familiar with school age boys as the biggest percentage that I had encountered over the years.
But here we are, Annika who we see attending as University and the story keeps jumping from 1992 to to ten years later in 2001 when her college boyfriend comes back into her life and they reumite
.  The story bounces back and forth from what initially happened and then you see the time goes by and there's a 9/11 story arc.  So many feels.  You can't help but love Annika, she has a heart of gold and who can not relate to what she goes through in life?  We've all been there.  And the relationship between Jonathan and her is admirable.
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I loved this book. I don't love how some authors treat autism but I loved how Tracey handled autism. 

Annika and Jonathan were a pleasure to read about. Their love story was timeless. Graves made me want to find my own Jonathan. He was so patient and understanding even in college. Annika was so strong. She took on the world and found ways to cope. 

This is a beautiful story and I hope everyone picks it up.
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This was a cute, quick read. I finished it in a little under 36 hours, and I can't remember the last time I stayed up until midnight to finish a book because I didn't want to stop reading. This was a nice change of pace from what I've been reading recently.

All that said, it's not perfect or groundbreaking. It's predictable a bit (and the major twist, which I won't spoil, is pretty obvious from the get-go if you're paying attention to details and hints). To that end, it seemed a little unbelievable, but it also had to be a huge writing challenge to write about that from that perspective. (This feels so vague, but no spoilers). 

What I liked: that this is a book with a charming protagonist who is on the ASD spectrum, and it feels true to character and authentic. It reminded me of the Kiss Quotient a little bit in that regard, though the characters and plot are much different. I'm glad to see more inclusion in books, particularly ones that are generally well-written. The story itself is cute, and I liked the narrative structure flipping between present day and their past in college. 

What I didn't love: alternating POV. Yes, it's usually a hangup for me and I rarely like it, especially when alternating genders because it's rare for a writer (at least those that I've read) to successfully get in both characters heads. This was a bit of an issue here, as I feel like authors' typically default to just overly describing boobs when they're writing from the male perspective, and then maybe they throw in some over the top frat bro jealousy/ego on occasion... but nothing else changes significantly besides a focus on boobs. There also wasn't enough of a distinction between the two character's voices, as at times the quick, blunt writing from the female character's POV, that I attributed to the portrayal of the ASD spectrum aspect, was present in his character, too. The Jonathan chapters were far fewer in number than the Annika chapters, so I think the book would have been just as good, if not better, if it was entirely Annika's POV. If it truly alternated every chapter then it would be different, but there seemed to be 4-5 Annika for every 1 Jonathan. 

All that said, I'd recommend reading it, if the plot sounds intriguing to you.
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I really enjoyed this book! I loved the plot and storyline. I think this book would appeal to many different readers -- women, men, young adults, etc. Highly recommended!
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This was a great book with a main character representing ASD. While for most of the book Annika didn't admit her ASD or maybe even realize it all of her characteristics highly lie on the spectrum. The romance in the novel was extremely sweet and the risks that the two took for eachother, especially Annika idetifiying feelings within herself, we're amazing. The college love story was really what kept me reading until the ending for obvious reasons, but I think that was good because I kept wanting to go back to see the differences in where Annika was to where she went to. 

It was definitely great to see Annika's journey play out over time and see her self discover progress. With her anxieties, a lot of people, including myself, would be able to relate to her.

Though the ending was very impactful, I felt it still was a bit rushed and the conclusion of this epic 10+year love story ended too fast for what I was wanting. 

Annika and Johnathan's love story was very sweet and enjoyable to read. A solid contempary, thank you NetGalley for an arc to read!
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While some might consider this book a little hokey and/or predictable, I really enjoyed reading it. It felt very familiar to me as someone who grew up in the Midwest, and the recipes look fantastic! You could even consider it a cookbook with a bonus story. 

Although the author apparently has a number of books out, I was unfamiliar with her work. I can definitely see myself looking for others now. 

I was provided with an advance copy thanks to NetGalley and the publisher in an exchange for a fair and honest review.
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2.5 stars This is a book that will appeal to readers who enjoy a love story that is touching yet uncomplicated. It’s a delightful  story about two people who fall in love while in their last year of uni and then accidentally meet again 10 years later. It is about new beginnings and second chances. 

I wasn’t as taken with this book as many others were. It’s charms were a little too simplistic for my liking. There was just something in this love story that felt too naive and didn’t resonate with me very well. The main character Annika didn’t capture my heart or attention, and as a result, I had a hard time buying into the story and the romance. I also felt like the ending, which takes a surprisingly significant turn, was rushed.

This book read more like YA fiction to me and that’s not a genre that I typically appreciate.  I think readers who connect with innocent and naive characters and a straightforward plot will relish in this love story much more than I did.

Thank you to St. Martin’s Press and Netgalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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I have read a few books written by the author. My book club read The Island love story, which made me feel uncomfortably captivated.

This story is equally engaging and doesn't leave the reader feeling uncomfortable. It's a tender love story of rekindled love, ten years later. The story is told in the past, and present - and from both Annika and Jonathan's point of view. Annika is a young woman with a diagnosis of autism (on the spectrum), living in a world with people not patient or willing to appreciate her.

A refreshing, quick read.
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I have read a couple of her books and enjoyed her voice so I was looking forward to reading this. The heroine, Annika, is neurodiverse, in the book she is described as being on the autism spectrum. The book alternates past (1991) and present (2001) and we get the POV from heroine and the hero. Annika and Jonathan are college sweethearts that broke up and reconnect in the present. 

The book alternates between telling the story of Annika and Jonathan meeting and falling in love in college and reconnecting and falling in love again as adults. I was more connected to their story from college. As adults things seemed a little more forced. Annika really wanted to reconnect and Jonathan just kind of agreed. That was a little weird. 

As I mentioned the present day of this book is in August 2001. Annika and Jonathan live in Chicago. 90% of the book takes place in/around Chicagoland. But Jonathan’s job in finance takes him to NYC in September 2001. (If you want spoilers, find me on the and I will give them to you) Anyway the connection to 9/11 had me incredibly anxious and rightfully so. I did not enjoy how this book ended. It felt manufactured for drama, there’s some high stakes stuff that gets resolution and then we get a quick flash forward and then roll credits. After the high emotions, I wanted a more payoff in the sense of seeing more from them and how they were going to continue their lives together.

The book is definitely more romantic fiction than a true romance, but there was enough of the romance to keep me reading. It was an interesting read. Although if you read On The Island and are looking for something similar to that, I do not think this is the book for you.

Grade: C-
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I loved Annika and Jonathan's story.  It's a little different than your regular love story because Annika is on the autism spectrum.  He needs her as much as she needs him, it's definitely not a one sided kind of love, but life happens and things get in the way and Annika must prove just how strong she is when 9-11 rocks their world. The Girl He Used to Know is touching, sweet, heartbreaking and in my mind a modern day love story.  I highly recommend you read about Annika an Jonathan. It's more than you bargain for.
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I had no idea what to expect when I began reading this book and I’m glad I went in blind because it made the experience so much richer and meaningful.

This story begins in the now (2001) and switches back to 1991 every few chapters to fill in the back story of Annika and Jonathan. Annika is an incredibly shy person who loves animals, books and playing chess. She is very socially awkward, yet very trusting. This means that she can be taken advantage of sometimes.

Going away to college is a huge step for her and it may be a step too far at times, however she has a wonderful friend called Janice who always looks out for her. In Annika’s senior year she meets Jonathan at Chess club. He is intrigued by this beautiful girl and her personality quirks endear her to him. He is kind, patient and so sweet with Annika. Over time he learns to read her so well that he can adapt really quickly to any situation.

Annika cannot believe how wonderful it feels to be with someone like Jonathan, she has always lived in loneliness and isolation and having this wonderful man in her live, loving her, is more than she could ever have anticipated for herself. As their love for each other deepens and their lives weave together, she cannot imagine spending her time with anyone else. Then something happens and Annika takes 10 steps back, if not more.

Annika is tired of always relying on people to take care of her, she needs to learn to stand on her own two feet, learn how to play amongst the game of life and read social cues. She will never grow as a person when she has a safety net around her all the time. However, her personality traits make her who she is but until she is comfortable with them and accepts them, she will never be happy.

‘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 was a beautiful, coming of age story of a young woman taking tentative steps into adulthood while trying to figure out who she is along the way. Loved this!
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Writing 5.0 stars
Plot 4.5 stars
Characters 5.0 stars
Language 4.5 stars

Just LOVED the whole thing! I'm biased, I think, because I totally can relate to Annika. To be accepted and understood. For people to have compassion for others differences and not pre-judge. It's a wonderful concept, but when it actually does can bring peace and acceptance to the individual that's struggling to belong/fit in. Jonathon and Janice were a dream. Annika was so lucky to have such great support. Eventually it was nice to see the brother get on board. I like how the author tied in Annika's father's condition and how it impacted her parents' marriage.
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First, this book is wholly different than On the Island - and what a talent Graves is to be able to successfully switch gears without being tempted to match the tone of a former book. 

Second, The Girl He Used To Know is a little bit educational.  You can tell Graves did her research into Aspergers (though sometimes I was like Enough already, I get it).  Annika demonstrates a quiet strength and confidence that is admirable- and Graves gives the backstory so that you know how tough it was for Annika to get there.  

And then there’s the love story. The sweet sweet love story. Annika’s life wasn’t all roses, and her suitors didn’t always actually love her. What matters in the end is that the girl he used to know is only one part of the woman she is now - and that love story is a beautiful one.
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