The Girl He Used to Know

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 01 Apr 2019

Member Reviews

The Girl He Used to Know is a beautiful love story between the quirky Annika, and the sweet and caring Jonathan. Annika and Jonathan meet in college, when they both join the chess team. Jonathan quickly falls for Annika's quirkiness, and Annika, for his kindness and acceptance of her differences. The two develop a meaningful first love, before parting ways as their college years draw to an end. 10 years later, Annika runs into Jonathan at a supermarket and asks to see him again. Can they rekindle their relationship after so much time has passed?

I truly loved the characters in this book. Annika was adorable, and Jonathan was an amazing match for her. Annika's best friend Janice, is the kind of friend every woman should have in her life. I became completely wrapped up in this love story, and it was just such a feel-good book. I give it 4.5 stars, rounded up.
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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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Struggled a bit to finish this one. The different time periods were unevenly spaced and I felt myself slogging through the one to get to the other. Main character wasn't always the most likeable as the growth was slow and there was a lot of repeated behaviour. But had some nice moments.
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Holy cow what an emotional book. These characters are unlike anything I have read in recent years. I always love stories about people who are in love, break up and then find themselves back in each other’s orbits. This is what happens to Annika and Jonathan; together in college but split up afterwards, 10 years later they fine each other again.

Annika has worked on those things that she struggle with during college and Jonathan is still recovering from a divorce.
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What an awesome story. The Girl He Used To Know is such an original and beautiful book. 

Annika Rose is unique and kind and drawn for us by the author with such care and honesty. There is no way to read this book and not be touched deeply by the story and it’s amazing characters. 

The story is told back and forth between 2001 and 1991. This is not a style I’m usually overly fond of, but in this case it works and the flash back chapters connect perfectly keeping the story flowing seamlessly. 

This is a book that I will be recommending to all of my friends. 
-5+ Stars!-
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Quite simply, I loved this book. One of the characters is on the autism spectrum, and it was very enlightening to read the sections that are told from her point of view. This book also contains a beautiful love story. I highly recommend it!
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Charming romance between awkward, introverted Annika and her boyfriend Jonathan who she meets at chess club. The story is told from alternating viewpoints and back and forth in time between 1991 and 2001, when the two first date and then when they reconnect a decade later. I really enjoyed the authenticity of the characters and following Annika’s self-growth. I do wish they hadn’t made both Jonathan and Annika good-looking- it’s ok to have average or not so good-looking protagonists sometimes. I really like the 3 dimensional portrayal of a person with high-functioning autism showing strengths as well as weaknesses. Strong 4 star read. 

Thanks to NetGalley, St. Martin’s Press, and the author Travis Garvis Graves for a digital review copy. This book was first published April 2, 2019.
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Well, if this one of the sweetest romances that I’ve read in a long time! 'The Girl He Used to Know' by Tracey Garvis Graves was honest, emotional, and such a refreshing read!

Jonathan and Annika’s characters completely captured my heart! I adored Annika’s unique and quirky character. I felt for her challenges in social settings and conveying how deeply she really cared for people. Jonathan’s character was just wow! He had such patience and a simple appreciation for Annika. I felt his pain and understood his conflicts in dealing with her, and I also loved his wholehearted belief in her as well!

Jonathan and Annika’s second chance romance was definitely challenging but incredibly sweet. Their story was told in both of their point of views, in the present and when they first met ten years prior, and their insight really brought their characters to life. Their journey was passionate, angsty, and heartbreaking at times, but above all showcased the true meaning of understanding and unconditional love.

Tracey Garvis Graves did an amazing job with this beautifully written story that will make you think and make you feel. It’s a story of overcoming your weaknesses, finding acceptance and success with who you are, and also a reminder of how judgmental and cruel people can be. I really don’t want to give too much away, because I loved how everything unfolded in an unpredictable and captivating way!

I’m not trying to be greedy here, but the ending was quite abrupt. If I had it in me to take a little off my rating, I would. But, I just can’t do it. This is such a wonderful read, and I highly recommend it!
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I started out liking The Girl He Used to Know quite a bit, however the last 1/3 of the novel totally ruined it for me. The Girl He Used to Know is a story told in alternating time lines and points of view between Annika, a young woman with undiagnosed Aspergers and Jonathan, who falls in love with her in college.  The novel moves slowly at times, but the characters are engaging. However, the novel moves into the ridiculous in the last third. I feel like up to that point the novel had the potential to be a lighthearted love story with interesting character, but the twist at the end seemed completely out of place for the rest of the story. 


Thank you  to St. Martin's Press and Netgalley for the opportunity to read this in exchange for an unbiased review.
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The Girl He Used To Know is a contemporary romance, as well as a tale of loss and becoming. Annika and Jonathan meet in chess club, while in college. She is a bit different from her peers. He has just changed schools for his senior year, following a scandal. What follows is the story of their romance, separation and reunification. Told in dual timelines, we see the evolution of their love story, then and now.

I loved this book. I loved the romance, the unlikely feel of the pairing, the diverse voice of Annika and how the author so sympathetically handles the reason for their split (spoiler: I cried. A lot). I devoured this book in 24 hours, which is a rarity! My only criticism is with the final chapters. I’m still unsure whether that was due to my own race to find out what would happen, or if the writing was as rushed as it felt. Regardless, Annika and Jonathan are one of my new favorite literary couples! Pick up this book if you enjoy complex characters, a diverse voice, tension, and a great, solid love story with a bit of steam.

Thank you to St. Martin's Press and NetGalley #partner for the complimentary ARC and eGalley of this beautiful book! All opinions are my own.
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I loved this love story so much. I particularly loved how the main characters was on the spectrum and how true she rang to me.
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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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I’ve been waiting for Tracey Garvis-Graves to write us another book and The Girl He Used to Know was just what I was hoping for.  This book has everything I expect from her books, a great story, fantastic characters, and swoons.  

Annika (pronounced like Monica without the M) was a great character.  From the start of the book it is clear that she isn’t like everyone else and I know that makes some people uncomfortable.  The unfortunate part for Annika is that it makes her stand out and, in some cases, people react in a negative way.  When she goes to college, it’s the first time in a long time that she has been away from her family and luckily, she meets some people she can rely on.  I loved Annika.  She’s real and although life isn’t perfect, she is motivated to make a place for herself and do it on her terms.  Having the ability to experience the world from her perspective really helped in understanding her as a character.

The story kicks off with Annika running into her ex-boyfriend ten years after they broke up and from there, we get to learn what happened in the past as well as what happens from their chance meeting going forward.  I loved how Garvis-Graves structured the story to provide all the backstory and character development as well as how she inserted chapters reflecting their story going forward from their run in.  

One of my favorite things about this book was getting to learn how Annika’s and Jonathan’s relationship began and grew.  Jonathan’s patience and understanding was amazing and although it’s clear something happened to end their relationship and Annika feels guilty about it, we don’t learn all the details until the story hits that point and although it was a painful point in the story, the way it is revealed and dealt with by both characters felt very real and also, heartbreaking.  I can’t say enough about how much I loved Jonathan.

The other relationship I loved in this story was Annika’s friendship with Janice.  It is clear that without her, Annika probably wouldn’t have stayed at college and it was wonderful to learn just how much Janice stepped up to help and support Annika.  Not only while in college, but the continuation of their friendship was great and Janice’s ability to be real with Annika without being hurtful was something that helped Annika learn along the way.  

I’m not going to say a lot about the ending of the book, but I will say that once I hit the last third of the book, I wasn’t willing to put the book down.  Something happens that weirdly, I wasn’t expecting but when I thought about the timeline, I had a duh moment.  I couldn’t stop reading until I found out how things were going to go for these characters, and I have to say, that is something that happens to me with every book Tracey Garvis-Graves writes.  She makes me love and root for the characters in her books so well that I want their stories to continue forever.  If you’re looking for a book that will give you all the feels, definitely check this one out.  Trust me – the story inside is just as beautiful as the cover.
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"The affection I once felt for Annika might have gone dormant for a while, but it roars out of hibernation and makes me feel better about life than I have in a long time. There's something so hopeful about being around her again." -Jonathan

The Girl He Used to Know is a powerful story about life and love with high-functioning autism. Annika always knew her mind worked differently than others' did. She had no expectations for having a best friend, and especially not a boyfriend until she met Jonathan. 

I fell in love with the characters. They were all well-developed, especially Annika. The novel was beautifully written and deserves every bit of praise its getting for bring autism out of the shadows and making it trait to be embraced rather than one to be feared. I loved that Annika didn't end up along because of her developmental disorder, but rather, her quirks made Jonathan love her even more.

I wholeheartedly recommend this book.

Disclaimer: If you are not comfortable with explicit sex scenes, there are two chapters surrounding Annika and Jonathan's intimacy about halfway through the book.
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I would wait forever and forever for any book by Tracey! She doesn’t release a book super often, but they’re always so worth the wait. She has her own brand of romances that leave you with an unforgettable story.

I couldn’t tell you the amount of appreciation I had for this book. I’m a huge fan of second chance romances and Tracey gave us two characters who were different, but brought out the best in each other.

Annika was simply a heroine that so many people misunderstood and refused to try and understand. She has a lot of social hang-ups and there were many situations that she’d avoid like the plague. But Annika was so beautifully written and such an amazing character, it was hard not to love her. She has so much to offer the world, but not many deserved it.

Jonathan is her match, completely. Seeing her for the beautiful person she is inside and out, he was sort of a solid foundation for Annika. Whenever these two were together, all her worries just disappeared. He helped her in so many ways and his patience and understanding was something that I admired so much about him.

Usually I’m not a fan of flashbacks, but Tracey did a phenomenal job intertwining past and present without it being a hindrance. Not once did my wander throughout the story because Tracey’s words kept me glued to every single page. I can’t say this was my favorite of Tracey’s work, but it was definitely different with the topics she decided to write about and packing things in on the emotional scale.

The Girl He Used to Know made my heart so happy. I truly loved and enjoyed this one, Tracey’s books have easily become books that I can never get tired of. With that being said, I’m definitely looking forward to Tracey’s next book!
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Rating: 4.5 stars

Synopsis: Annika and Jonathan meet at the university of Illinois in 1991. Annika struggles with social cues and relationships. They date during their senior year and somehow end up breaking up. Ten years later they run into each other in 2001 in Chicago. Will they be able to have a second chance at their relationship?

What I like about this book:
Multiple POVs ✅ 
Goes back and forth in time ✅ 
Short chapters ✅ 
Heartfelt story ✅ 

What else can you ask for?

Review: I just couldn’t stop reading this book! I was hooked from the beginning and just kept rooting for these characters till the end. Annika and Jonathan’s story is one I won’t forget any time soon. I also loved Annika and Janice’s friendship. Those friendships are hard to come by. The author does an amazing job at conveying Annika’s emotions, anxiety and struggles. I am looking forward to reading more from Tracey Garvis Graves!

This is a story about unconditional love, heartbreak and second chances. 

Favorite quote: “All my life, I’d been waiting for someone I could be myself with. It had never occurred to me that I could be that person for someone else. His words choked me up and made me feel like crying.”

Thank you Netgalley and St.Martins Press for the advance copy in exchange of an honest review!
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As always with Tracey's stories I loved the writing and the character development so much. This was light and compelling, a fantastic read even though I felt like the ending was rushed.
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" All my life, I'd been waiting for someone I could be mylself with. It had never occured to me that I could be that person for someone else."

Annika has always felt a fish out of water, avoiding social interactions as much as she can but when she begins to study at university her life changes in different ways that will challenge her to discover and face totally new situations. Starting with her roommate who understands her like no one, past her fellows at the chess club and culminating with Jonathan.

Jonathan is fascinated by the different girl and does everything to get close to her and gain her confidence, even though each encounter is a greater challenge than he imagined. She understands him as no one else has and the love between them blooms in a beautiful and gentle way.

Their romance is the kind that makes us sigh with every touch, every gesture, every shared moment and every pain that comes. It was beautiful to follow the interactions between them and between them and people around them and it was exciting to follow this journey of love and achievements.

Narrated in the first person alternately between the protagonists, between past and present, gradually the motives for their behavior is unfolding in a linear and constant rhythm.

It amazed me how the writer chose to show the connection and the strength between them more towards the end of the book and how to show the extraordinary strength of Annika and were details like this  made me perfectly understand the choice of the cover and the title, a work to deal with open and tight heart with a good box of tissues on the side.
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What did I like about this book? Everything........I loved every single thing about this book! This book is about a love story. Not your typical love story but a deep unconditional love that only comes around once in a lifetime. The type of love that happens when you are aware of the faults, the little quirks that a person has but you just don't care. In fact, you love them even more so for them.

As we got to know Annika and Jonathan it became clear that they were not your normal college sweethearts. As their relationship grew, I did not realize how invested I was becoming until they split apart, for ten whole years! As they moved on in their life, I wondered if they still had a place in their lives for each other. Is it possible to rekindle that deep love that they had or did it never really go away?

 I loved both Annika and Jonathan, they were both truly good people with gentle souls. In a world that can be cruel, these two give you hope that there is still good in the world. When Annika expressed her love of all creatures and literally jumped out of the car to rescue one, I wanted to high five her and hug her. She is my kind of girl!


I don't often have the emotional reaction I did after finishing this book. It had such a profound effect on me that I just sat there to process it. I found myself thinking, okay so the book is over, now what? It tugged at my heartstrings in a way that not many books are able to. How have I not read this author's other books, I am not quite sure. I can tell you I won't make that mistake again. I can't recommend this book enough.
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4.5 Stars 
“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?” 

*graphic -bookstagram*

I love a unique book with unique characters, and Tracey Garvis Graves delivered that with The Girl He Used To Know . Set in 1991 and 2001, we meet Annika and Jonathan as they bump into each other in a grocery store in Chicago after a ten-year separation.

"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."

Told in alternating POV in both past and present, we are witness to their initial love in college. Annika, though they don’t say it initially, (It’s 1991), is on the autism spectrum. She is pretty but painfully socially awkward and prefers books and chess to people. At times she is like a child, sweet-natured and naive about other’s intentions. She lucked out in college and got a fantastic roommate, Janice, who took her under her wing, (I LOVED Janice!) and convinced her to go to a chess club meeting. There, she met Jonathan.

“Are you going to kiss me?” 
He laughed. “I was planning on it, yes.” 
“Okay. I’m ready.” 

Jonathan realized she wasn’t easy to date, but to him, she was worth it. Her quirks, though at times frustrating, were the very things that made her who she is, and what he loved about her. But the two broke up, and we aren’t privy to why for a while. We just know that it was her fault, so when they reunite, they are both struggling with the past.

"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."

My favorite part of the Girl He Used To Know was being in Annika's head and seeing the struggles she has to fit in.
“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?”

*Quote graphic*

The story was a bit slow and introspective at first, but it totally worked for me. I loved seeing how a relationship progresses when one person has challenges to overcome. I liked how she was so worried about being the right person for him, that she never considered he loved her the way she was.

"All my life, I’d been waiting for someone I could be myself with. It had never occurred to me that I could be that person for someone else."

The last 20% almost felt like a different book. We lose a lot of Jonathan’s POV, and it was almost too big for the story. I feel like maybe it wasn’t necessary for this story, though it brought out every single emotion possible.

Likes: 
•I loved Annika. Her realness, her flaws, her insecurities, her bluntness and her inability to see social cues. 
•Her best friend Janice was almost too good to be true. She made Annika’s square peg fit into a round hole. 
•It was so different from your typical romance. 
•Jonathan always seemed to know what she needed and delivered for the most part. 
•I loved how it was more about Annika’s journey than the romance. 
•So well written. 
•Brings out every emotion. 
•I loved how the author brought up the difficulties in navigating life on the spectrum, from the danger of not being able to read people’s motives, to reading and imitating others for social cues and fitting into society in general. 

Dislikes: 
•While I loved Jonathan and Annika’s college romance so much, the “present day” romance didn’t measure up. I almost felt like he was settling for her. 
•It was a little slow until the last 20%, then it felt a little rushed! lol 
•Though I loved it, I’m not sure the big drama at the end was really necessary for the story, it was almost too big a climax for such an introspective book. 
•Needed an epilogue. 

The Down & Dirty: 
A unique combination of Women’s Fiction and Romance, The Girl He Used To Know by Tracey Garvis Graves is special and memorable. It’s so refreshing to read about differently-abled characters and the daily struggles they endure being different. I absolutely loved being in Annika’s head. I enjoyed seeing the struggles in keeping a relationship going with someone that doesn’t always react the way you’d expect. The end was fast-paced and almost felt like it didn’t go with the story. While I still enjoyed the emotions it brought out, I’m not sure it was really necessary for the story, and it felt very similar to another story I read recently. It dulled the uniqueness of the rest of the book. What would have brought it back, however, would have been an epilogue, bringing back the quiet awkwardness of the couple, which is really the heart of the story. Despite a few niggling things, all-in-all, I HIGHLY recommend The Girl He Used To Know by Tracey Garvis Graves, it was a highly unique and meaningful read that I will remember for a long time.


Rating: 4.5 Stars, 2.5 Heat
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