Wednesday, May 22, 2019

The Girl He Used to Know; Tracey Garvis Graves

AUTHOR:  Tracey Garvis Graves
PUBLISHER:  St. Martin's Press
PUB. YEAR: 2019
SETTING:  Illinois
FORMAT:  - library print (291pp)
RATING - 4.5/5

Second chance romance stories are not the kind of story that normally appeals to me but, this one was a winner. I sat down, it pulled me in and, I read it in one sitting.

Annika Rose is a quirky young woman who has always struggle to fit in.  It's evident that she is somewhere on the autism spectrum: loud noises, strong smells, uncomfortable clothes, debilitating shyness and social situations are things she finds hard to deal with.  

Annika - "simply preferred the company of animals over most humans, the soulful look in their eyes as they learned to trust me sustained me more than any social situation ever would."

In 1991 Annika attended the University of Illinois and with encouragement from her friend Janice, she decided to join the chess club, something she was good at.  Her father taught her to play at age 7 to help her build confidence and deal with her shyness.  It's there, playing chess, where she meets Jonathan, a kind-hearted guy who patient enough to bring Annika out of her shell.  After college they go their separate ways, he off to NYC with a job on Wall Street and she in her dream job as a librarian at the Harold Washington Library.

Annika - "If there was one thing I loved almost as much as animals, it was books.  Reading transported me to exotic locales, fascinating periods in history and worlds that were vastly different from my own."

Now in 2001 (where the story begins) the two run into each other at a grocery store. She's living the safe, comfortable life as a librarian she wanted and Jonathan is back in Illinois. He was injured in the 9/11 attacks in NYC, now newly divorced and looking for a fresh start.

Even though it's easy to see where this story was headed, it was such an endearing read and I couldn't wait to see it play out. I liked the back and forth backstory from their college days to 2001 when they reconnected.  The first person POV worked well, making it easy feel for Annika, her social struggles and encounters with being teased and bullied. If you are in the mood for a feel-good read, be sure to try this one.

The (2) quotes I shared  reminded me of why I love animals and books so much.


  1. I think I have this one and will try to get to it soon since I think we have similar taste in books.

  2. I need to add this one to my list!

  3. Terrific review, it sounds interesting.

  4. I agree with your review. I don't usually read romance books/love stories any more but this one was getting a lot of buzz so I tried it. I really liked it, and it has stuck with me. Highly recommend!

  5. It sounds lovely and absorbing. How did you come to read it?

  6. Nice to read a warm, real love book for a change without too much mishap and harshness.

  7. This sounds really good. I'll look for a copy.

  8. I'm looking forward to this one!

  9. This sounds like a book I'd truly enjoy reading, with my dog at my side. Wonderful review, Diane! :)

  10. I received a copy o f this one and now I am eager to read it. I really have to sit down and evaluate my print stack of review copies. I have my electronic ones all sorted by pub date but my print copies are out of control and all over. I don't usually receive so many.


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