(Website, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads)Published by St. Martin's Press on April 2nd 2019
Genres: Contemporary, Fiction, Romance, Women
Annika (rhymes with Monica) Rose is an English major at the University of Illinois. Anxious in social situations where she finds most people's behavior confusing, she'd rather be surrounded by the order and discipline of books or the quiet solitude of playing chess.
Jonathan Hoffman joined the chess club and lost his first game—and his heart—to the shy and awkward, yet brilliant and beautiful Annika. He admires her ability to be true to herself, quirks and all, and accepts the challenges involved in pursuing a relationship with her.
Jonathan and Annika bring out the best in each other, finding the confidence and courage within themselves to plan a future together. What follows is a tumultuous yet tender love affair that withstands everything except the unforeseen tragedy that forces them apart, shattering their connection and leaving them to navigate their lives alone.
Now, a decade later, fate reunites Annika and Jonathan in Chicago. She's living the life she wanted as a librarian. He's a Wall Street whiz, recovering from a divorce and seeking a fresh start. The attraction and strong feelings they once shared are instantly rekindled, but until they confront the fears and anxieties that drove them apart, their second chance will end before it truly begins.
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.
Thank you to the publisher for providing a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.