Title: Before We Were Strangers
Author: Renée Carlino
Publisher: Atria Books
Release Date: August 18, 2015
Source: ARC from Publisher
From the USA TODAY bestselling author of Sweet Thing and Nowhere But Here comes a love story about a Craigslist “missed connection” post that gives two people a second chance at love fifteen years after they were separated in new York City.To the Green-Eyed Lovebird:We met fifteen years ago, almost to the day, when I moved my stuff into the NYU dorm room next to yours at Senior House.You called us fast friends. I like to think it was more.We lived on nothing but the excitement of finding ourselves through music (you were obsessed with Jeff Buckley), photography (I couldn’t stop taking pictures of you), hanging out in Washington Square Park, and all the weird things we did to make money. I learned more about myself that year than any other.Yet, somehow, it all fell apart. We lost touch the summer after graduation when I went to South America to work for National Geographic. When I came back, you were gone. A part of me still wonders if I pushed you too hard after the wedding…I didn’t see you again until a month ago. It was a Wednesday. You were rocking back on your heels, balancing on that thick yellow line that runs along the subway platform, waiting for the F train. I didn’t know it was you until it was too late, and then you were gone. Again. You said my name; I saw it on your lips. It died to will the train to stop, just so I could say hello.After seeing you, all of the youthful feelings and memories came flooding back to me, and now I’ve spent the better part of a month wondering what your life is like. I might be totally out of my mind, but would you like to get a drink with me and catch up on the last decade and a half?M
Despite owning two of her books and having heard nothing but good things about them, I hadn’t yet read any of Renée Caroline’s books. But I was curious about Before We Were Strangers and its premise. And this book did not disappoint in the least.
Fifteen years ago, Matt and Grace met, became friends and fell in love. For a year, they were inseparable, spending every minute they could together. Playing music, taking pictures, and enjoying life in New York City. But after a year, it all fell apart and Matt and Grace lost touch. But a chance sighting on a subway platform brings back feelings both of them had long thought had been buried. A lot can happen in fifteen years, and this could be Matt and Grace’s second chance at love.
Before We Were Strangers is the first of Renée Carlino’s books that I’ve read, but it certainly won’t be the last. When I first heard about the premise for this one, I was very curious about what the story would end up being. I wanted to know more about this story about two people who reconnect after fifteen years thanks to a missed connection post. And I love a good second chance romance story. Basically, it was like Before We Were Strangers was calling out my name and I had no choice but to read it. And this story, guys. I loved the way it was told, how I got to see Matt and Grace falling in love at 22 just like I got to see them reconnecting when they were 36. And I honestly didn’t think this story would affect me as much as it did. I expected romance, and lots of it, considering what the story is. And I saw revelations coming long before they were revealed, but they still hit me right where it hurts. There were tears involved. Lots of them. And by the time I finished reading Before We Were Strangers, I was basically a puddle of feelings and tears.
Because of the way the story was told, it was like I got two couples for the price of one: Matt and Grace as college seniors, and Matt and Grace as 36-year-olds. And actually, it’s almost like I got to see three versions of them, because the story went from the present to the past and back to the present. Does what I’m saying even make sense? Hopefully it does. This is all to say that I loved seeing who these two people were as young adults who were trying to find their way in the world. And how, finding each other again once they were older, was almost like they were brought back to life, like they were finally living the life they had hoped to be living. Basically, there wasn’t a single moment in Before We Were Strangers when I wasn’t rooting for Matt and Grace, whether that was in the late 90s or in the present day. I wanted these two people to be together and I loved seeing them together. And they were absolutely responsible for a lot of the crying I did while reading.
Renée Carlino’s Before We Were Strangers was a beautiful story of second chance romance. It made me laugh, it made me cry, and most of all I loved every single page I read. And those other Renée Carlino books sitting on shelves? They are absolutely getting read.