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Ratings and Book Reviews (10 21 star ratings
10 reviews
)

Overall rating

4.7 out of 5
21
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  • 1 person found this review helpful

    1 people found this review helpful

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    Wonderful and surprising!

    This book was just wonderful! I went into this book rather blindly, having never read any of the author's prior work or knowing what this story was about. I was pleasantly surprised as soon as I started reading. This book grabbed my attention right away and never let go. I was captivated by Annika and Jonathan and wanted more than anything to see good things happen for them. I had an absolutely fabulous time with this book. Annika has trouble in many social situations. She has a hard time knowing what she should say and do in situations and puts little thought into her appearance. Crowds and a lot of noise bother her so she tries to avoid certain situations. She has a really hard time making friends and has led a rather solitary life. She does enjoy books and is really good at chess. Jonathan meets Annika though chess at college. He does see that Annika is a bit different in some ways but those differences don't bother him. He sees the goodness and caring in her and somehow seems to know how to be what she needs. I loved Jonathan and I also loved seeing Annika when she was with him. They just seemed to fit together perfectly. This book is told from both Jonathan and Annika's point of view during their college years and 10 years later when they meet up again. I liked the way that the story was laid out because it allowed the reader to slowly learn what went wrong as they were reconnecting. I also thought that using two points of view to tell the story was very powerful. It was really important to see how both Jonathan and Annika saw the events in their lives. Just when I thought I knew exactly where this book was going. Boom. I was wrong. I love it when a book surprises me and this one did just that in a spectacular fashion. As I neared the end of this book, I found myself holding my breath in anticipation of what would happen next. I think that the direction the story ended up going really did a great job in illustrating Annika's growth throughout the book. I would highly recommend this book to others. This was a story that surprised me, opened my eyes, and touched my heart. I hope to read more of this author's work very soon. I received a review copy of this book from St. Martin's Press.
  • 1 person found this review helpful

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    Moving

    Annika and Jonathan were characters I couldn’t help but love. They meet in college in the early 1990s and their story travels back and forth from there to the present days of 2001. Annika felt like something was wrong with her for most of her life. She would get easily frustrated and agitated. Any change in her daily routine would throw her for a loop. Her college roommate, Janice, helped her with her daily struggles and problems. She met Jonathan at her chess club and he partnered with her every week. Their relationship was one that was handled carefully and slowly. These two people were her lifelines in her college years. The progression of the story and the characters themselves had me mesmerized and reading as fast as I could. The romance was written in a sweet caring way with a few tears here and there. Some of the scenes were a little more graphic than I’m used to reading but overall it was a well written story that I personally think is worth a second read. I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher and was not required to write a review positive or otherwise.
  • 1 person found this review helpful

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    Loved everything but the ending

    What a moving, emotional, and beautiful story! I’m not sure what exactly I was expecting when I began this book but I promise you, it was far more than anything I could have dreamed. Ten years ago Annika was finally finding a way to live her life as normally as possible. It wasn’t perfect by everyone else’s standards, but with the help of her roommate she began to acclimate to a world she was unprepared for. Having been the subject of bullying and emotional taunts, even from those she thought she could trust, she finds it difficult to rely on her own impressions of the people around her. Namely, Jonathan who has insinuated himself first into her chess club and now into her life. Jonathan was everything sweet and kind, patient and loving and exactly what Annika needed. He fights with a gentle ferocity to get through to her and is rewarded with her heart. But when the unthinkable happens and Annika falls into a dark place, he is left with his own broken dreams. This story was so incredibly moving. So much so that I can’t find the words to adequately describe it. The author takes us through this couple’s first meeting to their reunion years later with all the angst and heartache along the way. I smiled, I winced, I laughed and I cried over the journey Annika had to survive. There wasn’t a single page that I didn’t feel some type of emotion. This story is just layer upon layer of emotions. From Annika’s struggles to fit in, to accepting Jonathan into her life, to this ending that was so very shocking and gut clinching, I was a mixed ball of anxiety. I don’t want to give anything away because getting to know these characters is all part of the experience but watching this heroine evolve is one of the most beautiful stories I’ve read in a very long time. While I absolutely loved this book, I was very disappointed at its abrupt ending. It looks and feels like a happy ever after even while it doesn’t. I desperately needed an epilogue. I need to know that everything really is alright. For the hard fist that landed in my chest at the conclusion, I have to deduct a star. Perhaps if the author releases a bonus chapter/epilogue I may revise it, but until then I will be unhappy with the ending of a story that was wonderful until that point. I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book provided by NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
  • 0 person found this review helpful

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    Sweet, but slightly spoiled

    The book overall was a nice read. I enjoyed the reading the story from the two perspectives, and there were many sweet moments as the relationship was revealed. My only gripe is that, while there were already predictable elements to the story (didn’t mind that), the Acknowledgments at the BEGINNING of the book gave away a MAJOR plot line to the story. I’m not sure if it was intentional... but it definitely coloured how I looked at the story from the start. I would have preferred to keep the “surprise” at bit longer. Enjoyable, overall.
  • 0 person found this review helpful

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    4.5 stars: Original, heartbreaking, and hopeful.

    Tracey Garvis Graves is one of my favorite authors. I fell in love with her story-telling abilities when I first read On the Island. So any book by her is a must-read for me. The Girl He Used to Know is a beautiful second-chance romance about two amazing characters that find and elevate each other for the better. Annika is a unique and amazing person, and there were a couple of scenes that broke my heart. Jonathan, who is a great guy, learns quickly how to socialize and put her at ease. Of course they both aren't perfect, and unintentionally they hurt the other. I will not really go into the plot because the synopsis of this book is perfect in my opinion. I also think you should just dive in blind and just experience the beautiful love between these great characters. "Life isn't easy for anyone. We all have challenges. We all face adversity. It's how we overcome it that makes us who we are." I just loved that the author took her time including flashbacks to tell how these to met and fell in love. I was glad that the flashbacks weren't overwhelming or take over the whole story. Because I do have a love/hate relationship with flashbacks. Sometimes it can be a bit too much, but that wasn't the case for this book. The individual character development was really good, and you could really see a growth, especially in Annika. The last quarter of the book was very emotional, and I was tense and on the edge of my seat. It was such an emotional roller coaster for me. I honestly wouldn't change anything about this book, but I really would've loved an epilogue. I felt like this book needed one. I just wasn't ready to say goodbye and I wanted to see more of Annika and Jonathan.
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