Review: “Before We Were Strangers” – Renee Carlino

February 4, 2016 Book Review 2

Review: “Before We Were Strangers” – Renee CarlinoBefore We Were Strangers by Renee Carlino
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Published on: August 18th 2015
Published by: Atria Books
Pages: 320
Genre: YA Romance
Format: Paperback

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The Story
 .(summary from Goodreads)

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. I tried 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?


My Thoughts

This was one of my most anticipated books of 2015 … which I forgot to read *hangs head in shame* but FINALLY picked up this year. I’m a BIG fan of second chance romances and the fact that this book was set in both present day and 15 years earlier made me VERY interested in reading it!

I really liked the sound of this one when I saw it on Goodreads, as I said above I am a MASSIVE fan of second chance romances. The initial romance was slow to build (maybe a little too slow) but there were some really sweet moments in there and I did like that it was based on a really strong friendship. I found the second chance romance a little disappointing and not as emotional as I had hoped it would be.

We first meet Matt in the present day and he is not in a happy place. Now, there’s a reason I don’t read a lot of adult fiction, and that’s because I’m not fan of 30-something year old characters with marriage, finance, child etc problems. I am scared of being a grown up so avoid anything that will remind me of all the bad things that come with it! So initially I was worried because this was basically where Matt was at. But then we went back to the past and got to see how Matt ended up where he was in the present day and I did start to sympathies with him.

“It was like the universe was teasing us; we saw each other just a second too late.”

One thing I really liked about Grace was that she was such a contradiction. On the outside she was a confident and free spirited but inside she was vulnerable and insecure. Her families financial situation isn’t the best and through this she shows how selfless she is as she literally gives them everything she has and at times goes without food so they can eat. I didn’t feel like I got to know Grace as well since the dual POV favoured Matt more than Grace, but still I did really like her.

“You were always with me, Grace. I never found a way to let you go.”

It was a ‘nice’ story, and let me be clear when I say it I do mean it in a positive way. I found the book easy to read and once I had picked it up didn’t put it down until I reached the end. But it didn’t make me swoon and my heart wasn’t racing. I didn’t get all emotional over the bad times the characters went through. I just read it from beginning to end and then put it back on my book shelf.


Final Thoughts

It was unique in the way that is was told, but otherwise it was the same type of romance we read about a lot. I liked it and I would definitely say that more people should read it, but if you are anything like me just don’t expect some epic, heart racing romance.

Re-Readability: Possibly

I would recommend this book to fans of: second chance romances, books set in college, books set in the present and past.

Rating Okay.5

Have you read this book yet? What do you think?

What did you think of the theme of the book?

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2 Responses to “Review: “Before We Were Strangers” – Renee Carlino”

  1. Becky @ A Fool's Ingenuity

    I love Renee Carlino books, I’ve only read a couple, but she writes books I tend to enjoy. They may not be my favourite books, but I enjoy them and plan to reread them. I liked the sound of this one, I like second chance romance and I have it on my to buy list for a while now. I know it won’t be a ground breaking book (what romance is?) but I know I will enjoy it. You need those kind of books, though, the enjoyable ones where you know you will love them.

    • Brocs Bookcase

      This was my first Renee Carlino, but I will definitely be reading more in the future. I totally agree with you, we do need these types of books too as sometimes I don’t want anything heavy or overly emotional, I just want something nice and easy that I know I will like. I hope you get round to reading this at some point! 🙂