Before We Were Strangers
by Renee Carlino
Atria Books | 320 pages | ISBN 9781501105777 | August 2015
See more at: Simon & Schuster
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?
Before We Were Strangers is an extraordinary story of second chances that will resonate in your soul, fill your heart and make you believe in the resiliency of love.
Sweet Perfection – those two words embody exactly how I feel about this book. With characters that will latch onto your heart and burrow in your soul, you can’t help but cling to the hope that love is strong enough to overcome anything. Even now, weeks later, I cannot stop thinking about Matt and Grace and the mark they left on my heart.
Their college years were fun and reminiscent of my own carefree college experience. Watching them fall in love was simply beautiful. While I adored the younger version of Matt and Grace, I fell head over heels for their older and wiser characters. I know that we would be fast friends in real life and there is a slight void left in their absence.
I experienced quite the emotional rollercoaster with this book in just the perfect doses to ensure that I will not forget these characters or this story. It’s definitely sitting at the top of my favorite reads for 2015. Though it was my first book from Renee Carlino, I can assure it will not be my last.
*I was provided a complimentary copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Overall Rating: 6 STARS – This book is everything and then some.
Renée Carlino is a screenwriter and bestselling author of romantic women’s novels. She lives in Southern California with her husband, two sons, and their sweet dog June. When she’s not at the beach with her boys or working on her next project, she likes to spend her time reading, going to concerts, and eating dark chocolate.