Today Mandie has a review of The Girl He Used to Know by Tracey Garvis Graves. Thanks to Tracy Fenton of Compulsive Readers for inviting us to join the tour and to Trapeze Books for providing the advance copy for review. Here’s what it’s all about:
About the Book
What if you had a second chance at first love?
Annika Rose likes being alone.Available from: Amazon | Kobo | Waterstones | Google Play | Apple Books
She feels lost in social situations, saying the wrong thing or acting the wrong way. She just can’t read people. She prefers the quiet solitude of books or playing chess to being around others. Apart from Jonathan. She liked being around him, but she hasn’t seen him for ten years. Until now that is. And she’s not sure he’ll want to see her again after what happened all those years ago.
Annika Rose likes being alone.
Except that, actually, she doesn’t like being alone at all.
The Girl He Used to Know is an uplifting novel full of surprising revelations that keep you turning the page. Perfect for fans of Jojo Moyes, Gail Honeyman, Jill Santopolo and Sliding Doors.
The Girl He Used to Know follows the lives of Annika Rose and Jonathan Hoffman who reconnect 10 years after the las saw each other in college after a chance meeting in a Deli.
The book is told from the points of view of both Annika and Jonathan and splits between Illinois 1991 when they first meet at college and Chicago 2001. Normally I would find this type of split narrator/timeline a little confusing but this time it seemed to work as you start to understand the relationship between these two people and what makes it different.
Annika has issues with dealing with social situations and can come across as either odd or distant. She has a tendency to say what is on her mind and is not very good at interpreting body language or acceptable behaviour. In the past this has led to her being bullied and ridiculed. Her roommate Janice sees past this and often has her back in situations so that she is able to cope a little bit better. When she meets Jonathan at chess club, he can also see that Annika is someone special and he is able to be himself around her and their relationship develops into something more.
As the book progresses you finally find out the event that split them up but as they grow closer again, they finally deal with the hang-ups from the past and move forward only for a major event to almost rip them apart again.
I have to say that there are times when I envy Annika’s inability to do anything other than say exactly what she thinks. There is nothing malicious in it but its just the way she is. I am not sure I would have wanted to live through the bullying she had just because she was different. We all have times when social situations can be difficult but to believe you are the one that has the problem because that is what everyone tells you must be something else altogether. The fact that both Janice and Jonathan can see past this to the person that Annika really is gives you hope that people can accept differences in others. Jonathan does sometimes get frustrated that Annika doesn’t always express how she feels about him but once he has got that frustration out, instead of taking it out on her, he immediately apologises for it and shows that he is not mad at her and understands it is not her fault.
The author has dealt with issues and situations with a sensitivity that keeps you turning the pages to find out how it ends. I found that I couldn’t put it down and read it from beginning to end in a day. If I had one criticism of the book it was how it ended. For me it felt like it didn’t quite get there…like there was something more that could have been written. Despite this it is still a heart-warming story with characters you can’t help but like.
About the Author
Tracey Garvis-Graves lives in a suburb of Des Moines, Iowa, with her husband, two children, and dog Chloe. She blogs at www.traceygarvisgraves.com, and can also be found on Twitter @tgarvisgraves and Facebook at facebook.com/tgarvisgraves. This is her first novel.
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