Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
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Annika (rhymes with Monica) Rose is an English major at the University of Illinois. Anxious in social situations where she finds most people's behavior confusing, she'd rather be surrounded by the order and discipline of books or the quiet solitude of playing chess.
Jonathan Hoffman joined the chess club and lost his first game--and his heart--to the shy and awkward, yet brilliant and beautiful Annika. He admires her ability to be true to herself, quirks and all, and accepts the challenges involved in pursuing a relationship with her. Jonathan and Annika bring out the best in each other, finding the confidence and courage within themselves to plan a future together. What follows is a tumultuous yet tender love affair that withstands everything except the unforeseen tragedy that forces them apart, shattering their connection and leaving them to navigate their lives alone.
Now, a decade later, fate reunites Annika and Jonathan in Chicago. She's living the life she wanted as a librarian. He's a Wall Street whiz, recovering from a divorce and seeking a fresh start. The attraction and strong feelings they once shared are instantly rekindled, but until they confront the fears and anxieties that drove them apart, their second chance will end before it truly begins.
I was provided a review copy by St. Martin's Press; this did not influence my opinion of the book.
❝You’re like the ketchup in my life,❞ I’d told Jonathan one night on the phone, and he laughed.
❝I don’t know what that means, exactly, but if it makes you happy, I’m honored to be your condiment.❞
What a beautiful story!
After a horrific experience in middle school, Annika Rose’s parents decide homeschooling was best for her. But when it came time to go to college, Annika’s parents encouraged her to leave home and explore her independence. It wasn’t long before she started feeling over stimulated, oversocialized and completely overwhelmed and wanted to go home. Fortunately for her, she had an incredibly compassionate and empathetic roommate who took her under her wing. She helped guide her and taught her how to navigate life. Janice refused to let Annika give up, she challenged her at every turn and provided her with something Annika never had, a true friend. It was when Janice introduced her to the chess club, that the beautiful and smart Annika learned to trust others and began to see there were people who could accept her as she was.
Watching Annika blossom from a young woman who struggled daily to survive in social situations, to a confident woman who learned social cues and gained an understanding of what other people are thinking and feeling, was truly beautiful to watch.
❝Do you want to go out with me Friday night?❞
❝Go out with you where?❞ I asked
❝On a date. We can go wherever you want.❞
❝Why would you want to do that?❞ Why would anyone?
❝Because I think you’re really pretty, and I like you.❞ When I didn’t say anything, he dropped my hand and shoved his into his pockets. ❝I feel like I can be myself with you.❞
Jonathan attends the same university as Annika and was also a member of the chess club. After college, he planned to move to New York and get a job on Wall Street. Around Annika, he found that he could be himself, without pretense. He enjoyed Annika’s quirks and the unapologetic way in which she lived her life. She said what was on her mind and did what she wanted. Jonathan was refreshingly honest and utterly charming. His patience was admirable and his love unconditional.
While reading, I want to experience what the characters experience. I want to laugh with them and cry with and for them. While reading The Girl He Used To Know, there were times that I felt the story was being told to me rather than letting me experience it. For example, with the passages between dialogue, the author does a wonderful job telling the reader what each character is thinking, I just wished I had been able to feel what they were feeling. Nonetheless, the author’s strong storytelling and character development carried me through to the end where the true magic of this story unfolds.
THE GIRL HE USED TO KNOW is a beautiful second-chance romance, that encourages readers to discover their own power, accept each other’s differences, and love unconditionally!