Review: Before we were strangers by Renée Carlino

Before we were strangers by Renée Carlino

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 rating:

I don't think I'd ever be able to say just how much I love this book. I wanna tell everything that makes it amazing and yet I wanna keep it to myself, because really it's something that should be experienced the first time you read just like I did, I want that for everyone. 

The first part of the book takes place in the present, you just get a glimpse of Matt's life, Grace as she drives away and Matt trying to somehow find her again. All of this and you have no idea what these two even mean to eachother or why he ran after the train as it pulled away. 
But the next part of the book, or the second movement takes place in the past, you get to see just what these two had been through together and what they meant to eachother. 
After that emotional ride it's back to the present where all you want is just these two back together and hope for the best. But there are some big surprises in store there. 

The way it says "A love/hate/love story" is very fitting to how I felt about Matt. First I loved him and even felt bad for him, but then I actually hated him, but in the end I loved him again once everything was explained. Probably how they also felt about eachother. 

I'll say it again, I so loved loved loved this book! Perfection. I loved the characters, the story, the wrting- EVERYTHING! It's so emotional, in the best way possible. 
When it comes to books I feel like I can easily let a tear or two go when it's an emotional scene, but full on sobbing or heavy crying doesn't happen a lot. Sobbing has happened one with another book and the full on heavy crying happened with this one- multiple times. It was a case where even after finishing I could suddenly think about it and want to cry, remembering what had happened. There was both sad crying and happy crying.
The dual POV really offers a great insight into them both, although almost weird not really knowing Grace at first- actually you get to know her young self before her older self. 
I fell in love with this book after reading the synopsis, which is Matt's "letter" to try and find Grace again, but after reading the actual book I am in a full on love affair with it. 
Get ready for an amotional ride with this one, but it's really worth it. 


Renée Carlino is a screenwriter and bestselling author of romantic women's novels and new adult fiction. 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.


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