The Girl He Used to Know by Tracey Garvis Graves
Series: Standalone Novel
Genres: Contemporary 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.
The Girl He Used to Know is so many things, none of which I dare even hint at because readers should go into this book knowing nothing, I believe. Just know that you’ll be taken on an emotional, complicated, richly layered adventure of the heart with Annika and Jonathan and that you’ll come away changed, if not by their love story than certainly by her life story.
Like everything else Tracey Garvis-Graves has ever written, The Girl He Used to Know is beautiful and different, thought-provoking and emotional and it’s so unbelievably romantic. I could not put this book down. I devoured it within a day and I was left reeling when it was over. I will never, ever, ever forget this story.
Jonathan and Annika are two characters that will stay with me always. Annika is a remarkable young woman and the way Jonathan loves her is one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever had the privilege of reading. Their story is rich with heartache but it ABSOLUTELY OVERFLOWS with joy and hope and the most beautiful, honest form of devotion. There truly aren’t even words, not ones I’m capable of putting together anyway, to describe the absolute splendor of the story that unfolds on these pages.
I truly felt like I walked miles in Annika’s shoes, like I could understand her feelings and her fears and her uncertainty and her utter exhaustion as she navigated her world, and it both fascinated me and effected me on a profound level. It speaks to Graves’ remarkable storytelling and character development because I was wholly imbued with emotions I’ve never felt before. I’m not sure I’ve ever read about a character that took me on such a journey, a journey that changed the way I view the world. The Girl He Used to Know is not simply a second chance romance, it’s a poignant story of unconditional love. It’s Annika’s solitary journey of self discovery, self awareness and acceptance. It’s a story of a woman who learns how to be brave and fight for what she loves after a lifetime of feeling trapped by all the fascinating yet restrictive nuances of herself.
The Girl He Used to Know is so many things, none of which I dare even hint at because readers should go into this book knowing nothing, I believe. Just know that you’ll be taken on an emotional, complicated, richly layered adventure of the heart with Annika and Jonathan and that you’ll come away changed, if not by their love story than certainly by her life story. This life affirming, thought provoking, soul searing novel is one I can’t recommend enough. It’s magical and painful and it took my breath away.
About the Author
Tracey Garvis Graves is the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestselling author of contemporary fiction. Her debut novel, On the Island, spent 9 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list, has been translated into thirty-one languages, and is in development with MGM and Temple Hill Productions for a feature film. She is also the author of Uncharted, Covet, Every Time I Think of You, Cherish, Heart-Shaped Hack, White-Hot Hack, and The Girl He Used to Know. She is hard at work on her next book.