Before We Were Strangers by Renée Carlino | ARC Review

August 3, 2015 | Posted by Genesis in Book Reviews | 14 Comments

This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.
Before We Were Strangers by Renée Carlino | ARC ReviewBefore We Were Strangers
by Renée Carlino
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Publication Date: August 4, 2015 by Atria Books
Format: eARC
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4.5 Stars
Source: Publisher via Netgalley

During their senior year of college, in an NYU dorm tucked into the heart of the East Village, Grace and Matt struck up a friendship over Jeff Buckley, Pearl Jam, and the Ramones. She was going to be a world-class cellist and he was going to be a famous photographer, their paths destined to diverge after graduation.

Even after an afternoon pub crawl ended in their drunken, spontaneous wedding, their visions for the future never overlapped enough for them to be together. The summer after college, he left his “ex-wife” on good terms and went to Brazil to work for National Geographic. They vowed to stay in touch and see each other soon.

They never did.

Fifteen years later, back in New York City, Matt sees Grace as she boards the J train. They’re both different in a hundred ways, and yet they’re still the same. But just as they recognize each other, just as he understands what he left behind all those years ago, the train pulls away. His only recourse is to send a missed connections letter out in the world, and hope she remembers where to look.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

late chat with gen

I will start off by saying that I wasn’t expecting this to be as good as it was. I haven’t read anything by Renée Carlino so I didn’t know what to expect but this was not it. I was pleasantly surprised because I ended up adoring this book, adding it to my 2015 favorites and to my wish list.

I’m adoring this book too much, like Belle is adoring her book.

This story was told in dual points of views, both set in present and past. I enjoyed reading about Matt’s and Grace’s past: when they met, their time in college, their friendship and lastly, what drove them apart. Their friendship was instantaneous, they clicked immediately and I loved reading how close they were, how much they trusted one another. Fast-forward to the present and they aren’t close. They don’t know anything about each other or where they are until one day, they see each other for one second and that’s all it takes for all the memories to come rushing back full force. I felt for both of these characters because life dealt them a very ugly card, which lead to their separation.

The friendship was immediate but the romance took time to build, which made it all the more realistic. We have Matt who comes from a wealthy father and Grace who comes from a very poor family that has left her to deal with life on her own. What I liked about this story was that nothing was rushed. Everything was set to happen on it’s own as it would happen in real life. Matt and Grace are both very determined characters for what they want and they go for it. They deal with so many things that they are made to feel so real to the reader and it’s easy to connect with them.

I was in the middle of the city I loved, back in her arms again, but we were strangers. I was still hanging on to the past and I didn’t know why.

I’m glad Matt kept thinking of the past because this drove him to figure out why Grace and him had fallen out and his answer was a bit surprising. Not only that, Matt gets a surprise that he wasn’t expecting (I was in between of expecting it and not) and he was crying while I was trying to hold back my tears because my emotions were going crazy. Seriously, I think that specific part made it more emotional to me. I was glad to see that these characters had grown and matured so much over the years (15 years!) and they were mature of the situation and everything that they were dealing with. The only downfall for me was Grace’s best friend, Tati. I liked her but I just disagreed with her on so many things and she would frustrate me a bit sometimes but she also did some character development in the story and I ended up liking her more.

When I finished this book, I just stood there with a grin on my face because the last chapter has another point of view that had me so happy and emotional. I wanted more of this book. I didn’t want to say goodbye to the characters that really grew on me. I can see myself re-reading this book in the future, which is why I need to buy it as soon as it comes out in paperback!

How am I supposed to live now that this book ended?

About Renée Carlino

Renée Carlino is the author of Sweet Thing, Nowhere But Here, After the Rain, and Before We Were Strangers. 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 book, she likes to spend her time reading, going to concerts, and eating dark chocolate.

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14 responses to “Before We Were Strangers by Renée Carlino | ARC Review

    • It’s so good! I wasn’t going to read it so soon but I saw you talking about it on IG and I was like “I need it now” haha. I’m glad I read it because it’s a favorite. I want to buy the copy!

  1. I’m so pumped for this book! The cover hooked me but the synopsis sold me on a book that I need to get. It sounds like such a good book. I’ve only started reading my first Renée Carlino book, Sweet Thing, and am only about 11 pages in (lol) so I’m hoping I enjoy it. I can’t wait to see what happens in BWWS! I’m (hopefully) ready for the feels. Awesome review 🙂

    Sarah @ Words with Sarah recently posted: The Overly Ambitious August TBR
    • Omg yes! The cover is mentioned in the story, kind of and I realized it when I finished the book. Got me even more emotional haha It’s such a cute and emotional story. I hope you enjoy it if you give it a chance 🙂

  2. Oh gosh! This sounds amazing, Genesis! The more I read about this book, the more I want it. I love friends to more romances and this sounds really good.
    I also like that it’s told in past and present. I can’t wait to get a copy for myself.
    I’m so happy you loved this one and it was such an emotional book for you! 🙂
    Wonderful review as always!

    Nick @ Nick's Book Blog recently posted: Review : The Veil by Chloe Neill
  3. […] Gen: Before We Were Strangers is one of my 2015 favorites. It’s even in the top 5 of those fave because it was compelling, beautiful, captivating, engaging and THE FEELS! Gaby: It’s no secret that I love this book. I finished this book around 2am and I don’t even care, it was totally worth it. […]

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