Author: Renee Carlino
Publisher: Atria Books
Genre: Fiction, Contemporary Romance
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?
The moment I read this blurb, I was smitten! I instantly knew I had to read it.
‘Before We Were Strangers’ is a beautiful, warm, feel-good romance novel you would end up going to bed with a happy heart.
Matt and Grace meet each other as students at NYU. They are next door neighbours who become ‘fast friends’. Their story spans for over 15 years following a multiple series of cute little moments. The characters are lovely and engaging and their story is simply a strong reflection of the common untold, unglorified lovestories.
Grace, a music student is a free spirit who never ceases to seize the day and Matt, a talented photography student. He is warm, funny, a subtle representation of a leading male character. I fell in love with him! I was rooting for Matt and Grace throughout the entire read. Plus, the writing style was “so amazing” that it pulled me into their story altogether—I delved deeper right in. Therefore, a massive round of applause for Miss Carlino! 😉
Coming to the story, it spans for more than one and a half decade of Grace and Matt’s life together, parted and then together again. A story about two people who beautifully fall in love and get separated only to find each other again, reconnect and give love a second chance. Déjà vu all over again? 😀
I found the whole plotline to be the usual universal way of how romantic comedies revolve, nevertheless without compromising the delightful sliver of romantic comedies.
Of course, the plot was comprehensible; but then again, I did not expect anything major from it, so it wasn’t a disappointment. It was a thorough delight reading about the two. There were a few bits and pieces which I did not like about this book but they were so minute that it doesn’t even matter. The ending was charming complemented with a tiny surprise that will kind of break your heart but in a good way.
Bottom line I won’t say I loved it but yes, I liked it enough to highly recommend it to y’all. 🙂
The book also shares the POV of both the main characters which I felt add to the story and empathetically narrates the characters’ perspectives.
This was my first Renee Carlino book. I assure you her name is stuck permanently in my head now.
Verdict: With lovable, relatable, strong characters, this book is poignantly written. It beautifully captures the essence of first love, love lost, second chances and that true love has no expiration date.
If you enjoy a good contemporary romance and are looking for new titles, stop your hunt and grab a copy of Before We Were Strangers. Cheers! 😀
And in that moment, you realize how little control you have over your own destiny. From the time you’re born, you have no control; you can’t choose your parents, and, unless you’re suicidal, you can’t choose your death. The only thing you can do is choose the person you love, be kind to others, and make your brutally short stint on earth as pleasant as possible.
Like nothing else in life, sex is perfectly selfless and selfish all at once. Hot and cold, yin and yang, black and white, and all of the shades in between.
The way she could colour a black-and-white photo with her magnetism alone.
I’m really into girls with big platelets.