Book Review

Hey, Stranger


“You can’t re-create the first time you promise to love someone or the first time you feel loved by another. You cannot relive the sensation of fear, admiration, self-consciousness, passion, and desire all mixed into one because it never happens twice.”

This is the first time I’ve read a book by Renée Carlino and—gosh darn, I love it!

I had low expectations for this book despite the rave reviews I kept on reading about. What can I say? I haven’t read any of her books before so I was skeptical whether I’m gonna like her writing style or not. Add that to the fact that the characters’ age were twice as mine, I was afraid that I’m gonna feel disconnected. Which is kind of an oxymoron since “feeling” and “disconnection” are opposite things.

My brain is so funny.

Anyway, as I said, I loved this book. I haven’t read many second chance romance type of books but this one was really good. I’ve been feeling kind of skeptic about love (in books, okay?) lately, which is sooo not normal because I’m such a hopeless romantic living vicariously through these literary characters. But Before We Were Strangers managed to make me feel hopeful about love again. I mean, despite the fifteen years of separation these two managed to find their way back into each other’s lives. If that doesn’t make you believe in love, I don’t know what would. Except meeting me, of course he he he bye gosh I’m so embarrassing and unprofessional.

Renée Carlino wrote the story of Grace and Matt, two people who have so much passion inside of them. Art first I wasn’t really feeling it because, yeah, Matt was pretty miserable until he finally saw Grace again. But I wanted to give this a chance because I don’t like not finishing a book. So I read on and then, finally! What I’ve been waiting for was their story in college where they spent a year falling in love.

I loved, loved this part out of everything that happened in this book. I loved how they were genuinely just friends first. I loved the antics they did. I loved how they obviously cared for each other. I loved how their feelings developed over time. As you all know, I absolutely loathe insta-love in books so I was pretty happy with this one. I loved how realistic their situation was—living in New York, in college without money and having dysfunctional family members.

What I didn’t like though, and the reason why I didn’t give this a 5-star rating, was the back and forth decisions that these two lovers did. Before they got separated in college—which inevitably led to their 15-year separation—their relationship was on the rocks because they can’t decide whether they really want to be together despite certain circumstances or not. It happened again when they reunited after 15 years and I was like, um wth? This is your second chance; don’t screw it up by acting like you’re still immature college kids!!! Helloooo?  I really don’t like it when two characters go back and forth with their decisions when it’s obvious what choice they have to make.

But other than that, I really can’t say any bad thing about this book. I really loved this and I wish I could forget the story so that I could read it again and fall in love with it over and over.

Let me know what you thought about this book!


star 5




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