Release date: April 2, 2019
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Genre: Contemporary Romance
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.
What a unique read this one was! It really wasn’t the story itself that made it so unusual but rather the memorable characters that left such an impression on me. I can never really answer the question, is a plot or the characters more important to you? But after reading this I may have to say great characterization can make or break a book for me.
This is told via two timelines, one back when Annika and Jonathan first meet in college and then ten years later when their paths cross again. You hear from both of them, and while I did truly like Jonathan, Annika was the star of the show for me. She is quirky, beautiful and intelligent and she has major anxiety in social settings, therefore she doesn’t have many close friends. Going to college away from her parents is a huge deal for her and I loved how the author explored her coping mechanisms to just get through a normal day of college. I thought she did an excellent job highlighting Annika’s issues in a really authentic way, it was realistic and truly moving.
I really don’t want to say too much more because I did find this to be slightly predictable and I would hate to ruin things for anyone else. I really enjoyed this second chance romance with diverse characters but I really wish the ending would’ve been handled differently, it was just a little sudden for my liking but overall a sweet read.
The Girl He Used to Know in three words: Unique, Emotional and Compassionate.
Overall rating: 3.5/5
Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.