Before We Were Strangers by Renee Carlino: Review

Before We Were Strangers by Renee Carlino: ReviewBefore We Were Strangers by Renee Carlino
on August 18th, 2015
Genres: New Adult, Romance
Pages: 320

From the USA TODAY bestselling author of Sweet Thing and Nowhere But Here comes a love story about a Craigslist “missed connection” post that gives two people a second chance at love fifteen years after they were separated in New York City.

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?


Stacia says…

“Poetry in motion- the evidence of life burning well and bright.”

The synopsis for Before We Were Strangers is so unique and interesting, so of course it grabbed my interest right away. What I didn’t expect from this second-chance romance is all the feelings it would bring. This book is sweet, emotional, sad, heartbreaking, at times overwhelming, but most importantly it is an uplifting love story!

“You can’t re-create the first time you promise to love someone or the first time you feel loved by another.”

Before We Were Strangers is told in dual points of view, with Matt and Grace telling the story in the present and then in the past (15 years prior) of how they met and fell in love. I felt the connection between the two of them almost from the beginning. But the beauty of Renee Carlino’s writing, is that their relationship was actually a slow build-up that started with an amazing friendship and then grew into so much more. They fall into this epic love, but unfortunately the timing isn’t right for them and they loose touch.

“Nothing could change what we’d had all those years before, even if the idea of what might’ve been lingered between us.”

What drew me to this book was the letter that Matt writes to try and reconnect with Grace, which is also the synopsis for this book, after being apart for far too long. But that letter ends up meaning so much more. It is so touching and sweet and thank goodness for social media and that this letter is what brings them back to each other. However, 15 years is a long time to be apart and that amount of time brings a lot of change.

This story was so beautifully done. It didn’t feel rushed at all and the overall story is such an emotional loving journey. I not only highly recommend this book, but can’t wait to dive into other books by Renee since this is my first experience with her writing.


About Renee Carlino

Renee’s first friends were the imaginary kind and even though her characters haven’t gone away, thankfully the delusions have. She admits she’s a wildly hopeless romantic and she blames 80’s movies starring Molly Ringwald for that. 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 the next book, she likes to spend her time reading, going to concerts, and eating dark chocolate.