Nice cover. Great story.
THE GIRL HE USED TO KNOW arrived unsolicited from St. Martin’s Press this past week. I read the first few pages and was off and running. I have been really lucky lately with publisher’s sending me great books just because they think I might like them. This one is no exception.
Annika is shopping at her local food market in Chicago one August day. Never suspecting she’d run into her old college flame. But that is exactly what happens. Jonathan and Annika had been involved in a serious relationship, then suddenly they parted. Meeting Jonathan brought back all the memories, both good and bad.
This unique novel is told within a 10-year span. So we go back and forth in time from when they are in college until they both are settled into careers they love in the future.
There is a mystery to the story that I only guessed at. You see, Annika is very beautiful, she’s smart as a whip, and she’s a gentle and kind soul. However, something is not quite right. She might just be on the autism spectrum. And that makes her life socially challenging. She’s so trusting. She was bullied at a young age and her mom pulled her out of public school and began home-schooling. So when she went off to college it was more difficult for to fit in than the average freshman. She almost pulled out before giving it a chance. Thank goodness Janice, her room mate, was an understanding and kind young woman. Without Janice Annika’s life would most certainly have been torture. And then along comes Jonathan who shares her love of chess. This is the perfect opportunity for friendship and what comes after.
So much has been written about autism the past several years. But this is so unique and wonderful. I have a new insight. Being socially inept doesn’t have to mean disaster. But what it does take is being surrounded by a kind and understanding support system Graves shows us just how this can work.
As the book moves to an ending a tragedy occurs that changes everyone in this story. My heart began pounding, and I really started routing for Annika to get through it. Yes, this is a love story. But it’s not a silly romance novel. It’s refreshing. It’s smart. And I’m so glad I’ve discovered a new novelist.
My review copy of THE GIRL HE USED TO KNOW by Tracey Garvis Graves, was sent by St. Martin’s Press in exchange for an honest review. I loved it!