Before We Were Strangers

Renee Carlino
Before We Were Strangers
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Atria Books
Release Date
August 2015
Contemporary Romance, New Adult

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?


Book Review by BJ (reviewer)
Aug 26, 2015   [ OFFICIAL REVIEW ]
136 people found the following review helpful
5 "Missed Connections" Stars!

Lovers of first love and "the one that almost got away" themed romances will not want to miss BEFORE WE WERE STRANGERS! This book blew me away, and transported me back to long ago college days and impossible choices between true love and career goals. I was so enthralled with this touching heart wrenching story, and the incredibly well developed characters, that I even found the time to binge read this page turner during a very busy vacation.

Grace was a struggling music student at NYU when she met her next door dorm mate, Matt, a photography transfer student from USC. Although Matt came from a rich family (well at least his father's side, who also were generally disappointed he hadn't followed in the lucrative footsteps of his lawyer father), Grace and Matt bonded over unconventional ways to scrimp and save to make a few bucks while earning their degrees--among other unique friendship overtures. They spent many days with Matt taking pictures of Grace, his first muse, and Grace serenading Matt while she practiced her cello.

Theirs was necessarily a relationship that emerged out of friendship, even as they each wanted more. But what could their future hold following graduation as they pursued their dreams? Perhaps it's just a case of meeting the right person at the wrong time?

Nonetheless their separation was unexpected and as life continued around them, a frequent unsettling question presented itself from time to time: What if? A chance encounter 15 years later may allow them to explore that question. But can you ever go back to that incredible feeling of experiencing love for the first time or are you just doomed to continue failing to recreate that exceptional feeling?

This was my first read by Renee Carlino. Now I can't wait to go back and explore some of her backlist titles!
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