REVIEW by Lorna: Before We Were Strangers by Renee Carlino (@Renayz , @Mollykatie112)

Before We Were StrangersFrom the USA TODAY bestselling author of Sweet Thing and Nowhere But Herecomes 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?

Before We Were Strangers
by Renee Carlino
n/a; standalone
Contemporary Romance
Atria Books (Imprint of Simon & Schuster)
Publication Date
August 18, 2015
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This book has been on my wish list for awhile and I couldn’t remember why. I read the sample and I was hooked. Second chance romances are sometimes the best kind of romances, in my opinion.
Matt and Grace are seniors in college and next door neighbors in a dorm. Meeting on the first day of the year, they become inseparable in the best friend kind of way. They both want more, Matt in particular, but Grace doesn’t want any complications as she pursues a music career with her cello. On Matt’s part, photography is everything he wants in a career and he’s extremely good at it. They live in New York City and spend their time visiting anything that they can do for free. Matt comes from money, but Grace has sneaky ways at times just to be able to eat. She comes from a big family and sends a big part of her student loan money home. Eventually the two become lovers. But things happened to tear them apart and these two that thought they would always be together, are lost to each other.
My favorite part of the book were the two main characters. The author has fully realized two college students, and later, adults, giving them personalities to relate to. Grace is a free spirit with the quirks that go along with that. Matt has gone against his family in order to become a photographer, but he’s not a quirky person. Grace fascinates him and becomes his muse as far as photography goes.
No love at first sight here. Instead, it’s a slow burn romance and one that the reader is drawn into slowly as well. Perfect pace for this wonderfully moving romance. I found myself enjoying the characters, their back stories, the other people in their lives, and the New York City atmosphere. The story does jump quite a bit into the past and then back into the future. I liked seeing both time periods, the past in particular, and the changes life has brought to these two.
I didn’t cry while reading this, but then I rarely do while reading. But, I wouldn’t doubt that this book will cause some to cry. And that’s because of all the “feels” it causes for the reader. Romance, good characters,heartfelt moments, and an interesting second chance premise, made this book one of my favorite romances that I read in 2015.
Highly recommended to adult contemporary romance fans.
Lorna Finished
The review copy of this book was purchased by the reviewer.

About Renee Carlino

Renee CarlinoRenée Carlino is a screenwriter and bestselling author of contemporary women’s novels and new adult fiction. Her books have been featured in national publications, including USA TODAY, Huffington Post, Latina magazine, and Publisher’s Weekly. 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 her next project, she likes to spend her time reading, going to concerts, and eating dark chocolate. Learn more at

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