The Girl He Used to Know by Tracey Garvis Graves follows Annika and Johnathan. They reconnect when out at a grocery store after being apart for 10 years. It's clear from the beginning the two have a shared tragedy in the past but the attraction is still there and they tentatively decide to meet for coffee. The novel weaves back and forth through time and POV between their years in college and then flashing forward to present day.
As the story flashes back, Annika has always known she was different. She processes emotions differently, is incredibly sensitive to textures, loud noises and large groups of people. She was homeschooled her entire life until her parents sent her to college. She was on the verge of dropping out when she found the chess club. And then at the chess club she found Johnathan.
Johnathan seems to understand her in ways no one else ever has. He's patient, kind and expresses an interest in her while they are at school. They begin a relationship and all is going well until they experience a heartbreaking and defining moment in their relationship that tears them apart. Annika knows she not the same girl she was in college anymore but can these two make it work the second time around?..
I really loved this one. The book follows their relationship but really it’s Annika’s story. The story alludes to Annika having some type of high-functioning autism spectrum disorder although she is never initially diagnosed. I liked the alternating POV and being able to see events unfold through both of their eyes. I felt every emotion right along with Annika as she navigated her place in this world. And I loved seeing her transformation from college student into adulthood. For fans of On the Island, Eleanor and The Kiss Quotient, you’ll love this one just as much!
Thanks to St. Martin's Press for sending me a copy of this one to review! All opinions are my own!