Before We Were Strangers Book Reviews

Renée Carlino

Before We Were Strangers by Renée Carlino Book Summary

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?


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Book Name Before We Were Strangers
Genre Fiction & Literature
Language English
E-Book Size 5.05 MB

Before We Were Strangers (Renée Carlino) Book Reviews 2024

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LOVE IT. Finished it in two days! Love it.

A beautiful love story. A “what if “ for the ages.

Breathtaking. To be able to have read the story and to be able to feel all the emotions that they both went through was just an amazing feeling… This is such a beautiful, breathtaking story, and I am just so in love with everything about it, and so happy that they found each other again What a beautiful daughter she was so full of life and love about her family

Best book. Absolutely incredible read!

So sweet.. I really enjoyed reading this fun, sweet story.

Just Amazing!. I can’t even put into words how good this book is! I read it in two days. I couldn’t put it down. A must read!

radiohead and jeff buckley mentions. i’m a huge music freak so awesome book

So amazing. Loved it , such a beautiful story!! Couldn’t put it down

before we were strangers. LOVED this book. this would be a great movie

Beautiful. Beautiful story

Couldn’t put it down.. I literally finished this book in a few hours. Absolutely wonderful. Full of heat ache, love, and lust. I cried a few times but ended up feeling so happy and wanting more when I was finished. 10/10 would read it again!

Written beautifully. From the writing style to the story itself, read in one day and couldn’t help but remember what my first love was like. Amazing read!

Now this is a romance novel!. Loved and enjoyed everything about this book

Really enjoyed it!!. Excellent writing and solid characters. I also loved the flow of the story. Such a good reading experience!

Top 3. I texted friends that I have a new favorite book, before I even finished. This book warms your heart!

10/10. absolutely loved it 😍

Steamy. It was a fun romance with a great twist! However, the ending felt abrupt to me!

I SOBBED. PLEASE READ THIS BEAUTIFUL STORY!. I honestly don’t even know where or how to to start in attempt to give this book a proper review. It was so well written, the emotion, the connection between the characters (and their development!!) was incredible. This author blew me away with her prose and the way she detailed and elaborated on what they were feeling and what it was like around them. The way she ripped open my imagination with her story truly left me speechless, this book gutted me. Seriously brought such intense emotions in me it felt like I was right there with Matty and Gracie. I won’t spoil anything, but if you feel like having your heart squeezed so tight you feel like the pressure may kill you, then read this book. I promise towards the end your heart will fall and then soar right through the pages.

Perfect. I cried like a baby. Loved every chapter

10/10. Loved the book, brought up some old feelings from my past.

I read in one sitting. I saw this book on tiktok and I have been in a reading slump so I impulsively bought it and I was not disappointed. I started reading at 9:00 right before bed and I stayed up until 1 am to finish it because I couldn’t put it down. I fell in love with the characters and I’m a sucker for first love novels. Highly recommend.

So many emotions.... I genuinely did not know how this book was going to end and that’s been rare for me lately. I think the characters were written well and the switch of perspectives were perfect because we are as much in the dark as they are and then we are able to piece it together and kind of understand how they were feeling in that time!

Stunning. This book had me a chokehold. Such a beautiful love story between lost connections and reliving some of the most beautiful moments of your life. I loved this story.

Amazing. Absolutely no words to describe, just a whirlwind of emotions

Loved this book!. I didn’t want it to end! Loved every second of it! A must read.

One I’ll remember. The writing was wonderful and it was an easy read. If you have ever experienced having a true first love and having fate split you apart, this book will resonate. I almost wish I hadn’t read it - not because it wasn’t great but because my own heart ached as I read it.

So good!. I can’t recommend this book enough! Such a touching story. Will make you tear up for sure!

Couldn’t put it down!. Slow to begin but wow what an amazing story!

A Captivating Love Story from Start to Finish. I finished this book in 12 hours, it was that beautiful. I cried throughout the second half of the book, feeling everything that the main characters were going through. It is a story that reminds us that the universe has a plan, and love always wins. The author writes in such great detail that you feel like a fly on the wall. I’ve already added several more of her books to my reading list! Don’t miss out of this one.

Great. Great book!

First loves and second chances. Actual Rating 4.5 stars Before We Were Strangers is a novel about the importance of timing, first loves, and second chances. The dual POV and weaving of past and present really made this a captivating and entertaining read. I loved Matt and Grace, both individually and together. Their relationship felt natural and I really enjoyed watching it grow and unfold. The chapters in the past were definitely my favorite, but I also liked how the present chapters showed how each character had grown and been shaped by their experiences. They each had never truly let the other go and that made the story both heartwarming and heartbreaking at the same time. I did feel that the present chapters felt a little rushed, but that's probably because I was dying for them to just get back together already! *SPOILER* The only reason this isn't a 5 star read for me is that the break-up, miscommunications, and just plain giving up didn't sit right with me. I understand that the relationship was relatively new and that this could lead to insecurities about the future, but I felt that the past chapters showed so clearly how much these 2 loved each other that it seemed very out of character to have them be OK with ending things so poorly. It was a different time, without the conveniences of social media, but both had the ability to find the other through friends, family, or even their place of work. Even after the interference of Elizabeth, I still was surprised that Grace did not push harder to find Matt. Yes, she felt rejected and was heartbroken, but she needed to get in touch with Matt for others, not just for herself. Again, on the one hand I understand why the story unfolded this way, but on the other it really was infuriating! This is the first Renee Carlino book I have read, but I fell in love with her writing style immediately. Her characters were perfectly flawed and the interactions were raw and real. Ultimately, the story for me boiled down to timing. Matt and Grace were victims to it the first time around, but sometimes space and time are needed to show us that what was true, was there all along. Overall, Before We Were Strangers was an excellent read filled with emotion and heart.

so many emotions. This is such a beautiful book, totally obsessed and I would recommend.

Absolutely love it. I finished this book in two days…faster if I didn’t have a toddler lol. I thought I wasn’t going to like it after the first few pages but I stuck with it and loved it. It really pulls you in and makes you feel all the feels. Beautiful! On to another of her books now!

Cheesy in moments but obsessed!. There were a few moments that felt a little too “romance novel” for my taste but the characters are so dang wonderful that I don’t care! I absolutely love the way the story was told and structured! Brilliant! Need to read again and praying for a movie!

meh. honestly didn’t love this book. was ok at first then ended up bored. felt very rushed.

Read this!. I saw this book recommended on TikTok, and I almost didn’t read it because I thought the missed connections premise sounded cheesy. I am very glad I downloaded it!

Love!!. Perfectly captures the uncertainty of love and misunderstandings. Keeps you entertained from beginning to end with smiles and tears. It would be a shame if you did not read this book.

Matt-grace. OMG over this heart warming story.

cliche. the book was a bit cliche towards the end. it was very interesting however and kept me wanting to see what was gonna happen.

Gosh. This beats a Colleen Hoover book any day! The best I’ve read! Maybe because it’s a bit relatable for me but idk I just absolutely loved this book. Such a sweet sweet story!

Beautiful. I love the way this author pieces this story together. My heart felt every rush of emotion and every tear jerking moment. Truly inspiring, I couldn’t tear my eyes away.

So good. This is such a good book to read to start your reading journey. Such a cute romance story that I really loved. 10/10

Beautiful. Read this in 24 hours and enjoyed every single bit of it!

Beautiful Story. I couldn’t put this book down! It’s a beautiful story and the first book that made me cry. Highly recommend!

Amazing!. Wow. Debated purchasing this book because of mixed reviews. Decided to give it a shot, didn’t even read the preview. This book made me go back in time. I had to put it down a few times to shed some tears. Loved it.

Brief Summary. About a guy who’s wife leaves him for another coworker. He sees his college GF randomly on the subway and begins to reminisce. They had a short but lasting love which was ended because of life events. They reunite only to find that what they thought they knew back then was not the case.

Good book. Kept Me on my toes. I’ve never read a book in 2 days till now.

Such a good read. This book is so good, found it on a whim. Couldn’t put it down. The details and story of Grace and Matt is perfect. I love how the story starts in the now then goes to the last, then ends in the now.

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Blubbering just like Grace 😭. I read this book in 5 days after not reading any books for years. I felt all the emotions of every character so yes I cried, I was angry, and shocked, etc. For a bit I was thinking "There can't be a good ending because of the history and lost time but I want there to be a good ending" and thankfully there was the best ending there could've been. I didn't expect all of the explicit scenes, but the way they were conveyed was amazing and you could imagine everything from every detail explained. I love every use of imagery, it just adds so much to the story. I will definitely be reading more books from this author. 100% recommend!

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Before We Were Strangers. Amazing!!!!!

Another uniquely beautiful love story.. I loved this book from start to finish. The story is so real with crazy love, heartache and more love.

A beautiful love story. This is the first book we've read by Renee Carlino and it certainly won't be our last. Before We Were Strangers is a beautiful romantic story of friendship and the love of two people who are perfect for each other but met at the wrong stage of their lives. Carlino will draw you in and keep you captivated by the emotions from her characters. For 15 years Matt and Grace have never been far from each other's thoughts. Their story starts in the present with the most written in the past to fill us back in before returning to the present. Matt’s life hasn't been fulfilled after disconnecting from the love of his life, working as an established photographer and a failed marriage. Over the last 15 years, Matt has fulfilled his career dreams but left his heart aching for the one that got away. Seeing Grace again for the first time in so long has brought those feelings to the surface, that one glance of her from the subway is a sign, with no leads to track her down he takes a chance on Craig’s list. “Time passes, life goes on, places change, people change. And still, I couldn’t get Grace off my mind after seeing her… Fifteen years is too long to be holding on to a few heart-pounding moments from college.” In the past Matt and Grace become fast friends in their last year of college. Matt is studying photography and Grace is a cello music major. Their friendship is quirky and fun and will warm your heart. From breakfast dinners, random photo shoots and concerts, their close friendship develops into something more. They friendship becomes more and soon their love for eachother is infatuating and magical. With neither wanted to come to turns with how much they both turley mean to each other, then having the face decisions of their. Come graduation their new found relationship becomes an emotional tug of war with what is the right decision for their futures, and their hearts. With Matt taking an internship with National Geographics for the summer and Grace given an opportunity to travel with an orchestra for 18 months, their dreams are being fulfilled but their life together is going down a separate path. Their love for one another is strong and their are determination to stay together they know they can’t be selfish and choose their love over their dreams. “The past doesn't belong to anyone, and the future is just a fantasy, never guaranteed. But the present is ours to own. The only way we can realize that fantasy is to embrace the now.” When both Matt and Grace spot each other 15 years later, a missed chance is all it takes for them to know that their connection is still simmering beneath the surface. With both having gone through so much in that time, they are both in for a huge shock when they reconnect in the most amazing, emotional and life affirming way. Life and love don't always go in the same direction, miscommunication can be the downfall for a long distance relationship. Matt and Grace’s journey of life together, separately and reconnecting is a heartfelt journey that will continue to warm your heart. We look forward to reading more by Renee Carlino.

Perfection. My new all time favourite book. Loved it from start to finish. I found myself putting it down and walking away purely because I didn't want it to end and now that it has I feel as though it's crawled inside me and will remain there forever. Absolute perfection.

Before We Were Strangers. I started reading this book on Sunday afternoon and I finished the book by midnight. I haven’t read anything extrodinary like this for a long time. And literally this book illustrates the bittersweet of romance novel. By the last couple of chapters I was tearing, I couldn’t stop reading the book. Like the saying, some books you read and some books you enjoy. But some books just swallow you up, heart and soul. All you see is the descriptions and conversations being play in your head like a movie. Once the book is finshed you realised that you just experienced emotional trauma at the hand of a paperback. Renée Carlino has done a fantastic job to write this story and captured the reader emotions.

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Summary of Before We Were Strangers by Renée Carlino

The Before We Were Strangers book written by Renée Carlino was published on 18 August 2015, Tuesday in the Fiction & Literature category. A total of 2,038 readers of the book gave the book 4.5 points out of 5.

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