Before We Were Strangers: A Love Story (Paperback)
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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?
About the Author
Renée Carlino is a screenwriter and the bestselling author of Sweet Thing, Nowhere But Here, After the Rain, Before We Were Strangers, Swear on This Life, and Wish You Were Here. She grew up in Southern California and lives in the San Diego area with her husband and two sons. To learn more, visit ReneeCarlino.com.
“Before We Were Strangers is as steamy as it is sweet. With two characters who are meant to be but just can't get the timing right, Renée Carlino has mastered the missed connection. I found myself rooting for Matt and Grace at every turn and aching to crawl into the book to go back to the ’90s to join them. Evocative, tender, and satisfying, Carlino has outdone herself."
— Taylor Jenkins Reid, author of Maybe in Another Life, After I Do, and Forever Interrupted
“Powerful and poignant, Before We Were Strangers captures the magic and heartache of first love. I couldn't turn the pages fast enough.”
— Tracey Garvis-Graves, New York Times bestselling author of On the Island and Covet
“I loved every single thing about this book! Nostalgia, first love, the echo of heartbreak, the rocky road to where you were always meant to be—this book has everything and then some. You can’t help but be transported.”
— Jay Crownover, New York Times bestselling author of Better When He’s Bad
“Sometimes we need a reminder that love is worth fighting for. Before We Were Strangers is a beautiful, real, heartfelt reminder.”
— Kim Holden, author of Gus and Bright Side
“I felt like I found a piece of my soul in this book. I've highlighted so many lines to use as a reference for daily inspiration. I was that moved.”
— Kim Jones, author of Red
"Compelling and evocative. Matt and Grace’s story will pull at your heartstrings while reminding you that true love can conquer the most difficult challenges. This is Renée Carlino’s best, most poignant work to date."
— Vilma's Book Blog
“Exquisitely written… I highly recommend this if you’re in the mood for a really great, heartfelt journey, loaded [with] angst and healing, all in the name of true love.”
— Maryse's Book Blog
“One of the most romantic, heartfelt, and consuming books I've ever read. To say that I'm in love with it would feel like the biggest understatement, ever… I'm blessed, so insanely lucky, to have found a story that I finished reading with tears in my eyes and a more beautiful outlook on life, love, and believing in second chances.”
— Book Baristas
“Ms. Carlino has a flair for dreamy, passionate love stories that warm our hearts and feed every romantic bone in our bodies, but this time around, she has given us a true gem, a timeless tale of a never-ending love set against the backdrop of a magical city she captured oh-so perfectly, a tale that I suspect will become a favourite for many.”
— Natasha is a Book Junkie
“This is Renée Carlino’s BEST. WORK. YET. This book broke my heart and built it up all over again and is complete and utter perfection. Just read it…. My words won’t do it justice. This is most definitely one of my favorites of 2015 and a book that I will never ever forget <3.”
— Shh Moms Reading
“Before We Were Strangers is an extraordinarily superb second chance, friends-to-lovers combination that you won’t be able to put down, or forget. It’s also one that needs to be owned in multiple formats.”
— Holly's Red Hot Reviews
“[T]his is an author to watch… This book was the perfect combination of a swoony romance filled with laughs, touching heartfelt moments, and even a few tears. Such an emotional read that gave me the warm and fuzzy feelings I was hoping for. A perfect summer romance that you will fall into headfirst and come out grinning from ear to ear, and possibly even wiping away a few tears.”
— Lost in Literature
“This book is sweet, emotional, sad, heartbreaking, at times overwhelming, but most importantly it is an uplifting love story! ...I not only highly recommend this book, but can’t wait to dive into other books by Renée.”
— Three Girls & A Book Obsession
“A dazzling and heartbreaking story of missed connections and the possibility of a second chance at love. Epic, emotional, and stunningly beautiful… It’s easily my favorite book this year and one of my all-time favorites.”
— Nestled in a Book
“Mesmerizing. Intoxicating. Heartbreaking. Before We Were Strangers was everything I love about reading. I was completely enthralled by Grace and Matt’s story that I was unaware of everything that was going on around me… This story will stay with me forever… This is one I could reread every year.”
— Eclectic Bookworms
“It’s truly unputdownable once you start it. Renée Carlino gave us a story we won’t forget. We loved everything about it. Incredible, heart pounding, beautiful—pure perfection.”
— Schmexy Girl Book Blog
“Before We Were Strangers was a stunningly beautiful story. I would go so far as to say that it is in my top favorite second chance at romance stories… 5 Serendipitous, Sweet Passionate Love, Soulmates Forever Filled Stars!"
— A Bookish Escape
“Heartbreakingly beautiful and wistfully poetic, Before We Were Strangers is the type of book that will immediately capture your attention and won’t relinquish its hold until the very end… [R]efreshingly real, hopelessly romantic, and uplifting in a way that had me smiling nonstop throughout the final chapters. It's rare for a book to have such a deep emotional effect on me that 6 stars is the only possible rating to give Before We Were Strangers.”
— Nose Stuck in a Book
“This lady knows how to write pure romance and infinite love. She writes about seemingly real people with realistic plots. No fluff, no bull! Before We Were Strangers was sheer perfection! It is a timeless and epic love story… This book has it all. DO NOT MISS THIS ONE! Fabulous job Renée. You are one of the great ones! Keep going…”
— Blushing Babes are Up All Night
“Before We Were Strangers is no doubt the best contemporary romance book I’ve read this year… What I loved? EVERYTHING… [E]very component of this book is perfect.”
— The Book Enthusiast
“This book blew me away… I was so enthralled with this touching heartwrenching story, and the incredibly well developed characters... This was my first read by Renée Carlino. Now I can't wait to go back and explore some of her backlist titles!”
— The Romance Reviews
“With Renée Carlino’s highly anticipated fifth release, I’d say she has finally found her writer’s groove: she knows what’s up and how to bring it… What sets Carlino and Before We Were Strangers apart from all the other romance novels, in this incredibly fast-moving market, is her ability to set the tone and bring the stage to life… No doubt, Before We Were Strangers will satisfy any voracious romance reader. This novel is writing at its best, and then some.”
— Read This Hear That
“I've read and really enjoyed all of Renée Carlino's previous books. Before We Were Strangers is her best work yet! I loved everything about this book—the unique storyline, the writing style, the characters, the emotion. It is absolutely brilliant…one of my favorite books of the year!”
— My Little Library Book Blog
“I read this pretty much in one sitting. This book was equal parts beautiful and heartbreaking… This will be on my top books of the year. It was just so damn beautiful.”
— A Book Whore's Obsession
“Before We Were Strangers is easily one of my favorite books of 2015… Renée Carlino’s writing is effortless, and the story is engrossing and intensely poignant… This book is so skillfully crafted it can be considered both a New Adult and an Adult Contemporary novel. It’s a friends-to-lovers story as well as a second chance romance… This is the first book I’ve read by Renée Carlino, but it certainly won’t be my last.”
— The Book Geek
“[B]eautiful and heartbreaking… Before We Were Strangers was a book I’m thoroughly happy that I picked up; it spans a one of a kind, beautiful relationship that readers won’t want to miss out on.”
— The Reader's Den