Before We Were Strangers by Renée Carlino

before we were strangers

“We memorialize our past. Everything seems better in a memory.”

4/5 stars


Fiction – Romance

Goodreads Summary

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 was one of the first books I put on my Goodreads list when I started reading again last March. I first heard about it from Spivey’s Book Club on Facebook, a book page dedicated to discovering and discussing new books. I couldn’t find the book at my library or Half Price Books so I finally caved and bought it off of Amazon a couple of months ago.
I really enjoyed this book! It is a romance and has quite a bit of sexual content. I could have done with a little less of that but, overall, it was a great story! I loved that the book was split into sections of the past and present. I find that it adds a whole new dynamic when the past is told as present. I feel like I really get to know the characters and relationships best that way.
I was invested in Grace & Matt’s relationship and story. The ending wasn’t bad, but I wished it had ended a bit differently. I think I just had different hopes and expectations for the characters. If you enjoy reading romances, I’d recommend this one! I definitely plan on reading more by Renée Carlino!

Author Renée Carlino’s website

2 thoughts on “Before We Were Strangers by Renée Carlino

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