Saturday, January 16, 2016

Before We Were Strangers by Renee Carlino

"she was perfect... poetry in motion- the evidence of a life burning well and bright."

I do not say this lightly... This is one of the best contemporary books I've ever read. If you know me, then you know contemporary is my least favorite genre. There are some thing I'd like to clear up right away though. BWWS isn't an action packed book with a massive slap you plot twist, and for some reason it is classified in the YA section of the book store. This novel is simply what it says it is, a sweet feel good read, which is one of it's best qualities. Second in my opinion it should be filed under New Adult. It does straddle the line of Ya and Na, but to me it falls into the latter. This is also a plus for this book.

BWWS is a novel following two main characters. Matt who is a photography student and Grace who is a music major. Matt is really starting to discover who he is as an artist when Grace falls into his life. Matt is perfection when it comes to leading males. He is everything we want in a lead while bring something new to a protagonist. He is confident, charismatic, and so sarcastic. Completely loved everything about his character. I liked his charm and was consumed by his thoughts. I loved how he never second guessed who he is as a person. He has easily became one of my all time favorite leading males. Grace however was his opposite. She is confident, but is so clearly closed off. She is broken and lost. The way Matt knows who he is, is the way Grace struggles to feel herself out. As their relationship grows so does both their personalities.

They're relationship y'all, is perfection. It feels so real. You will really feel like you're going through everything with them. They're ups and downs will feel like yours. You will be experiencing all the emotions and pain right along with them, and it's flipping fantastic. The way these two feed off each other is amazing. They had me laughing, grinning, blushing, and breaking my heart. Sometimes all those feelings were happening at the same time. I probably cried ten times while reading this book. I wasn't even half way through and I had cried at least four. These two are a couple from the moment they meet you'll want to have a happy ending. I'm a sucker for books that the couple are friends first (legit friends) then turn into something more. Carlino makes this process seem effortless... Like she was born with a laptop in hand to deliver us friend first romance.

The plot is as I said above, steady. It's not a book where something is just going to jump out at you. This is 100% okay! The pacing was completely fine for me. I usually hate the mild speed of contemporary books, but not with BWWS. Their journey is sweet and perfectly timed. I was super worried reading because the first half the book was so strong, I feared the last half wouldn't live up. I thought the jump from past to present would do the same. I was taken back when neither of these things turned me off. I thought that the gape in time would leave a lot to be wanted and it wasn't an issue either. I wont however lie to you... YOU WILL KNOW WHAT IS COMING!!! I saw it coming the moment it was winked at, I thought this would in the long run make me lower my rating. NOPE. When it happens and everything comes to light I was still (continued to be) a big blubbering mess. Not exaggerating at all... mess like-sitting in the middle of my bed, wrapped up like a burrito, using the bottom of my shirt as a tissue with no shame-mess.

Before We Were Strangers was a very pleasant surprise. I definitely under estimated how much this book was going to effect me. A book I simply thought would be a fill-in read till I figured out what I wanted to really dive into next. Turned out to be a huge punch to my heart. Anything that might be considered a "flaw" is wiped away by the pure beauty of Carlino's writing and by the way she will pull you into this love story. A book where the romance scenes are soul warming and the love feels authentic. Carlino takes us on an emotional rollercoaster of a read, and doesn't miss a chance at pulling at our heartstrings. Before We Were Strangers is the definition of "all the feels".

10/10 Stars

Just a little side-note too, I thought the cover and title of this book were gorgeous but after reading it realize just how amazing they really are.