Once there was a you and me
We were lovers
We were friends
Before life changed
Before we were strangers
Do you still think of me?
This is a book that grabs your attention from the first few pages. There’s an air of excitement to it — the twist of fate, the second chance, the luck that reunites these two lovers after a fifteen year separation. It’s a feeling that makes your heart race and your palms tingle, it begs you to turn the page, and Renee Carlino’s beautiful writing keeps you lost in the story from start to finish.
As we are told, this is ‘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’ and even though I sometimes try to describe the books I review for you myself, I have to say that this particular blurb was just so unique and intriguing that I don’t think anything else I say will do it justice so, here it is:
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…
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?
Gah. Don’t you just love that?? It certainly grabbed my attention!
“Three seconds doesn’t seem like a long time, but when you’re gazing into someone’s eyes, it’s long enough to make a silent promise.”
My book is full of highlighted quotes — it’s written in a way that makes you care on a very deep level for these characters. Once I’d started, I just didn’t want to stop reading. I needed to know what had happened to them in the past to both make them fall in love and tear them apart, and then I was so curious to see where their future would lead. Without a doubt, this is a story that tugged all of my heart strings.
It begins in the present day, then takes us back to the past when they met in college, before catching us back up to the current day and then the story even takes us beyond that into the future. It’s told in dual POV so you really get a very complete look at the whole story.
I did however have a frustration with the book, but I’d like to be clear that this is due to a long-standing, very personal pet peeve… which has to do with characters choosing their careers over their relationship after they’ve fallen in love. I know there’s no right or wrong way to handle this situation, but my personal belief is that, no matter what your previous priorities in life were, after you fall in love, you adjust them to allow room for your relationship to be a priority. Otherwise, it’s a clear choice: which do you value more? I will always choose love, and I have a hard time reading about people who either don’t choose love, or choose love but don’t take care to go the extra mile to maintain trust during a work-related separation. And this book is a prime example of the very painful result of what happens when a couple doesn’t do that.
I got to a point where I was pretty mad at them. This wasn’t a scenario of life dealing them a bad hand of cards that led to their 15 year separation, rather their misery was the direct result of multiple poorly made decisions on their respective parts. I could literally give you a long list of things that I personally (if I was their friend) would have strongly advised them against doing that, in the end, was what led to their separation. It was miscommunications, wrong priorities, and the consequence of not thinking about what the result of your actions would do to someone else. I don’t like blaming it on their ages either because tons of people that age can maintain functional relationships. So I just found it frustrating because I was literally watching them mess up their own lives, even though they both did have very good intentions.
But dammit, I CARED. I really did. So freaking much. And that gorgeous extra twist towards the end of the book definitely brought out all the feels in a big way. I loved seeing the way that whole scenario played out and, no matter how frustrated I was with the characters, I loved the writing so much and felt for this story so deeply that I couldn’t help but be swept away. This was definitely a great read. And I do think anyone who isn’t as sensitive to this particular issue as me would LOVE it. The reality of life is that a lot of people do make wrong choices in life (myself included) and there may naturally be painful consequences to those actions. I guess I just generally prefer to read stories where it’s more “them against the world” not “them causing their own problems”. Ultimately, this is a story about two people who chose wrong (each in their own way), but in the end were given a second chance to make things right. It’s heart warming to think that despite everything, they were still able to have their chance at a happily ever after.
And I feel it’s worth mentioning again, that the writing is beautiful!!
“You can’t re-create the first time you promise to love someone or the first time you feel loved by another. You cannot relive the sensation of fear, admiration, self-consciousness, passion, and desire all mixed into one because it never happens twice. You chase it like the first high for the rest of your life.”
Rating: 4 stars. Contemporary romance standalone.