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Before We Were Strangers

4.25  ·  Rating details ·  30,800 ratings  ·  3,291 reviews
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 S
Kindle Edition, 321 pages
Published August 18th 2015 by Atria Books
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Andie Jacobs I am an emotional reader and I shed some tears while reading Before We Were Strangers but mostly it made me feel good and happy. I really loved the en…moreI am an emotional reader and I shed some tears while reading Before We Were Strangers but mostly it made me feel good and happy. I really loved the ending and have been recommending it to everyone so I hope you pick it up because its a great read! (less)
Diana No it is not . Is written in a dual point of view.
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Average rating 4.25  · 
Rating details
 ·  30,800 ratings  ·  3,291 reviews

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Amy Harmon
Jul 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I got a chance to read an ARC of this book. I had never read anything by Renee Carlino before, but I have admired her from afar and had heard nothing but good things. I LOVED this book. And it made me cry. That rarely happens to me. I read with half my brain in critique mode. I can't help it. It must come from writing novels myself, but I can't ever turn off that part of my brain when I read anymore. But my brain was quiet and my heart was heavy in a lovely fat way. I highly recommend. ...more
I need a good hour to sit down and vent everything that was wrong with this book. That fucking pathetic excuse for a hero that I would have loved to punch in the nuts!

I had fallen in love with him at the beginning only for everything to go completely downhill after 25%.

The book starts out in his POV and for the first 20 some odd % into the book I was thinking "omg finally a 5 star read!" I was so sure that this was going to be an epic love story, but it all went down hill after that.

Jun 20, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4 stars!

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….

I love stories about first loves. I love stories that go from past to present. And we all know I love Renee Carlino’s writing. I read Sweet Thing when it first came out and have been a huge fan ever since. This book had so many elements that I loved (view spoiler)
Nov 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
whilst i consider myself to have recently suffered a quarter-life crisis, this book gave me hope that everything will eventually work out if you always try to make the best of your situation. which is really all anyone can do in life. so i appreciate when a story, such as this, has real-life value.

i also adore the way renee carlino so genuinely captures the complexities of human relationships and desire. i have never pined over a missed connection for 15 years, but i would be lying if i said i d
"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 swe
Hulya Kara Yuksel
Have you seen this news? 😍😍😍 I can't wait to watch Matt and Grace on the screen. Congratulations Renee Carlino. ❤


My original review:

The End and I'm crying so bad.. :( My God, It was phenomenal. This book gave me a lot things to think about. <3
I felt every sad and happy moment while I was reading it. I loved it so much... :)

Please just read this amazing book and don't forget to listen Jeff Buckley's Grace album while you're reading it. L
3.5 Stars!!


“Before We Were Strangers” is a sweet, emotional story about two individuals who fall for each other two times. It’s a story about falling in love for the first time/finding second chance at love. Intense and heartwarming, but also heartbreaking at times, this story is told both in the past and in the present from both MC characters’ perspective. You certainly will enjoy this story if you’re a fan of missed connections listings.

"To the Green-eyed Lovebird: We met fifteen year
Aj the Ravenous Reader

""From the time you’re born, you have no control; you can’t choose your parents, and, unless you’re suicidal, you can’t choose your death. The only thing you can do is choose the person you love, be kind to others, and make your brutally short stint on earth as pleasant as possible."

After this first Renee Carlino read, I’m an instant fan!

Grace and Matt first met as senior university students- best friends turned lovers. Each a perfect half of one perfect heart, torn apart by time and fate bu
Oct 28, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: hopeless romantics
Recommended to Jaidee by: gifted to me by my first love.
4.5 "over the moon with swoon!" stars

2015 Honorable Mention Read

I cannot believe how much I cried and smiled with this sweet contemporary romance.

This book came in my e-mail box last week from my first love when I was sixteen. She wrote some very sweet words and ended by saying that this book made her feel so young and in love (which we were for the year she was visiting from Czechoslovakia). We are still the best of friends and have been there for each other through severe illnesses, divorces
Geri Reads
Aug 16, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book sort of sneaked up on me. Despite the fact that it used one of my least favorite plot devices in romance ever, I still ended up liking this a lot.

Matt and Grace met during their senior year at NYU. Grace is a music major while Matt is photography. They immediately bonded from the moment they met through their mutual love of the arts and Jeff Buckley. Slowly but surely their friendship evolved from friendship into something more. They became inseparable but the end of college, miscommu
Jun 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 01-signed
This blurb was probably one of the most intriguing and captivating blurbs I’ve stumbled across. The moment I read it, this book became an obsession. I needed to read it, I had to.


Matt has the career most photographers would kill for. Fifteen years, an esteemed position working for National Geographic and a Pulitzer Prize photo adorning his wall. But a career isn’t everything. Divorced and standing still in a city that moves at the speed of light, Matt is lost. Then one day it happens. He se
Pavlina Read more sleep less blog



Such a beautiful,sweet,heartbroken,intense and emotional story!!I didn't want to finish it!It felt so realistic and unique and I had so many feelings while I was reading it!This story touched me in so many ways that there are moments that I was crying and other moments where I was smiling and swooning because I was so happy!The story is told both in the present and in the past and this made me feel so inside t

Just awesome. What a cool, completely engrossing, thoroughly heartwarming contemporary new adult love story.

Easy to read, hard to put down. Great characters. Yes, this is a love story, but it will also completely surprise you with its depth.

Matt and Grace meet on move-in day at the beginning of their senior year at NYU. Grace is a starving artist music major, specializing in the cello, while Matt is studying photography. They happen to be next door neighbors in Senior House and immed
Allison ❤️Will Never Conquer Her TBR❤️

4 Second Chance Stars!

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........

 photo 7A0D3DAB-C0AC-484B-87E6-7C089D1DB917_zpspgboaivq.jpg

Before We Were Strangers
had a book blurb that captured my attention immediately. What a unique spin on a second chance romance...Missed Connections on Craigslist. Couple that with the fact that this is written by Renee Carlino, the author of one of my favorite NA romance novels, Sweet Thing, I couldn't wait to dive in
Aug 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
*** JUST AMAZING... ***

This book had me feeling all kinds of totally captivated me.Just a wonderful piece of writing.It's a story of the beautiful thing that is first love and second chances.
First love...all the tangled emotions that come with it.The hopes,the dreams,the insecurities but because you love so hard you firmly believe in the future...
Second mistakes and misunderstanding can shape the pattern of your lives...

The story starts in the present day where Matt i
Mar 21, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4 Second Chance Stars.

Matt and Grace fell in love during college and they thought it would be forever. Unfortunately life got in the way and for the next 15 years they didn’t see each other and their lives moved on in different directions.
In only took one random morning for them to see each other again in the NY subway in a way and life bring them together again. But 15 years change a lot of things, so can this be their second change of re-kindle their love or sometimes life is too different
Aestas Book Blog
Oct 06, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

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
Sara ➽ Ink Is My Sword
Jul 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
“The past doesn’t belong to us anymore, 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 if we embrace the now.”

You can also find it on my blog, Ink Is My Sword🌷
description All images were found in pinterest, I do not own any of them.

Depicts perfectly a love story that is raw, flawed, real and at the same time beautiful. My heart was beating alongside all the tangible moments.

I have
Jennifer Kyle
Dec 14, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.25 "Make me Believe" Stars ...more
Jenny••Steamy Reads Blog••
I’m late to the party on this one.

Keeping it short. This book tugged me in different directions. I loved it, I liked it, and I wanted to throw the book.

This book starts in the present, Matt & Grace seeing each other for the first time in 15 years. It’s a glimpse of each other that ignited unresolved feelings. From there the book goes back to relive their past up until the current future. So many regrets, so many lost opportunities, so much lost love, the amount of hurt, so much unresolved....
Jul 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Renee Carlino Fans, Romance, Second Chance
4.5 To Reclaim What Was Lost Stars * * * * 1/2
There are times in our lives we wish we could do over...have different outcomes...But to do them over would mean other, wonderful other things would not exist. So, we think about the past and then put it away and appreciate all the good we have now. Because the past is the past, right...

But what if you had the opportunity to reconnect with the one who meant the most to you...
The one who showed you the best of yourself and you truly loved...The one wh
Oct 11, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Before We Were Strangers is a second chance story about Matt and Grace — They met at NYU but lost touch after Matt graduated and took a once in a lifetime photography internship.

15 years later, they see each other on a subway platform but don’t have a chance to speak. Matt decides to write a “Missed Connection” post on Craigslist as he has no other way to get in touch with Grace again. Sidenote: My friends and I used to read missed connections as a form of entertainment in college — I will say,
Ramona Popescu
Renee Carlino where have you've been all my life?

This was my first book from her and I loved it to pieces. What an original and sweet book it was..
The plot runs throughout a long period of time, beginning with Matt's and Grace senior year at NYU. Grace is a talented musician and Matt a photographer. From the moment they met, a lot of things binds them, like the passion for art and music. Around each other they could be themselves and be happy, despite having difficulties in other aspects of the
Dec 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Let me introduce you to .......

Graceland Marie Starr & Matthias William Shore (aka, Matt & Grace)

Their's is a love story that was interrupted by lies and deception. Regret, manipulation, and raw pain tore them apart in the past and threatens to keep them apart in the present.

Let me begin with ....... The Present, after Their Past .......

Matt is thirty-six, divorced and his life is stuck in neutral. He works for National Geographic and for years traveled the globe
Ninoska Goris
Feb 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Es la historia de Grace y Matt, los cuales están destinados a estar juntos, pero no se encuentran en el momento correcto.

Captura la magia del primer amor y de cómo puede superarlo todo.

Encontré un pedazo de mi alma en este libro y lo terminé con lagrimas de felicidad. A veces necesitamos un recordatorio de que el verdadero amor lo puede todo.

Definitivamente uno de los mejores libros que he leído.


This is Grace and Matt’s story, destinated to be together, but the time is not right. Didn’t fi
Melissa (Ever So Mela)

Sometimes time is just something, no matter how hard we try, we can't get right. We meet this person. They're peculiar in their own way, having this uniqueness to them that we can't help but befriend. This person that’s able to bring out the very best in your overly complicated and dynamic personality. Who’s able to see through all the BS, who understands you, and not in that superficial kind of way, but the very core of your essence. And sometimes that friendship turns into something so much mo
Rachel Reads Ravenously
3.5 stars

This is a book I purchased when it was released and always intended to read. Flash forward to now, and it became a part of my beat the backlist 2019 goal. I truly believe if I had read this book when it came out four years ago, it would be a 4 or 5 star rating. But my reading tastes have changed quite a bit and it didn’t hold the magic for me that seemed to capture many other readers.

“Poetry is just evidence of life. If your life is burning well, poetry is just the ash.”

Before We


I loved this book! It features two of my favourite kinds of stories - a gorgeously sweet NA romance, and then an amazingly beautiful reconnection between two people years after they parted but who have never been able to let each other go. This story is written so beautifully, I was immediately sucked in, I went on an absolute rollercoaster of emotions and my heart was pounding the whole way through. So standb
Dec 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“Everything seems better in a memory”

This is my second time reading this book and I loved it even more.This book broke my heart in the best way possible,I can’t even put into words how much this story and these characters means to me.This story was so evocative and heartbreaking, If you like second chance romance you’ll love this book
Akanksha❤ Søren♰
Loved it.
This book was...
Heart Warming

The authors writing style is so beautiful, simple and yet amazing at the same time.
I loved the story.
A must read. :)
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Renée Carlino is a bestselling author of contemporary women's novels and new adult fiction. Her books have been featured in national publications, including Cosmopolitan Magazine, InStyle Magazine, USA TODAY, Huffington Post, Latina magazine, Publisher's Weekly, Redbook, Sunset Magazine, Coastal Living and the Union Tribune. She lives in Southern California with her husband and two sons. When she' ...more

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“The present is our own. The right-this-second, the here-and-now, this moment before the next, is ours for the taking. It’s the only free gift the universe has to offer. The past doesn’t belong to us anymore, 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 if we embrace the now.” 95 likes
“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. It doesn’t mean you can’t love another or move on; it just means that the one spontaneous moment, the split second that you took the leap, when your heart was racing and your mind was muddled with What ifs?—that moment—will never happen the same way again. It will never feel as intense as the first time. At least, that’s the way I remember it. That’s why my mother always said we memorialize our past. Everything seems better in a memory.” 83 likes
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