B O O K R E V I E W - 2.5 STARS ⭐️⭐️💫 This book…… *slow and deep exhale*
The Girl He Used to Know is about girl meets boy, but not really. Annika Rose, awkward, shy, and socially inept, has trouble connecting people. She often feels lost in social situations, afraid of saying the wrong thing or acting the wrong way. She prefers the quiet solitude of books (that’s most of us on #bookstagram)
or playing chess to being around others. Until she meets Jonathan in college. She liked being around him, but she hasn't seen him since their break up ten years ago. Until now, that is.
The narrative switches between 1991 and 2001, alternating between Annika and Jonathan’s POV where they are trying to put the pieces back together from what broke them up years ago.
This book reminded me quite a bit of Eleanor Eliphant, just without the me-liking-it-very-much part. I felt like the writing was so… tacky? I especially didn’t like the way Jonathan infantilizes Annika throughout the book. Case in point, he often referred to her as almost childlike and delicate. The whole “Oh, poor Annika” and “I can love Annika the way she needs to be loved so I should get an award” thing just got 🤮 for me real quick. I was constantly cringing and rolling my eyes a lot. His constant praise and support of how she manages social situations was done pretty tastelessly.
I also felt like the autism spectrum wasn’t very well researched. I am all 👏🏼 for 👏🏼 representation👏🏼, but some things just didn’t add up. I wasn’t even aware that Annika was autistic until I was in about 60% in. I don’t know if it was supposed to be an “Ahh… It all makes sense now” moment, but it felt more like a “why didn’t you bloody say so from the start?!” With that said, I almost DNFed it 60% in, but pushed through anyway and the last 40% pleasantly surprised me. I don’t know if it’s because it picked up with the dramatic ending, or because it had minimal Jonathan-Annika sex scenes and tacky dialogues during the terrible [no spoilers here] event.
Overall, 2.5 stars. It wasn’t for me, but it’s gotten pretty great reviews from almost everyone else. Thank you @definitelybooks
for sending me a review copy!