The Girl He Used to Know is a a book that takes place in two time periods, the past being in 1991 and the present setting taking place in 2001. Our main character is Annika who is shy and self-described as different than most people. She does not know she is high functioning on the spectrum with autism as well as having an anxiety disorder until she is into her 30s. This book did a great job giving perspective to an audience, like myself, who did not live through a time period where resources were not available yet for being tested for being on the spectrum and the social norms that I grew up with in relationship to mental health awareness. I think the author did a great job illustrating a small portion of an American society that had not known much about people whose brain works differently, in a beautiful way, than most people.
The book is a contemporary romance built on the idea of what happened in 1991 and what could happen in 2001 between the main characters Annika and Jonathan. This relationship gives credence to the gentleness of people and how we are the hardest on ourselves and to other people we don’t understand. I really enjoyed it. The main characters are flawed and imperfect and we as an audience follow a classic journey of growth and self- love that was wonderful to experience with them.
With all this being said there are some hard hitting subjects in this book. I don’t think any of the events were over done or underdone, they were impactful and important to the story and I learned a lot by reading as the events unfolded. I do not like to say too much about what specifically happens, I don’t want to spoil the second half of the book for anyone. The roller coaster of a ride this book took me on was very similar to a thriller.
I enjoyed the pace and writing of this book so much that I very much look forward to reading another book from this author. This being the first Tracey Garvis Graves book I have read. 5/5 stars. It really ticked all the boxes for me in what I look for in a contemporary story and that is how I think of this. A contemporary.