Sometimes it’s important to let the people we care about know that a single incident doesn’t have to define them.
Getting to know the story of Annika Rose and her romance with her ex-boyfriend Jonathan surely was something cute to behold. I definitely enjoyed the romantic aspects of The Girl He Used to Know, there were also some issues I personally did not like in this book.
The Girl He Used to Know follows a young woman named Annika Rose and her ex-boyfriend from college, Jonathan. It turns out that Annika is autistic – I want to note this here because throughout the storyline this will explain some aspects of Annika’s character and behaviour. Still, I don’t want to judge whether the representation was good or bad, as I a) am not autistic myself and b) haven’t yet read enough to have a feeling whether the topic was handled badly or not.
Overall, it was really cute to see Annika and Jonathan interact. The two of them know how to act around each other and what to say or do to make the other feel safe. But as much as I liked the romance in this, I enjoyed Annika’s personal journey the most. Over the years (as the book spans several of them) she learned to find herself and grow into the person she is at the end of the book. But from time to time, both Annika and Jonathan felt flat or robotic. I couldn’t really pin it down, but I guess that this was just the writing still and it simply didn’t sit quite right with me. On top of that, I adored Annika way more than Jonathan – I couldn’t quite make sense of him and sometimes his behaviour seemed more toxic than selfless. So, to be honest, I’m still not entirely sure what to think of him. And at this point, I also don’t want to think about him anymore. Let’s just say that Annika has my heart while Jonathan does not.
What bothered me immensely was the big drama at the end of the book. I won’t say what is happening, because I don’t want to spoil anybody, but the whole thing didn’t sit right with me. Though I really appreciate Annika and her quite literal journey this time, the whole picture somehow ruined the book as a whole for me. I had hoped for a different ending, but alas, I can’t change it. That and Jonathan are the main reasons why I only gave 2.5 stars as a rating. BUT I have to say that all in all, I did enjoy the book. It was outside of my comfort zone of reading, but as I already said, Annika’s journey really captured me and nudged me along. So while personally I don’t think that The Girl He Used to Know is a great book, it is still a good one.
The Flapping Pages ARC Program
I am incredibly thankful to Kaleena, who was kind enough to give The Girl He Used to Know to me as a part of her Flapping Pages ARC Program. This is a wonderful program which helps international readers (like me) to get their hands on ARCs because most publishers don’t even consider international bloggers for ARCs because of shipping costs. So a big THANK YOU to Kaleena and her truly amazing program. (Psst – if you have ARCs that you don’t need anymore, you can also donate them to the program and help them!)
This review has long been overdue, but I had several issues to face and the overall situation of the world right now certainly didn’t help me with that. So, a big thank you to Kaleena who was so understanding and kind after I explained this situation to her. She is honestly a gorgeous person.