Annika (rhymes with Monica) Rose is an English major at the University of Illinois. Anxious in social situations where she finds most people’s behavior confusing, she’d rather be surrounded by the order and discipline of books or the quiet solitude of playing chess.
Jonathan Hoffman joined the chess club and lost his first game–and his heart–to the shy and awkward, yet brilliant and beautiful Annika. He admires her ability to be true to herself, quirks and all, and accepts the challenges involved in pursuing a relationship with her. Jonathan and Annika bring out the best in each other, finding the confidence and courage within themselves to plan a future together. What follows is a tumultuous yet tender love affair that withstands everything except the unforeseen tragedy that forces them apart, shattering their connection and leaving them to navigate their lives alone.
Now, a decade later, fate reunites Annika and Jonathan in Chicago. She’s living the life she wanted as a librarian. He’s a Wall Street whiz, recovering from a divorce and seeking a fresh start. The attraction and strong feelings they once shared are instantly rekindled, but until they confront the fears and anxieties that drove them apart, their second chance will end before it truly begins.
I wasn’t sure what to expect with this new novel by Graves but I read The Island a few years ago and absolutely loved it. I enjoyed that she was able to take a unique perspective and this book was completely engrossing from the start.
This story focused around the main character, Annika, who is on the Autism spectrum. Annika has previously struggled with relationships and friendships until she meets Jonathan in college in 1991.
I was very impressed by her ability to portray Annika’s perspective through the eyes of someone on the spectrum, and how just exhausting and confusing social situations can be. The book takes place in two different time periods (1991 and 2001) and the reader is aware something happened between Annika and Jonathan that initially pushed them apart but it isn’t clear at first what happened.
When they meet again, both have changed and learned about themselves and I loved seeing this progression over time. I love books about second chances and also loved seeing the transformation of not only this relationship but also the characters individually. This was not only a romance but also a book about self-love and acceptance and also hard work. This was a beautiful book and it will stick with me for a long time. Thank you to St Martin’s Press and NetGalley for gifting me a copy of this book. All opinions are my own.