- USD 10.99
New York Times bestselling author of On the Island, Tracey Garvis Graves, presents the compelling, hopelessly romantic novel of unconditional love.
Annika 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.
The solid latest from Graves (after White-Hot Hack) follows the romance between a high-functioning autistic woman and her college flame. In August 2001, Annika Rose and Jonathan Hoffman run into one another at a Chicago grocery store 10 years after they ended their relationship. Jonathan went to New York to pursue his dream of working in finance and was heartbroken when Annika decided not to follow him. Now back in Chicago, Jonathan's wary of their mutual spark and has yet to deal with their unresolved past. Largely homeschooled before college, Annika is lonely and finds solace in caring for animals, reading books, and playing chess. With the help of Jonathan and her friend Janice Albright, she navigates the overwhelming stimuli that has always aggravated her anxiety. As their relationship evolves, Annika wants to prove that she's changed for the better and won't give in to the urge to hide when things go wrong. The narrative builds to a life-or-death situation that puts Annika to the test. Graves does a good job of putting readers in Annika's shoes and setting up the foundation for the book's ending, though the narrative often gets mired in lengthy lovey-dovey scenes. Readers who don't mind the over-the-top emotional element will find a solid story here. This review has been updated to remove a spoiler.