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You Were There Too

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Mia Graydon's life looks picket-fence perfect; she has the house, her loving husband, and dreams of starting a family. But she has other dreams too — unexplained, recurring ones starring the same man. Still, she doesn’t think much of them, until a relocation to small-town Pennsylvania brings her face to face with the stranger she has been dreaming about for years. And this man harbors a jaw-dropping secret of his own—he's been dreaming of her too.

Determined to understand, Mia and this not-so-stranger search for answers. But when diving into their pasts begins to unravel her life in the present, Mia emerges with a single question—what if?

Acclaimed author Colleen Oakley delivers a heart-wrenching and unforgettable love story about a woman who must choose between the man she loves and the man fate has chosen for her in a novel that reminds us that the best life is one led by the heart.

324 pages, Paperback

First published January 7, 2020

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About the author

Colleen Oakley

6 books1,546 followers
Colleen Oakley is the USA Today bestselling author of The Invisible Husband of Frick Island, You Were There Too and other unconventional love stories. Her books have been named best books by People Magazine, Us Weekly, Library Journal, and Real Simple, and long-listed for the Pat Conroy Southern Book Prize. Her fifth novel THE MOSTLY TRUE STORY OF TANNER & LOUISE will be published by Berkley/Penguin in March 2023.

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5 stars
2,612 (24%)
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3 stars
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100 (<1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,716 reviews
Profile Image for Nilufer Ozmekik.
2,133 reviews39.3k followers
June 12, 2021
Three my heart broke into tiny pieces, my emotions everywhere but all the angst and sadness are for nothing, I ache for the characters so much stars!

This is the first in my life that I got confused what I felt about a book and went back and forth between giving five or three stars. It’s like black and white but there were no grey areas about this book. But then I decided to give three stars.

This is not about writing. Actually the author was so talented enough to touch my soul, heart, mind at the same time. But then she ripped everything and tossed them to the garbage. I felt like somebody slapped me so hard after finishing this book and wanted to climb to the highest mountain and started screaming `WHHHHHHHHY! WHHHHY DID YOU DO THAT! WHY YOU WERE SO MERCILESS TO YOUR CHARACTERS!` Since J.K. Rowling killed Dumbledore or David E. Kelly killed Billy on “Ally McBeal series”, I haven’t want to yell at an author/screenwriter for so long!( Okay, I also wanted to yell at GOT’s writers, but for another reasons. I think yelling is not gonna enough for them!)

As soon as I read the blurb about Mia’s dreaming about a man she’s never seen before made me think I was going to read a book like Taylor Jenkins Reid’s “ Maybe Another Time” or Kristin Harmel’s `Life Intended”. I thought it’s a romance about two people reach each other by dreams and fight against the all obstacles to find their HEAs.

But this is all different. Firstly; our two heroes, husband Harrison and dream guy Oliver are amazing! At some parts they’re even greater than Mia who is suffering from three miscarriages and about to lose her mind because every time she closes her eyes, she sees Oliver. They coincidentally meet at the market. Then they saw each other at the hospital where Mia’ s husband works. Oliver’s sister is also the patient of Harrison.

Mia gets shocked as soon as she finds out, Oliver also sees her in his dreams, too and he tries to save her life but he cannot achieve that in any of them!

In the meantime Harrison fights with his inner demons because of the guilt he carries so long after he lost his patient. He blames himself for deciding a risky operation which affects his relationship with his wife, Mia. They start to drift apart. Mia wants to try having a baby but Harrison is not ready, he still deals with the loss of his patient and suffers from depression. Their problems and vivid dreams bring Mia and Oliver closer each day.

Even though she has questions about her marriage and undeniable attraction to Olive, Mia does the right thing and always chooses her husband over him. When she finds out, Oliver and she spent time in same circles and common friends, the day she met her husband, she could have also meet with Oliver but he got stuck at his work place, she still stayed strong, restrained her feelings for him.
Then she realizes no matter what she always chooses her husband over him! So I thought `Okay great so we got our closure! Nope, not so fast! Don’t jump to the conclusions because there are more to come. And they’re all HEAVY, NASTY, NERVE BENDING, TEAR JERKER STUFF!`

The thing about telling the story for several different POVs (we already have three main characters but as soon as I see the POVS of Caroline and Whitney, I got confused but finally I realized the author did it purposely for the ominous part of the book! Yessss, there is a bloody, nail biter, `OHHHH NOOO WHAT DID YOU DOOO!” part close to the ending!)

Let’s talk about ending! I hate it! Because any alternative universe options for these three characters will bring us more and more ugly cries, more screams like “ OH come onnn, there must be a solution to fix it”!

Mia is honest, noble, lost but at least finally she knows what she wants in her life. But no matter what she wants, her heart is going to be broken!
I’m sorry for Mia! Sorry for Harrison, also so sorry about Oliver!

I was expecting a book about our different choices end with different consequences, finding your soul-mate, learning more about the secret world of dreams but instead of that, I got frustration, depression, deathly consequences, broken hearts!

Nope, the author might be so talented to feel so passionately for those characters but I never ever forgive the writer for being cruel to them! At least some of them need their HEAs!

Profile Image for Julie .
4,001 reviews58.9k followers
February 11, 2020
You Were There Too by Colleen Oakley is a 2020 Berkley publication.

This story is centered around Mia Graydon. Mia is happily married to Harrison, a doctor, and they are hoping to someday become parents. However, Mia also has dreams about the same man- a man who is not her husband- from time to time. It’s puzzling, for sure, but they are only dreams, right? Well, maybe not. When Mia comes face to face with the man of her dreams in real life, she’s thrown completely off balance.

Complicating matters more, Mia and Harrison, have hit a rough patch in their marriage. The couple may no longer be on the same wave- length and for Mia, this could be a deal-breaker. Then her dream lover, Oliver, confesses that, he too has dreamed of her, making Mia wonder if maybe fate is trying to tell her something….

Right away one is clued in that something serious has happened, but we have no idea how things got to that point or what might happen beyond it. Meanwhile, we watch Mia struggle with her emotions, taken aback by the changes in her husband. Yet, she finds herself distracted by the mystery of her dreams, suddenly finding it of great importance to understand why she and Oliver have been haunting one another’s dreams and what it might mean.

While Mia loves her husband, the possibility of Oliver has her wondering… what if?

I don’t mind reading an emotional book, but I typically avoid anything that wreaks of a full-fledged tearjerker, especially when the author could have given the book the 'Hollywood' treatment and at least left us with the hope, or promise of a happier future.

One can look at this story in any number of ways, I suppose. Some get redemption, some get their heart’s desire, and there are a few silver linings too, so the ending isn’t a complete ‘ugly cry’ letdown.

Unfortunately, those silver linings were not enough to lift my spirits after the book ended. I felt like I’d been left with nothing concrete to grasp onto. I’d just invested all this time in these characters and felt stunned with how things turned out for them.

I needed to feel that fate would indeed intervene somewhere down the road and happier times were on the horizon- even if it was in the distant future. Alas, that was not to be. With some genres, like horror, for example, an unsettling conclusion is often effective and expected- and I love closing the book with a shiver running down my spine.

But, with a story like this one the dim conclusion was too depressing for my taste, leaving me with a feeling of melancholy. I read to escape from that feeling, which is all too common for many of us in real life- so, while the writing is fine, and the story is not a bad one, it’s just wasn’t my cup of tea.

3 stars
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Berit Talks Books.
2,011 reviews15.7k followers
January 8, 2020
This book hit me in the feels and then kicked me in the gut... hard! Colleen Oakley, WOW! What an emotional ride you took me on with your evocative storytelling! A beautiful story about marriage, grief, and fate. Have you ever had a dream and wondered what it meant? What if you dreamed about the same person over and over and over again? And then you met that person? Would you think that it was faded? Mia is happily married to Harrison. After the couple relocates to a small town in Pennsylvania she meets a man named Oliver. Oliver is no stranger to Mia, because he has been making an appearance in her dreams for years. When Oliver reveals to Mia that he has been dreaming of her as well she is convinced there is a profound reason for this. What follows is an intense story full of what ifs and hard choices.

I was so invested in this story and it was heartbreaking, there was just no possible good outcome. Both these men Harrison and Oliver were genuine good guys with compassionate hearts. Mia was going through a terrible time having just gone through her third miscarriage and now questioning everything. I totally empathize with Mia having gone through two miscarriages myself I understand what it is like to be consumed with having a baby and simultaneously feeling like a complete failure. I could completely understand why she was questioning her marriage even more so because Harrison was distancing himself. Three remarkable characters in a terrible conundrum. I really don’t want to say much more about this but I have read several reviews that allude to the ending. The ending of this book is brutal and heart wrenching, but in my opinion it was the perfect ending. I might be in the minority on this, but I thought it was the best way for this powerfully emotional story to end. OK well maybe not the best way, but the only way, the ending just really worked for me. I highly recommend this if you enjoy emotional stories, but be prepared to have your heart broken and don’t forget the Kleenex!

This book in emojis. 🎨 🎠 💔 😭

*** Big thank you to Berkley for my gifted copy of this book. All opinions are my own. ***

For more of my reviews and bookish thoughts please visit my blog
Profile Image for Larry H.
2,481 reviews29.4k followers
February 12, 2020
Wow, talk about a crazy, thought-provoking, emotional ride!⁣

Mia and her husband move to Hope Springs, a small Pennsylvania town, to escape personal and professional disasters. But while Harrison takes a job as a surgeon at the local hospital, Mia can’t seem to find anything to occupy her time or her mind, which makes her worry about her pregnancy, her third after two miscarriages.⁣ An artist, she also can't seem to find the focus to create anything new.

She is also troubled by her dreams. Since she was a teenager she’s dreamed of a handsome man. She sees him clearly, but she doesn't recognize him at all. Through the years the dreams have been intense, some sexual and some troubling. Who is this man? What do these dreams mean?

Then one day she meets him, in the most innocent of circumstances. It unravels her, especially when he tells her he’s been dreaming of her, too. Is she making too much out of all of this in an effort to compensate for everything else in her life? If not, how could this be possible? Did they meet at some point before? If not, how could they both be dreaming of someone they’ve never met?⁣

As they try to find answers, Mia realizes that her relationship with her husband is suffering at the same time. Why is he pulling away from her? She must decide which is more important: what is real or what might be destined in dreams.

This is a really interesting book which raised a lot of questions for me. I enjoyed it but it took a while to hit its stride and at times it meandered a bit. However, it left me a total emotional wreck at the end.

One thing I know for sure: this is my first Colleen Oakley book, but it won’t be my last!!⁣

Check out my list of the best books I read in 2019 at https://itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com/2020/01/the-best-books-i-read-in-2019.html.

Check out my list of the best books of the decade at https://itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com/2020/01/my-favorite-books-of-decade.html.

See all of my reviews at itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com.

Follow me on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/the.bookishworld.of.yrralh/.
Profile Image for Norma.
551 reviews12k followers
March 12, 2020
Evocative, distressing, & absolutely heart-wrenching!

YOU WERE THERE TOO by COLLEEN OAKLEY is a moving, intense, emotional, and an original love story that was quite the emotive and beautiful book to read. I was immediately intrigued and sucked into the narrative and absolutely loved the mysterious dream aspect to the storyline which had a slight supernatural vibe to it.

The tale is original and fresh! Something that I have definitely never read before. I was totally invested and all in the first half of the story and then the spark fizzled out for me a little bit and never really caught again. There was this niggling that I had with one aspect of the storyline that never really sat well with me, ultimately affecting me and my thoughts towards this one.

The story takes quite the unexpected and shocking turn that I never seen coming and threw me for a loop. After thinking about it I think this definitely worked and was quite clever but unfortunately my mind was already made up. I don’t think I have ever been as stubborn or unforgiving as I was with this one.

COLLEEN OAKLEY delivers quite the intriguing, raw, compelling, evocative, and well-written read here that definitely touched me in a deeply profound way. I think if a book can produce so many different emotions from we whether that be from deep affection to ruffling my feathers a little bit then the author has definitely produced one heck of a story whether I fully enjoyed it or not.

I read this one with my lovely friend and fellow Traveling Sister, Lindsay! Thanks so much for reading and discussing this one with me.

Norma’s Stats:
Cover: Intriguing, calming, tender, warmth, love, and a fitting representation to storyline.
Title: Clever, relevant, intriguing, and an effective and fitting representation to storyline. Love this title!
Writing/Prose: Well-written, easy to follow, evocative, entertaining, engaging and readable.
Plot: Unforgettable, heartfelt, intriguing, distressing, maddening, compelling, immersive, shocking, thought-provoking, steadily-paced, unpredictable, and entertaining.
Ending: I’m speechless, somewhat shaken, and a little bit perturbed about that ending!
Overall: This book was an unusual and intense read for me and even though I go into all my books blind the direction that this book took was nothing at all like what I expected. Would recommend!

Thank you so much to Elisha at Berkley Publishing for kindly sending me a copy of this book!

This review can also be seen at Traveling Sisters Book Reviews blog:
January 17, 2020
3 stars.

An emotional start that slowly fizzled out.

This book wasn’t what I expected. The writing was good, the characters were vivid, but the storyline was lacking. I enjoyed the novel, but didn’t love or truly connect with it. What started off strong and promising, became slow and lacklustre.

I read and loved this author, Colleen Oakley’s, book Close Enough To Touch. Perhaps my expectations were set too high after loving that one so much. I really enjoyed this book up to the 50% mark and then things went downhill. One of my main issues was the many times the main character put herself in vulnerable situations. After the halfway mark, I couldn’t “feel” for her and quite honestly, I grew frustrated and slightly annoyed with her.

This was a Traveling Sister read with Norma and we felt similar. Brenda read this earlier than us and enjoyed it more so. Please check out the many raving reviews before deciding on this.

Thank you to Edelweiss for providing me with an ARC!
Profile Image for David Putnam.
Author 16 books1,480 followers
June 3, 2021
Loved this book. Great writing craft. I dropped right into the story and was held in The Fictive Dream. I would rate the character voice above average, even superior. It’s written in first person present tense which adds to the immediacy of the story. I also have to admit I’m a sucker for a great premise and this one has it. Two people who don’t know each other dream about each other in different scenarios and eventually meet. The main character Mia is happily married to Harrison a wonderfully drawn husband. Mia has a perfect life, a perfect marriage (with one exception which I won’t reveal here) when she runs into Oliver the man who is having dreams with Mia in them.
In writing there is MAR, motivation action reaction, and the author here walks a razor-sharp line but pulls if off wonderfully. Since Harrison is motivated so well as being the perfect husband, Mia can’t step over the line and go after Oliver without the reader disliking Mia. I walked that line with the author and was stunned how she pulled it off. She juggled the motivation so well it becomes the main part of the tension, truly amazing writing. I was pulled along to not only to find out what was going to happen to the characters but also to watch the motivation, watch the tight rope act the author performed right under my nose. This is a five start that I highly recommend to those who like their romance novels with a literary edge.
David Putnam author of the Bruno Johnson series
January 7, 2020
You Were There Too explores love, commitment connections, chances, fate and what-ifs. It's a beautiful love story, and the more I think about it in more ways than one.

Our main characters here married couple Mia and Harrison experience challenges due to the heartache they experience as a couple. Each of them also has their conflicts within themselves. Mia has a secret and she literally meets the man of her dreams who is not Harrison. The man from her dreams has been dreaming of her too. The story takes an interesting and unique turn as they take on a journey to research their dream connection.

This is a story that I felt different about after I finished it then as I was reading it. It's heart-wrenching and shocking sad and at first, it was not the way I wanted it to go, but the more I think about it, I see how well it all together in the end. I highly recommend for anyone who loves a love story!

I received a copy from the publisher
Profile Image for Jayme.
1,107 reviews1,749 followers
January 7, 2020
Though the majority of the books that I read and review fall into the suspense/mystery/thriller category, I read any book that has a premise which intrigues me...

This was one of those.

Mia loves her husband Harrison.

But, she has recurring dreams of another man...one that she has never met.

Until, one day, when she comes face to face with the stranger in her dreams and discovers that his name is Oliver, and he has been dreaming about her too.

How can this be?
What can this mean?
Why have they finally met?

This book is a reflection on marriage, grief and fate.

It might make you cry.
It will probably tick you off.

But, as with ALL of Colleen Oakley's work..it will make you feel something! And, isn't that why we read?

I have loved all of her work-if you haven't read any of it yet-it's time to change that!

Available now!

Thank you to Edelweiss, Berkley and Colleen Oakley for providing me with a digital ARC in exchange for a candid review!
Profile Image for Christy.
3,758 reviews32k followers
February 20, 2023
4.25 stars

 photo CC3DCAFB-7E38-438C-8050-639BDBDC466F_zps0xdyhg5m.png
“Maybe instead of wondering why we're all connected, whats important, the only thing thats important is to know that we are.”
You Were There Too is one of those unforgettable reads. It’s also one of the saddest books I’ve ever read. It has such a bittersweet ending, but I cried buckets while reading it. It’s so hard to say that I ‘enjoyed’ this read, because it broke my heart, but I did love so much about it.

I went into this book with zero knowledge about the storyline, I just heard good things about it from book friends and went in blind. I highly recommend you do too. Colleen Oakley is an amazing writer and I’ll definitely be reading more of her works. This one is hard hitting and will leave an impact on you.
Profile Image for Tucker  (TuckerTheReader).
908 reviews1,585 followers
June 23, 2020

Many thanks to Berkley Publishing Group for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review

The romance genre has its problems which I discussed in my latest booktube video that you can click here to watch) but there are occasionally books like these that break down the problematic tropes.

Skip to 12:33 to here my thoughts on this specific book and what it does to push back against problems with the romance genre.

"What do you want? It's as simple as that. Who do you love? Who do you want to be with? Forget everything else."

When the final seconds of this book played through my headphones, I confidently press "rate 5 stars" but in the back of my mind, I was worried that the rating might go down once my initial emotions settled. It didn't.

Even after letting this amazing story digest for days, the raw emotion still remains in my heart.

So, what's this book about
Mia Graydon's life looks picket-fence perfect; she has the house, her loving husband, and dreams of starting a family. But she has other dreams too — unexplained, recurring ones starring the same man. Still, she doesn’t think much of them, until relocation to small-town Pennsylvania brings her face to face with the stranger she has been dreaming about for years. And this man harbors a jaw-dropping secret of his own—he's been dreaming of her too.

Determined to understand, Mia and this not-so-stranger search for answers. But when diving into their pasts begins to unravel her life in the present, Mia emerges with a single question—what if?

Acclaimed author Colleen Oakley delivers a heart-wrenching and unforgettable love story about a woman who must choose between the man she loves and the man fate has chosen for her in a novel that reminds us that the best life is one led by the heart.

I have to confess that I went into this book expecting a contemporary romance with a magical-realism twist. I did not expect to become so attached to the characters so quickly. I also didn't expect [SPOILER REDACTED] which broke my heart into a million piecesssssssssssssssssss. I STILL CAN'T EVEN BELIEVE COLLEEN OAKLEY DID THAT!!

This book goes even further beyond evoking raw emotion, though. It covers a lot of really deep themes and covers them in a way that most books don't.

The theme of this book that sometimes it's better to focus on the 'what is' instead of the 'what if' or 'what could be'. You can spend your entire life tortured by not knowing, chasing knowledge or you can simply accept the unknown and live in spite of it.

I also really, really loved Harrison and Mia's relationship. It was so realistic. I feel like we don't see enough married couples in romances. On top of that, we don't see enough married couples who are not perfectly married. It was really encouraging to read a story that is proudly saying 'Yes, couples fight. Couples disagree. Couples have problems but they fight for love anyway.'

Overall, this book made me chuckle and smile, but, most of all, it made me ugly cry. I cannot recommend this one enough!

Bottom Line:
5 stars
Age Rating - [ PG-13 ]
Content Screening (Mild Spoilers)
Educational Value (1/5) - [Medical terms/procedures]
Positive Messages (4/5) - [Choosing the 'what is' over the 'what could be', kindness, sacrifice]
Violence (2/5) - [Brief gun violence, off-page death]
Sex (3/5) - [Sexual themes, Kissing, Off-page sex]
Language (2/5) - [Brief and mild use of language]
Drinking/Drugs (3/5) - [Alcohol consumption, medicinal drugs]
Content and Trigger Warnings - Miscarriages, Loss of loved ones, Death, Depression, Appendicitis, Hospitals, Scene with psychic
Publication Date: January 7th, 2020
Publisher: Berkley Publishing Group
Genre: Contemporary/Romance




I requested this solely because I saw that it's set in Pennsylvania (where my family is from and where I go every holiday season)

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Profile Image for Diana | Book of Secrets.
776 reviews562 followers
January 7, 2020
YOU WERE THERE TOO was a wonderful, heartbreaking book. It was one that I couldn't wait to get back to, while at the same time dreading that it will end. I knew going in, with that premise, how could it not be a tearjearker? And it was, for sure, though surprisingly in a different way than I expected. The characters are genuine and flawed, and I cared deeply about them. This is a gripping story about love and fate, dreams and their meanings, and about what is and what could have been. Unique and thought-provoking...tissues a must. ♥

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader.
2,089 reviews30.1k followers
January 9, 2020
I love Colleen Oakley’s books, and I have been awaiting this new release! You Were There Too did not disappoint.

Mia Graydon appears to have it all with a loving husband and the plans of starting a family together. The problem is she keeps having dreams of the same man, a man who is not her husband. A man she doesn’t know.

When she moves to Pennsylvania, she runs into this stranger, only to find out he’s been dreaming of her, too.

Digging into their pasts, Mia is determined to find out what is happening and why.

What a beautiful, tender, original love story. I’m sure many of us have wondered “what if” for many of the decisions we have made in life. One right turn here, a visit to the local coffee shop there, and lives can turn out completely differently- perhaps for the better, perhaps not.

I have to stop there. This is a book that must unfold for you as you read it.

Colleen Oakley has written emotionally tender books from her very first one. She doesn’t hold back. She makes us feel. I LOVED these characters, and I could feel her love for them. Mia was like a friend, really struggling, but really good at choosing what was “right.” Both of the male leads were upstanding, good people. Loving with big hearts. The kind of men we want to read about.

How will this all end and with whom will Mia end up? You just have to read it. It’s a story to get lost in, and I had no idea where the conclusion would lead until I got there. Thank you for another powerful book, Colleen Oakley!

I received a complimentary copy from the publisher.

Many of my reviews can also be found on my blog: www.jennifertarheelreader.com and instagram: www.instagram.com/tarheelreader
Profile Image for Theresa Alan.
Author 10 books1,001 followers
August 17, 2019
4.5 stars rounded up. In real life, I don’t believe in psychics or premonitions or give much weight to dreams, but the joy of a well-written novel is that I can suspend disbelief and see where the story takes me.

I wasn’t particularly interested in the storyline about Mia wanting a baby and her grief over having several miscarriages because I feel like I’ve read that many times before. What makes this story interesting is that Mia keeps having these dreams about a man she’s never met, until she does meet him in the small town that she and her husband Harrison have moved to. When she meets Oliver in real life, she learns that he has also been having dreams about her.

I liked that I couldn’t predict the end.

Thanks to NetGalley for the opportunity to read this book, which RELEASES JANUARY 20, 2020.
Profile Image for Susanne.
1,157 reviews36.5k followers
May 8, 2021
Review to be posted on blog: https://books-are-a-girls-best-friend...

“You Were There Too” left me feeling little until the very end and THEN finally, a tear escaped.

A Case of Too Little Too Late.

When a novel drags on with a storyline that seemed wholly far-fetched, such that I almost dnf’d it several times but kept on, and felt absolutely nothing until the last 7-10%, I realize that I should have given up early on.

But alas I did not. A mistake on my part.

Mia is an artist, and her husband Harrison is a doctor. Having moved to Hope Springs from Philadelphia, both are hoping for a fresh start after a series of letdowns.

Mia is a dreamer. Her dreams are vivid. Somehow, she begins dreaming of another man. And then she sees him in real life. His name is Oliver. And then it begins.

If only this book made me feel something before the last 10%, It should have, given the storyline and yet, it did not. Something was simply missing, and I cannot place my finger on what.

Books that have tear-jerking moments late in the day, do nothing for me. I want to FEEL for characters and care what happens to them but sadly there was nothing in this book that grabbed me or gave me anything to hold on to, until the very end, and honestly, that simply wasn’t good enough for me.

As I am only one reader, I urge you to read other reviews for this book as I may simply be the wrong reader for this novel. Having read two other books by this author I think this book just wasn’t for me.

Thank you to my local library for loaning me a copy of this audiobook.

Published on Goodreads, Twitter, and Instagram.
Profile Image for Kelly (and the Book Boar).
2,415 reviews7,426 followers
February 12, 2020
Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/

^^^^tearjerker survival kit – copious amounts of snacks, Kleenex, tea (to drink and save the bags to put on your puffy eyeholes), warm fuzzy cuddly thing, etc.

In yet another display of how much I channel my inner Cartman on the regular and do what I want, let’s get real unconventional and “review” two books at once. I read these about a week or so apart. They have similar covers, they both have the modus operandi of destroying the reader via emotional manipulation, they both deal with a cheating aspect of sorts, both had female leads who were more than a bit self-centered. However, I loooooooooved You Were There Too and did not enjoy The Light We Lost much at all.

The Light We Lost was my mother-in-law’s book club book last month. They pick all sorts of stuff – sometimes I have read them, sometimes I have no desire to ever read them, sometimes I go ahead and get them from the library as was the case here. I didn’t know anything before beginning aside from the fact that it was a romance and I thought that was a pretty odd choice for a book club selection and that it begins with two people meeting in NYC on September 11th and then follows their story for 13 years. I have no idea if the ending was supposed to be a shocker, but I knew immediately upon starting what the “big reveal” was going to be to due the style of delivery used by Jill Santopolos. I also wanted to punch the narrator Lucy right in the babymaker and that never makes for a good time. I appreciated 9/11 simply being used as a jumping off point that brought two strangers together rather than some horrible manipulation at the end, but sadly there was plenty of attempted manipulation still to be had.

The flipside was You Were There Too. I received an advanced copy of it basically because I am a greedy whore who wants all the free things. I then completely missed the release date and forgot I even had it until people started posting pictures on Instagram and I saw it staring at me from across the room on my “shelf of shame.” As I said above, Mia was more than a bit focused on numero uno as well, and yet somehow I didn’t want to physically harm her like I did poor Lucy. I actually didn’t foresee all the reveals of this one – even the ending that could easily be predicted by most snuck up on me because I was so invested in the story. The “I���ve met you in my dreams” is what I call tropey yum-yum so this had that going for it as well. And most of all, it made me have the feelz. In order to maintain my street cred, Imma go ahead and blame that one on . . . .

Many thanks to Berkley for the advanced copy in exchange for my review and my homies at the library for always hooking me up with everything else I want to read.
Profile Image for Chris  C - A Midlife Wife.
1,485 reviews261 followers
October 31, 2019
Not the way I wanted this one to go... this ending killed me.
The story left me with definite mixed feelings to a degree. It’s even somewhat of a difficult story to explain other than it has to do with dreams.

Have you ever dreamt of a person or situation and then it came true? Or maybe you had a déjà vu experience before. That’s usually from a dream that you probably didn’t remember.

This book is about dreams where two people who are random strangers, it appears, meet and discover many interesting things about themselves. One is married and the other is single. But there’s definitely a connection that both of them feel.

I was afraid of those feelings as I read this book. About a third of the way in I already knew the story was not going to end the way I want it to.

You see I absolutely loved Harrison and Mia together. They have a deep bond. A beautiful relationship that’s very supportive of each other, or so it seems.

Oakley wove the story in and out through the dreams, through this family connection, even through the community connections. It was a guessing game page by page as they desperately try to connect how they knew each other and why there was this intense pull.

And then little by little my heart broke. I hate the ending. Honestly I do. And that is where I have mixed feelings.

That’s not to say Oakley didn’t give us a highly complex, intricate story that is riveting and emotional. She is a prodigious writer and certainly did. But I so needed a happier ending. This one left me craving more… and knowing her style now, that is probably what she wanted.

Not to be missed!

*Copy received for review consideration
Full Review - https://amidlifewife.com/you-were-the...
Profile Image for Reading_ Tamishly.
4,178 reviews2,240 followers
February 27, 2021
Exactly the kind of book which I tend to love but actually end up hating.
Yes, I read each and every word of the entire book afraid that I might miss out on the teeny tiny bit of the read that would make all the difference. Oh boy! It was really tiresome and useless to do so. Midway I wanted to DNF this book. But some things which did not make me dnf were : the characters were annoying and confused all the time yet they were engaging; the main couple were dealing with miscarriages and loss so I wanted to know how they deal with it; the man in the dreams (Oliver) was a constant presence and the husband (Harrison) was okay with it most of the time; the main character is an artist in grief (I usually love these kind of characters); Harrison is a medico trying to come in terms with his medical profession and regrets/mistakes; the side characters are lively and fun; the ending wasn't predictable.
However, it turns out to be one of the most disappointing reads ever.
Because the characters didn't develop that much towards the end. The blurb is not misleading but the whole book did not make much sense and didn't leave much of an impact. Bits and parts are enjoyable and emotional (I could totally feel what the characters were going through) but it wasn't just enough. I so wanted to love them, get attached to them. But the characters were just damn annoying and tiring. Sixty percent of the book in between the beginning and the ending is just a one or two line repetition and rambling.

It's the ending that would make the book good for some but it turned out as something really bad for me. It wasn't even necessary to end the book like that. It made the characters look so dumb, stupid and heartless. (No, I won't ruin the book for you.) It just made me sooooo angry. And the whole book ended up a mess. No. I don't want to read something like this ever again.
Profile Image for DeAnn.
1,297 reviews
February 4, 2020
4 broken-hearted stars

This is my first read from Colleen Oakley and my emotions were all over the place! This one features Mia and her husband Harrison, a doctor. They’ve just moved to a small Pennsylvania town and Mia, an artist, is trying to get settled.

They’ve been struggling to start a family and her husband doesn’t think he can watch her go through another miscarriage. This has led to a great deal of strain on their marriage. I was really rooting for them to make it!

The really intriguing part of this one centers around the recurring dreams that Mia has of another man. Really intriguing because in this small town – she comes face to face with him! Has she met Oliver somewhere before or is he a complete stranger? Why does she keep dreaming about him?

As Mia’s marriage gets to rocky ground, should she turn to Oliver? Is it meant to be? These were tough questions because I really grew to like both men.

The ending of this one is what truly broke my heart, but as I thought it through, it seems to be the way the stars aligned. I was supposed to be reading another book when I spotted this one at the library. I was just going to read the first chapter, but I found that I couldn’t put it down! You got me Colleen Oakley! I’ll be reading some of your earlier books now.
Profile Image for Astrid - The Bookish Sweet Tooth.
793 reviews869 followers
January 6, 2020

AUTHOR: Colleen Oakley
RELEASE DATE: January 7, 2020
GENRE: Fiction, Women's Fiction
THEMES & TROPES: Family, Marriage, Supernatural
CLIFFHANGER: No, but open ending


Maybe instead of wondering why we’re all connected, what’s important—the only thing that’s important—is to know that we are.

I think you need to experience this story with as little information as possible. What you need to know though is that this is not romance - but it's a love story. This book does not have a classical happily ever after. I was honest to God scared about this book before I started - I love my HEAs and I rarely read books that don't have one. So I steeled my heart (to no avail, of course) and went in.

In YOU WERE THERE TOO we meet Harrison and Mia, a married couple who, on the outside, have everything. They are for all intents and purposes happy together. But of course it can't stay that way. As it is often the case, miscommunication leads to rocky times.
 Love isn’t supposed to hurt. But really, if you’re doing it right, love hurts all the time.

Here are the things I absolutely loved about this story:

The characters
Mia - so damned likable, relatable and human. She'd had dreams about another man for years - when she met Oliver she felt safe enough to talk to Harrison about it - I really loved that. She struggled with her attraction to Oliver but at no time I doubted her deep love for her husband.
Harrison - this man was so incredibly good and kind and funny. And so so troubled. I wanted to hug him hard and talk some sense into him. My heart broke for him.
Oliver - I wanted to dislike him. I really did but I couldn't because he, too, was a good guy who was confused about the dreams he'd had.

The plot
* This story must have been a nightmare to plot. Everything, every word, every gesture, every scene serves a purpose. And everything is tied up with a bow and at no time the author takes the easy way out. It was so well planned and executed that I was left pretty speechless at the end of it.
* There is also a certain balance and righteousness that gives everything sense and purpose.
* It was so unpredictable and unique, I just couldn't put it down until I had all the answers.
* The realism despite the metaphysical aspect was astounding.
Mia’s sadness is his sadness and he’d carry it around with him like water in a bucket until the end of his days if it meant that she didn’t have to.

Mia and Harrison
* I adored them together. I thought they had a strong marriage but the author shows the reader that even a solid relationship can get in trouble. Their love for one another was so palpable, despite everything.
* The despair I felt when they were at an impasse was...I only wanted them to be happy again. I rooted so hard for their relationship.

And in that moment, our eyes locked, I see my husband, and I remember all at once how much I love him. And I wonder how I could ever forget, even for a second.

The impeccable writing
* This author can write up a storm. She has so much talent, it's crazy. I want to see her writing romance - I'm sure she'd be incredible.

Sprinkled in between you have light moments that take the edge off of the angst but at the same time I hated them because they were so sweet and I knew it wouldn't stay that way.

This year is six days old and I've already read two amazing books by authors I've never read before. I can't believe my luck. With YOU WERE THERE TOO Colleen Oakley ripped my heart out and never put it back together, yet I can't be mad at her. This book left me sad, yes, but also with a sense of hope - the end is left open and that's good. Everything else would cheapen what these characters went through. This thought-provoking story was hard to read but I'm so glad I took a chance. It will linger with me for a while. Colleen earned herself a spot on my auto-read list.
It's him.
It's always been him.

January 13, 2020
For years Mia has had dreams involving a man that she has never met. These recurring visions seem so real yet she has never shared their existence with anyone. She recently moved to a small town in Pennsylvania where her husband Harrison is a surgeon. He has a demanding schedule and Mia tries to occupy her time painting and looking for a crafty job. Together they dream of building a family but several miscarriages have put stress on their relationship.

While shopping with her husband, Mia sees the man who lives in her dreams. His name is Oliver, and his sister is Harrison’s patient. It turns out the Oliver has had parallel dreams connecting him to Mia. Together they try to unravel the mystery of this connection while deciphering the significance and truth of these visions.

Colleen Oakley's novel touches upon the joyful and complicated aspects of life and love. The characters are portrayed as complicated and relatable as they forge through decisions about the future. I anticipate more unique books by this author.
Profile Image for Kat.
Author 8 books329 followers
June 8, 2020
Whew, this book! The premise is that a woman has been having dreams of the same man ever since she was in high school… and then suddenly, he appears in her life. Of course, she’s already married and has her own life. Complications. This was an interesting story that kept me reading from start to end. The author had wonderful pacing, lots of surprises and oh the twists I didn’t see coming!

Trigger Warnings:

Please excuse typos/name misspellings. Entered on screen reader.
Profile Image for Denise.
509 reviews359 followers
February 3, 2020
A friend recently gave me this book and told me to not make any snap judgments after reading the blurb on the back - she knows I am not a big fan of books focusing on magical realism and/or telepathic, prophetic dreams and not even a big reader of the romance genre. I agreed and must say that I was pleasantly surprised and charmed by this book!

Admittedly, I read a few reviews prior to reading it, and thought it might end up being a "cheating-is-okay-because-he's-my-dream-soulmate," book, but it turned out to be anything but that. For years, protagonist, Mia, has had dreams involving a man that she has never met. She and her surgeon husband, Harrrison, tired of city life for reasons explained later in the book, move from Philadelphia to a small town outside of Philly. Harrison has a demanding schedule and seems to shutting Mia out of his life. Add multiple miscarriages and disagreement over fertility treatments and their relationship is at the brink of falling apart. One day while shopping at a local grocery mart, Mia sees the man who haunts her dreams. Come to find out, his sister is her husband's patient and it turns out that he has had parallel dreams connecting him to Mia as well. They decide to unravel the conundrum of their dreams and decipher the meaning of their connection.

Several times I thought "oh, this is where it all heads south," but amazingly, it never did. Instead, as I became more immersed in the story, I found it wasn’t what I was expecting at all. I thought Oakley did a fabulous job at painting a realistic picture of marriage, with its ups and downs, and I really connected with all of the characters, as well as with the bittersweet ending.

In the end, it was a unique experience for me. It moved me tears, and made me think about the choices we make and fate's role in our lives. It wasn’t the read I was expecting, but it was definitely a story I was glad to lose myself in for a time. 4 unique, gut-wrenching stars!
Profile Image for Zoe.
1,788 reviews160 followers
January 5, 2020
Pensive, fresh, and absolutely heart-wrenching!

You Were There Too is a moving, mysterious tale that takes us into the life of Mia Graydon, a young, married woman struggling with the recent move to a small-town, a marriage strained by multiple miscarriages and stressful careers, secrets, depression, and the sudden real-life appearance of the man of her dreams.

The prose is heartfelt and immersive. The characters are flawed, troubled, and genuine. And the multi-layered, unpredictable plot is an absorbing tale about life, loss, love, grief, friendship, relationship dynamics, forgiveness, hope, happiness, and romance all interwoven with a thread of the paranormal.

Overall, You Were There Too is a compelling, heartbreaking, thought-provoking novel that reminds us that life is complicated and messy, the choices we make often have far-reaching consequences, and sometimes, perhaps, things are truly just destined to happen.

Thank you to Penguin Random House Canada for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Pavlina Read more sleep less blog  .
2,434 reviews4,563 followers
January 8, 2020
4-4,5 STARS

A really unique,emotional and unforgettable story.I don't know what to say with this one, I think you should go blind.It's a book that will make you have so many feelings, and also wondering for things.


I find the story brilliant, and realistic in the relationships.What I loved most about this story is that I couldn't decide how this story I wanted to end.This changed a lot through the end.I have different opinions.

I'm definitely going to read more books from this author!I love the writing and her story was compelling and captivating!


Profile Image for Aga Durka.
199 reviews60 followers
January 16, 2020
The only reason why I decided to read this book, since I don’t tend to request ARCs of contemporary romances, was that I got to read one of the author’s previous books, Close Enough to Touch, which I enjoyed tremendously. And I am so happy that once again I ventured out of my comfort zone and read this book. This turned out to be so much more than just another romance book. One of the things that I really loved about this story is the topic of dream interpretations, psychics, and premonitions. Of course to fully enjoy this book I had to be willing to suspend disbelief just a little, and once I did that the book became quite addictive and thought provoking.

Thank you Edelweiss, Berkley, and the author for providing me with an ARC copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.
Profile Image for Bkwmlee.
372 reviews242 followers
January 18, 2020
3.5 stars

This is a book that left me conflicted and struggling for quite some time trying to sort out how I felt about the story and its characters. When I read the summary and understood the premise of the story would be about a woman who repeatedly sees the same man in her dreams and then upon meeting him in real life, she finds out he sees her in his dreams as well, the first thought that popped into my head was that this would perhaps be yet another love story involving time-travel. I’ve actually read a few time-travel related romances the past few years and my reaction to them has been mostly mixed – some I enjoyed immensely while others I really struggled through…so going into this, I had a certain expectation of what this book would be like. Well, it turns out I was wrong, as this book actually had nothing at all to do with time travel – rather, this was a uniquely original love story about fate and coincidence and the complexities of relationships, with their constant ups-and-downs.

I found the premise interesting, however the story actually didn’t grab me right away – in fact, if I’m being honest, I don’t think the story really resonated much with me at all. While I appreciate the way the author, Colleen Oakley, wrote her characters in a way that made them feel genuine – and overall I did like the characters for the most part – I never felt truly connected with them. I’m not sure if it has to do with where I am in my life currently or perhaps I just don’t read enough in this particular genre, but I didn’t seem to feel the emotional connection to this story that many other readers did. I didn’t cry or feel heartbroken during the parts where I think that type of reaction would’ve been expected – instead, I was annoyed more than I was moved, mostly with the character of Mia, and later, with the direction that the story, specifically the plot, eventually took.

Writing-wise, I didn’t have much of a problem with this one, as the writing flowed well, though I do have to say that the strongest parts of the book, for me at least, were the ones not narrated by Mia. I enjoyed those chapters more because it gave me a chance to see those characters on their own rather than through the lens of Mia’s limited (and flawed) perspective. I also appreciated the way those chapters – and what we learn of the characters from those chapters – eventually tied back into the plot. Though with that said, I have to agree with some of the other readers who indicated in their reviews that they felt the second half of the book was not as strong, and the ending especially seemed a bit contrived and forced. I think for me, what kept me reading more than anything else was curiosity and wanting to know what this whole thing with Mia dreaming about a stranger she’s never met before only to discover that stranger had been dreaming about her too, was actually about and how the author would resolve the story.

Overall, I feel this was a decent read, one I did enjoy while I was reading it, but not a story that will stay with me. I think the best approach with this book is to go into it without any expectations or preconceived notions – instead, let the story unfold whichever way it ends up doing and see where it takes you. In retrospect, I think I would’ve enjoyed this one more if I had taken that approach from the beginning.

Received ARC from Berkley (Penguin Publishing) via Edelweiss.
Profile Image for MicheleReader.
681 reviews124 followers
February 8, 2020
I finished You Were There Too late, late last night as I needed to know how this emotional and thought-provoking book ended. My initial reaction was, "Huh? That's it? Over?" And I decided not to write my review and thought it best to let the story of Mia and her two loves percolate. I now come back to the table with a stronger review than I would have written if I had rushed to it last night. The premise of two people who may or may not be destined for one another having each been dreaming of the other (in Mia's case, for years) needs you to suspend reality and simply accept it. A young, loving couple going through tough times is hard to read but was very real. The introduction to Mia’s waking life of a wonderful man from her dreams certainly complicates things. You may or may not like the ending but it makes sense. And you will cry. Many thanks to Edelweiss, Berkley/Penguin Publishing and Ms. Oakley for an advance copy.

Review posted on my blog MicheleReader.com
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