ARC Review: The Ones Who Got Away (The Ones Who Got Away, #1) by Roni Loren

The Ones Who Got Away

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Review

Love, love, love this book!

5 stars!

From the moment I read the synopsis of this book, I knew I needed to read this one, and it was just as amazing as I was hoping it would be. Beautifully heartfelt and emotional with a chemistry-filled, sexy, romantic and functional second-chance-love story. I freaking loved it!

The book begins 12 years after Prom night at Long Acre High School turned into one of the worst mass school shootings in history. Now the survivors from the deadly attack are returning to the scene of the nightmare to be interviewed for a documentary, reliving the night that changed their whole lives.

“The ones who got away never really get away. Those sick bastards changed us – have their fingerprints all over our lives.”

Olivia Arias hasn’t returned to her home town since she graduated. She escaped that night without injury, but was left with emotional scars and panic attacks that continue to plague her. She tried to drown her bad memories with partying and meaningless hook-ups, but now she does little more than work, having lost the passion that she once felt for her life.

Teen Liv had been racked with anxiety and nightmares, but still, she’d craved adventure. Art.
Passion.
She’d believed she could still have it.
What did grown-up Liv believe? Want?
Did she even know?

Being back in town puts her on edge, but it does allow her to catch up with the group of girls that formed a support group after the attack and who had each other’s backs through the tumultuous months that followed. And then there is Finn Dorsey, her high school boyfriend who is now all grown up and just as gorgeous as he always was.

Liv and Finn haven’t seen each other since they both left town, but their reconnection resparks their strong attraction – though neither of them are in a place where they feel able to act on it. Liv hasn’t opened her heart to anybody since Finn was a part of her life, and Finn is struggling with his own demons. In additional to dealing with similar issues to the others who walked away from that night, he battles with the additional guilt in knowing that he walked away from the girl he loved that night to save the ‘date’ he was pressured into taking. Liv was from the ‘poor’ side of town, and a relationship between them was forbidden by his father, so everything they did together happened in private. But that doesn’t mean it wasn’t everything to him.

After being declared a hero for saving his date during the attack (something which still causes him endless guilt), Finn went on to become an FBI agent, determined to take out the worst of the worst, and losing himself in undercover work for months and even years at a time. He’s just come out from deep cover and is trying to recover himself, when Liv unexpectedly walks back into his life.

She’d been pretty in high school. Quirky cool But now she was just flat-out beautiful. And successful. And hella smart. And off-fucking-limits.

OMG, the chemistry between Liv and Finn absolutely sizzles! And while Finn is all for reconnecting for real, Liv is terrified of getting attached. But when she is reminded of the promises she made to herself at the end of her senior year – to bravely live the life that so many others brutally lost, it encourages her to break free of the chains she has put on her life and embrace everything that she has been missing out on. So when Finn offers her the perfect opportunity to do so, it sets the scene for their reunion to get even cosier.

It’s a tentative beginning, but Liv and Finn very quickly slip back into the easy friendship they always shared – just with a whole heap of sexual tension to keep things really interesting. It’s smart and funny, and the banter is absolutely sensational, and I laughed so many times while reading. Their playfulness is balanced by the strong emotional connection between the two of them, and as they navigate their reunion, they are completely honest with each other about what they want and what they are able to offer each other, and from start to finish the chemistry is intense, the sexual tension is perfect and it’s all so functional!

“I’m feeling kind of terrified … But at least I’m feeling something. You make me feel something.”

There’s no stupid, no game playing and I could feel everything that was developing between them and I loved every freaking moment of it! It’s not easy, and they certainly have challenges they need to deal with, but it develops naturally and realistically without falling into the all-too common ‘drama just for the sake of drama’ pit, and I loved watching it all unfold. Smart, sweet, fun, emotional and passionately intense, I could feel everything between Liv and Finn, and I was so invested watching them battle their demons and figure it all out.

“This – us – is never going to be platonic … We may be able to keep from going to bed together because we’re trying to be smart about this, but don’t fool yourself into thinking that the thing we have between us is going to go away. The attraction is always there. Knowing we can’t have it makes it worse.”

“I don’t want to hurt you,” he said softly. “But I can’t seem to stop myself from wanting you.”

While primarily a love story, I was drawn into the dramatic elements of the story as the book provides us with a realistic and fascinating look at how survivors move on from a tragic and brutally violent attack. I could feel the horror that they went through, how it impacted them when it happened, and how it continue to be such a huge part of their lives. It’s tragic and terrifying, and I thought that the emotional parts of the book were really well written.

“Those sick assholes stole not just my friends’ lives but the could be’s from us. We never got to find out who we would’ve been otherwise. Before we were aftermath.”

But the drama doesn’t overshadow the story, it simply forms the background to the wonderful love story, and the story of friends reconnecting and figuring out who they are, what they want, and finding the courage to reach for it.

I loved the involvement of Liv’s friends, and was thrilled to learn while reading this book that this is actually a series, and that they will also have their stories told. They are a fantastic bunch of characters (Kincaid rocked my world, Rebecca fascinated and impressed me, and I want to know more about Taryn), each very unique and with their own challenges to deal with, and I cannot wait to get my hands on their books.

I loved this book. Not only is it an absolutely gorgeous romance, but the drama adds a unique and interesting dynamic that works into the story perfectly, and I finished this book with a huge grin on my face and hugging my kindle.

Broken glass still made art.
Sometimes the most beautiful kind.

5 fantastic stars.

 

The Ones Who Got Away

  

The Ones Who Got Away (Liv & Finn)
Review
Buy:  Kindle Ebook  |  Paperback

The Ones You Can’t Forget (#2) (Rebecca & Wes)
To be released 5 June 2018
Pre-order:  Kindle Ebook  |  Paperback

 

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