Title: The Ones Who Got Away by Roni Loren
The Ones Who Got Away Series Book One
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 384 pages
Book Rating: B+
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
It’s been twelve years since tragedy struck the senior class of Long Acre High School. Only a few students survived that fateful night—a group the media dubbed The Ones Who Got Away.
Liv Arias thought she’d never return to Long Acre—until a documentary brings her and the other survivors back home. Suddenly her old flame, Finn Dorsey, is closer than ever, and their attraction is still white-hot. When a searing kiss reignites their passion, Liv realizes this rough-around-the-edges cop might be exactly what she needs…
Liv’s words cut off as Finn got closer. The man approaching was nothing like the boy she’d known. The bulky football muscles had streamlined into a harder, leaner package and the look in his deep green eyes held no trace of boyish innocence.
The Ones Who Got Away series:
The Ones Who Got Away (Book 1)
The One You Can’t Forget (Book 2)
The One You Fight For (Book 3)
The Ones Who Got Away by Roni Loren is a sweet yet steamy second chance at love romance that is both poignant and uplifting. This first installment in The Ones Who Got Away series features four friends twelve years after they survived a fictitious high school shooting that occurred during prom.
In high school, Olivia “Liv” Arias was a bit of a rebel with a quirky fashion sense. The daughter of a landscaper, her family expected her to follow a traditional path of attending college and earning a sensible degree. After surviving the horrific shooting at her high school, Liv went a bit off the rails afterwards, but since graduating college, she is focused on her career as a web designer. Returning to her hometown for an interview about the shooting, she reunites with the three friends who supported each other after the massacre and surprisingly, her secret high school boyfriend, Finn Dorsey. Meeting face to face for the first time since that ill-fated night that forever changed their lives, Liv and Finn discover their attraction still burns brighter than ever, but with their lives taking very different paths, is there any chance for a future together?
After opening the time capsule Liv, Rebecca Lindt, Kincaid Breslin and Taryn Landry buried after the mass shooting, all of the women realize how far their lives have diverged from their high school dreams. Liv gave up her dreams of becoming a photographer and while satisfied with her web design career, she quickly realizes how empty and sterile her life has become. She has no close friendships and while she has enjoyed many casual flings, she has never had a serious relationship with any of the men she has dated. These realizations lead to her to reassess her life and while initially uncertain about making any major changes, Liv finally decides it is time to step out of her comfort zone just a bit. Deciding to begin her photography hobby again, Liv accepts Finn’s (platonic) offer to spend weekends at the lake house he is renting for the summer.
Just like Liv and the other survivors, Finn also struggled to overcome the adverse effects of the shooting. He chose to face his fears head on and he eventually entered into a career in law enforcement. After the end of a very long and difficult case, Finn has no choice but to take time off from work. Spending time with Liv is no hardship but he does have to work hard to keep their interactions strictly platonic. While he greatly enjoys Liv’s company, Finn unexpectedly has to wrestle with his burning desire for his former flame while also experiencing residual guilt from their teenage romance and the night of the shooting.
There are absolutely no expectations from either Liv or Finn about their renewed acquaintance. They genuinely enjoy each other’s company and despite their mutual attraction, both agree friendship is the wisest course for them. However, they finally decide they can handle a no strings fling that will end when Finn departs at summer’s end. But with such a complicated history between them, will Liv and Finn be able to keep their hearts out of their fun, flirty and sizzling hot summer romance?
The Ones Who Got Away is a heartfelt and engaging romance. Liv and Finn are endearing characters who have managed to thrive despite their traumatic past. Roni Loren handles the details of the mass shooting and the aftereffects in the survivors in a forthright and sensitive manner. The obstacles that Liv and Finn must overcome on their way to happily ever after are realistic and the resolution of the conflict that threatens their future together is unexpectedly romantic. The novel’s conclusion is emotional but at the same time, immensely gratifying. Rebecca’s cryptic comments regarding the shooting will leave readers impatiently awaiting the next installment in The Ones Who Got Away series.