Slick’s Review – The Ones Who Got Away (The Ones Who Got Away #1) by Roni Loren

While The Ones That Got Away featured a reunited lovers story, this book was a thought provoking, emotional, and hopeful story of loss, love, and the power to keep going after a tragedy strikes. ~ Slick, Guilty Pleasures 

Blurb:
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.

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…

I read the ARC of this book at a very difficult time, weeks after two mass shootings in the U.S. and so it tore my heart out from the start. Twelve years after a mass shooting at their high school prom several classmates who survived are reunited for a documentary about the incident and where they are today. While the incident cast a heavy shadow on this book and there is no doubt all the characters in it were affected by it in some way, author Roni Loren managed to temper those heavy moments with hope, laughter, and the message to live your life without apologies. The Ones That Got Away was a brilliant and hopeful love story and worthy of being made into a movie.

There were really two parts to this story one was the romance between Liv and Finn who had a secret love affair back in high school and the other was the story of four women who became friends after the incident while in group therapy. I honestly can’t say which part of the story I liked the best because they were both special and expertly written. I’ll start with the four women; as teens they really didn’t travel in the same social circles and weren’t friends, but the tragedy they survived and the feelings they shared during their therapy bonded them together.
Together again after twelve years, they open a time capsule of letters that bring forth a wave of emotions and have each of them reassessing their lives. This leads to Liv making some decisions and revisiting her relationship with Finn, but Finn has some guilt stemming from the incident and the danger he feels he placed Liv in on that fateful night.

Over the course of the summer Finn and Liv reacquaint themselves with each other and get to know the adults they’ve become, they share a lot and while they are both counting down to when Finn will have to leave again for his job, they both fall hopelessly in love again. During their time together they deal with their feelings from the incident, their pain, fears, and the different roads they took after high school but Ms. Loren softens that with flirty, sexy fun taking what could have been an extremely heavy story and making it a beautiful romance.

While The Ones That Got Away featured a reunited lovers story, this book was a thought provoking, emotional, and hopeful story of loss, love, and the power to keep going after a tragedy strikes. I can’t wait to see what Ms. Loren has in store for the other three women.

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