My blogger friend Ari has been after me to read Roni Lauren’s The Ones Who Got Away series for a while now. With a bunch of ARCs off my TBR shelf and the fact that the third book in this series showed up from the library, I decided to finally jump in and binge read the series.
What’s it all about?
This series is about four friends. Olivia, Rebecca, Taryn, and Kincaid were not friends in high school, but after they survived a high school shooting they formed a bond. Time has gone by and they haven’t quite kept in touch as much as they promised. All of that changes with a documentary to commemorate the anniversary of the Long Acre tragedy. Now they’re back to make good on things they promised themselves and the students lost in the shooting.
The Ones Who Got Away, book #1 – ★ ★ ★ ½
The first book is Olivia’s story. Liv was the poor girl in high school who didn’t quite fit in, was a little wild and looked the part. Back then, she had a secret romance with popular football player Finn. That ended with the tragedy. When the documentary pulls adult Liv and Finn back to Long Acre, they find that their attraction to each other never went away.
Liv and Finn’s second chance romance was sweet. Both had turned into hardened versions of their younger selves. I loved that being together softened some of those hard spots. I also loved how they were given the chance to right wrongs between them and be the positive influences on each other to finally help them deal with their loses and move on.
The One You Can’t Forget, book 2 – ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
First we got Liv’s story, now it’s time for Rebecca’s. Rebecca is a divorce lawyer who is good at her job. She works for her dad and lacks passion in her life. That changes when Rebecca is saved from a mugging by a dog and a chef named Wes. Rebecca quickly realizes Wes is man whose ex-wife she helped. Wes and Rebecca don’t like each other, but they have a chemistry they can’t step away from. The more they learn about each other, the more they realize maybe they aren’t the people they thought they were.
I’m not going to lie, I was surprised at how much I liked Rebecca’s story. I wasn’t a big fan of her character in the first book. I ended up really liking her in this book. She and Wes had this great enemies to more thing going on. I loved how much both Rebecca and Wes grew in this story. Rebecca found her passion and Wes learned to let go of his past. There was also an interesting story with one of Wes’ culinary students that I thought made this story even more emotional and important. The One You Can’t Forget ended up being my favorite in the series.
The One You Fight For, book 3 – ★ ★ ★ ★
Taryn didn’t really stand out for me in the first couple of books. I didn’t really remember anything about her. This book made her shine, though. I loved her relationship with Shaw. I can’t believe that Roni Loren was able to pull off uniting the brother of a school shooter and one of the victim’s sisters. It was pretty amazing the way she did that — and in a way that was respectful and honest. I really liked this book.
I kind of just gave you a basic wrap up of my thoughts on the love stories of each book. What I left out was the role of the friendships in them. I really loved how the women rallied around each other. They gave advice and pushed each other out of their comfort zones. The event that bonded them was ugly, but the friendships that came out of it were lifelong.
I feel like need to point out this entire series is written in third person. That’s not my favorite, but it worked because Roni Loren is a talented writer. I didn’t even notice it. That’s high praise from me.
The only thing that I would complain about in these books is that they were slower reads for me. There were lulls in each book that had me pushing myself to read. I don’t know if it was the length of the books or just me at the moment. These were all very emotional and maybe binging them took more out of me than I expected.
Finally, my favorite thing about this series is that it wasn’t about the actual shooting. It was about the aftermath years later. I was shown how the characters tried to move on, their challenges, and feelings about everything. That was smart because it brought to attention something that isn’t done in books on the subject very often or at all.
Now, I just need that fourth book to come out…