by Roni Loren
Series: The Ones Who Got Away #1
Published by Sourcebooks Casablanca on January 2, 2018
Sub-Genre/Theme: Contemporary, Cops
Format: ARC, Ebook
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I received an advance copy of this book from 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. The smooth face was now dusted with scruff, and the look in his deep green eyes held no trace of boyish innocence. A thousand things were in those eyes. A thousand things welled up in Liv.
The Ones Who Got Away by Roni Loren is the first romance novel I’ve ever read that centers around a school shooting. That might sound like an odd combination, but it makes sense when you think about it.
The media named them The Ones Who Got Away: survivors of the Long Acre High School shooting, one of the deadliest in U.S. history. Twelve years later, a documentary is being made about the tragedy. In many ways, the survivors are still trying to figure out who they are—inextricably tangled with the event, despite their best efforts not to be defined by it.
Olivia Arias is a successful web designer whose life is dictated by work. Once a rebellious wild child in high school who dreamed big dreams for herself, she now seeks security and safety in the familiar and mundane.
The night of the shooting, Liv was with Finn Dorsey, the popular jock from the right side of the tracks. They had kept their romance secret—Liv was just the purple-haired daughter of a landscaper, a girl who didn’t run with the cool kids or the rich ones. But Liv and Finn connected in a way that neither of them ever forgot.
Twelve years later, Finn is an undercover cop still wrestling with the demons of years ago. He has learned to shut off his emotions from the rest of the world in order to get his job done. But when Liv comes back into his life, he finds it’s not so easy to turn away from the girl he could never forget.
This book touches on so many issues: tragedy, grief, PTSD, family, friendship, and many others. These heavy topics are balanced perfectly with a wry sense of humor and heady flirtation between Liv and Finn.
Liv and Finn’s chemistry is beyond smoking. Since they have history together, they have a foundation of friendship that makes their romance that much more rewarding when it progresses into more.
I also loved the female friendships between Liv and her small tribe of fellow survivors, who I’m sure we’ll see again in future books in the series. These women support and uphold each other in their moments of greatest need.
The premise of the plot—the shooting—is always treated with care and balanced with the survivors’ reconciliation of how exactly to go on living following such a horrific event.
I can’t stress enough what a wonderful book this is and how much I’m looking forward to the next book in the series. To me, romance is ultimately about hope. Hope beyond tragedy and love in spite of loss. The Ones Who Got Away is about all those things and so much more.
Rating: 5 stars