Thursday, January 10, 2019

The One You Fight For (The Ones Who Got Away #3) by Roni Loren

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How hard would you fight for the one you love? 

Taryn Landry was there that awful night fourteen years ago when Long Acre changed from the name of a town to the title of a national tragedy. Everyone knows she lost her younger sister. No one knows it was her fault. Since then, psychology professor Taryn has dedicated her life's work to preventing something like that from ever happening again. Falling in love was never part of the plan...

Shaw Miller has spent more than a decade dealing with the fallout of his brother's horrific actions. After losing everything―his chance at Olympic gold, his family, almost his sanity―he's changed his name, his look, and he's finally starting a new life. As long as he keeps a low profile and his identity secret, everything will be okay, right?

When the world and everyone you know defines you by one catastrophic tragedy...

How do you find your happy ending?

Source: advance e-galley provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review

The One You Fight For follows yet another survivor of the Long Acre High School shooting. Taryn along with Liv, Finn and Rebecca from the previous books were brought back together by a documentary in which they participated. Since then we've come to know how they've coped since the shooting.

Taryn is definitely interesting because of the unique way she has chosen to move forward with her life. As a professor who has done extensive research into sociopathic behaviour she hopes to put her work to good use. Since her life was spared she wants to make sure that everything she does makes a difference and brings about positive changes. But she's always gingerly towing the line between being the dutiful daughter and letting her creative side break through. 

At the other end there's Shaw who's life was upended by the shooting because of his relation to the killer. Though he didn't pull the trigger he's carried the guilt and shame of what happened. His life fell apart and his future took on a far different trajectory than what he was destined for. He moved away for a while to escape all the unwanted attention and was convinced to come back to Austin to start up a business. 

This isn't necessarily a case of opposites attract but two people at opposite ends of the same tragedy.. Somehow Taryn and Shaw work. Honestly, I'm surprised by Taryn's ability to compartmentalize all these facts and details and look past all the ugliness that surrounds their association to each other to fight for a chance with Shaw. This is why I find her so interesting - she really is one surprise after another. There's so much working against them least of all people's reactions to their friendship. But what might drive them apart is the one thing that they have in common: that they've continued to be defined and imprisoned by this one event. Perhaps their union is the catalyst to help them recover the parts of their identity and lives that went to pieces. 

I couldn't get enough of Taryn and Shaw's chemistry but mostly it was their complicated situation that kept me tuned in. It was enough to make me fidgety. And then there's the tragedy itself that has forever marked these individuals. I'm fascinated by how Loren relays these individuals' experiences reminding us that the effects don't just stop because the horrible thing is over. They last forever, there's no escaping that and each one of these friends has dealt with it in their own manner. 

As with the first two books in this series, The One You Fight For is a highly addictive read. It overwhelms with emotion, squeezes your heart and also offers a glimmer of hope to hold onto.

~ Bel

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