Monday, January 13, 2020

The One For You (The Ones Who Got Away #4) by Roni Loren

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The highly-anticipated fourth book in Roni Loren's unforgettable The Ones Who Got Away series.

She got a second chance at life.
Will she take a second chance at love?

Kincaid Breslin wasn't supposed to survive that fateful night at Long Acre when so many died, including her boyfriend—but survive she did. She doesn't know why she got that chance, but now she takes life by the horns and doesn't let anybody stand in her way

Ashton Isaacs was her best friend when disaster struck all those years ago, but he chose to run as far away as he could. Now fate has brought him back to town, and Ash doesn't know how to cope with his feelings for Kincaid and his grief over their lost friendship. For Ash has been carrying secrets, and he knows that once Kincaid learns the truth, he'll lose any chance he might have had with the only woman he's ever loved.

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

It seems almost weird to be such an avid fan of this series that follows the lives of four friends years after they survived a school shooting. Weird because it's a god-awful event that brought these people together, otherwise they might not have ever crossed paths. The friendships that sprouted from that brought hope and love into their lives, and the strongest of bonds that'll stand up to any challenge.

Kincaid and Ashton are both survivors. Best friends in high school with Aston nursing the biggest crush on Kincaid but never coming forward with his feelings. Things changed dramatically after that night and later when Ashton couldn't take it anymore, he moved away. Kincaid always felt that he left her behind so she had to heal and get on with life on her own without her most trusted friend by her side. Now that he's moved back to Long Acre temporarily after a break up and to write his next book, they have to make peace and get along. Ashton still loves her but Kincaid has been in love with a ghost this entire time - her boyfriend who died in the shooting. That's always stood between them. But now that they're older, and Ashton is not as timid about expressing his feelings, he's willing to let it all out there even if he hasn't quite figured out the rest of his plans.

I loved that these two had a friendship before this. They clearly got each other and had fun. Their reunion may be uncomfortable for a bit but at least they're working through it. I like that there is communication between them instead of waiting for a good portion of the book for them to be honest about their feelings. Kincaid, for all her bravado and upbeat personality hides her insecurities well which is obviously harder to do when Ashton knows her best and knows how her family history affects her. And Kincaid knows why, other than the shooting, that it's hard for Ashton to come home. The toughest part of this unexpected reunion is that they finally have to confront certain truths about that dreaded night. They have to separate fact from fiction which is painful but necessary if they are to repair and rebuild their relationship. 

The reason this series is so powerful to me is because it looks at what the survivors go through years after a shooting. The repercussions don't go away with thoughts and prayers. They are intrinsically tied to that event forever and it's hard to carve out an identity away from that, something that Kincaid, Ashton and the town of Long Acre know too well. Long Acre is still perceived as a morbid tourist destination attracting spectators rather than investors, and its town folk have to figure out how to re-brand itself, so to speak.

I knew The One for You was the last book but I was surprised by how I was not ready for it to end. I actually had to read the epilogue twice to accept it. I also had to wipe away a tear after that. Kincaid, Bec, Taryn and Liv thought they were alone after their tragedy but together the found friendship and unending support. The epilogue was so satisfying for me because they each got their happily ever after and that's the most you can wish for someone who's thriving after overcoming the worst. 

~ Bel

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