The One You Fight For (The Ones Who Got Away, #3) by Roni Loren
Series: The Ones Who Got Away #3
Also in this series: The Ones Who Got Away, The One You Can't Forget
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Publication Date: January 1, 2019
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Contemporary Romance
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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?
Roni Loren strikes again. She writes a captivating romance about two people with difficult pasts, coming together in love in such an emotional way. This wasn’t an easy book to read because it deals with the aftermath of a school shooting, years later, both characters are adults but they’re still struggling with the events of that day. The heroine is a victim, she lost her sister in the school shooting and her family has never completely healed from her sister dying and the way that she died. So throw in that the man she falls in love with is the shooter’s brother? Yeah, you get it.
Right from the very beginning, I was invested in this series. I thought it was such an interesting premise for a bunch of books to be centered around a school shooting, and dealing with that traumatic event years later when each victim and survivor were adults. The previous books featured victims from the school shooting so we saw how the shooting shaped who they were, saw them overcome individual obstacles to finally move on and stop letting that day dictate their lives. This book tackles the other side, the guilt of a family member of the school shooter.
I really enjoyed both Taryn and Shaw’s characters. I thought they were interesting people on their own with Taryn turning to psychology to try to help the cause by preaching preventative actions rather than reactionary ones and Shaw’s guilt really hit me. I mean, how often do people think about the people on the other side of the coin? Shaw carried a lot of guilt for what his brother did and seeing him try to navigate his life and the lengths he went to carry on was pretty intense. My heart hurt for him because he seriously paid for crimes that weren’t his but he took the punishment day in and day out because he felt that he deserved it and man, that was a punch to the gut for me. Seeing them come together, fall in love, and then find a way to be together with everything against them made for some intense reading and I thought Loren handled their story well.
This isn’t a perfect story. It isn’t an easy story either. There were times in the book where I wasn’t a fan of how things were handled but for the most part, I was invested with what was happening. I was invested in who Taryn and Shaw were and the attraction that was building steam between them.
I was torn going on into reading this book because, on one hand, I was excited about Taryn’s story and seeing how things would work out between her, someone who lost a sibling to the horrific actions of Shaw’s sibling. On the other hand, I was scared that because of the issues dealt with in this book, that it wouldn’t be given the care that it needed and deserved but I shouldn’t have worried so much because like I said, Loren handled their story well. I’m glad that I read this book and am pretty anxious to see more from these characters. I recommend.
Grade: 4.25 out of 5