Review: The One You Fight For – Roni Loren

Review: The One You Fight For – Roni LorenThe One You Fight For
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
Genres: Romance
Pages: 416
Source: NetGalley

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

My rating: One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

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?

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5 stars icon contemporary icon m/f romance icon

Content warnings: View Spoiler »

Every time I pick up one of the books in the series, I remember how much I love them!  They can be difficult books to get through as Ms. Loren doesn’t shy away from the difficult emotions, but she treats them sensitively. It just feels very uplifting to read these stories where these survivors, broken in so many different ways, find healing (and romance).  While this is the third in the series, I think it could be read as a standalone.

After losing her younger sister at the Long Acre shooting, Taryn’s dedicated her entire life to preventing school shootings.  As a forensic psychologist, she’s developed a program to identify kids at risk and prevent the shootings, and now she just needs to get a school district on board with running a trial of the program.  Shaw’s younger brother was one of the school shooters, and after the shooting he’s been ostracized and treated like another murderer-in-the-making.  At his best friend’s request, he’s changed his name and come back to Texas to help him design and run a Ninja-Warrior-type obstacle course gym.  After a chance meeting outside a bar, it seems almost like fate when Taryn and Shaw meet again during a charity run.  But can two survivors from opposing sides find common ground?

“One night. Two people with guns. The violence of that one moment in time stretched out like cracks in glass—always splintering, reaching out further, touching lives in ways no one but the people affected ever thought about.”

Taryn was an easy character to empathize with.  Her family’s put this enormous pressure on her to live up to her sister’s memory – anything not related to her research is viewed by her parents (and Taryn) as a betrayal of her sister’s memory.  It’s her friend Kincaid that pushes her to take time for herself, to live a little.  I loved seeing more of Kincaid in this book, and how over-the-top hilarious she was, and I can’t wait for her book.  In fact, I loved how supported Taryn was by her friends (since her family support was seriously lacking), and it was one of my favorite parts of the book.  Even though I loved Taryn, Shaw is probably my favorite character from the series.  From his hatred of the endless media scrutiny to his fear that he was just as “evil” as his brother, he’s a complicated character, and it was so much fun watching Taryn draw him out.  I mean, he’s so tangled up with himself that when he realizes who Taryn is and thinks he won’t have a chance at a relationship with her, he accepts it as penance for, well, being him.

“All I’m saying is that yes, our pasts are intertwined, but by no fault of our own,” she said matter-of-factly. “Why should we let what happened take away yet another thing? Thinking about that… Well, it pisses me off.” Her lips pursed. “I’ve been through hell. You’ve been through hell. If we want to kiss each other, why shouldn’t we be able to do that? We’re grown people. We’re attracted to each other. We’re both lonely.”

Their relationship was just everything I wanted to see in this book.  Shaw’s seen Taryn both at her worst – practically having a panic attack after the impromptu guitar performance – and her best – campaigning for her school program – and appreciates all of her.  Taryn’s easy acceptance that Shaw is as much a victim of the shooting as her is a profound revelation for Shaw, and the start of his healing.  They had an absolute ton of chemistry together, as well.

As for negatives, I wish a little more had been done with Taryn’s love of songwriting, and I was ambivalent about one of my least favorite tropes showing up: View Spoiler ».  Overall, though, I very much enjoyed the book, and I’m looking forward to Kincaid’s book!

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