Title: The One That Got Away
Author: Bethany Chase
Release Date: 03/31/15
Genre: Adult Contemporary
Rating: 4.25 out of 5 stars
The One Who Got Away was actually completely off my radar until my Top 10 Tuesday post last week about books on my spring TBR. It was on my TBR list prior to that, but I didn’t have a galley to review and I probably hadn’t even thought about it since I added it to my TBR list way back when. But thank god I rediscovered it, requested it on NetGalley, got approved, and had four hours on a train to the New York City Teen Author Festival to read it because it is a damn good book.
Obviously I love my YA, but there’s something I’ve really loved lately about reading books about women my age or close my age. Sarina, who’s 31-years-old, fits that bill perfectly. She’s an up-and-coming, but successful architect in Austin, TX. She’s been dating Noah for four years and even though he’s spending the year in Argentina working she fully expects to marry him and live happily ever after once he returns. Then Eamon, a former Olympic swimmer she had a tryst with eight or so years ago comes back into her life. Eamon is good friends with her best friend/roommate Danny and after Eamon moves back to Austin, Sarina and Eamon reconnect and Sarina also starts working on remodeling the house Eamon buys.
Noah is the safe bet for Sarina, her dad was never in her life (although she has an amazing step-dad) and her mom died while she was in college so she’s been searching for a family ever since. She is 100% postive that Noah can give her that family, but as she starts to reconnect with Eamon she questions if having that safety and security means not having real passion. The fact that there is a love triangle and cheating in this book was a concern and Sarina often acted in ways that were completely frustrating and honestly just stupid, but they were also incredibly authentic and believable. Towards the beginning of the story Noah is a great guy and there was a time when I worried Chase was going to change his personality to make him the bad guy, but luckily that didn’t really happen (maybe a little). The questions the story raised about adult love and whether you need passion or security or what’s really the best option were spot-on and handled really impressively. And yes, the romance was predictable, but really, what romance isn’t predictable?
There are a lot of good things in this book, but there are three major strengths: the relationships, Sarina’s career, and the city of Austin. There are two romances in this book, Sarina and Noah’s and Sarina and Eamon’s. For most of the book Sarina and Noah are together (but not physically together) and she spends a lot of time missing him and wishing he was there. Both of these romances, and the falling apart of the Noah one and the building of the Eamon one, were done really well. But outside of the romances the other friendship and family relationships were also handled beautifully. Sarina’s friendship with Danny could have been the cliche gay best friend friendship and it wasn’t. Sarina also has a great friendship with her college friend Nicole. Then there is Sarina’s relationship with her step-dad which was amazing and her step-sister, which was a much smaller part of the book, but still impactful. Even the slightly contentious, but then cautiously friendly relationship Sarina has with Noah’s mom was developed well and interesting to read about. This is also a book that does a great job of highlighting that there are families everyone is born into and families people create for themselves.
Sarina’s career as an architect was also a really big and really great part of the book. Even though she’s successful she’s still operating on a pretty small scale so it was nice to watch her business grow. Not only was her work on Eamon’s house featured heavily, but so is her work for a local spa and her pitch to design other locations for the spa as it expanded nationally. There were a couple times when there were a few too many architectural details thrown into the story, but overall it was cool to see a main character with such passion and drive for her career.
And then there was Austin. Austin is a city I absolutely love so I had my fingers crossed that Chase would do it justice. Luckily she did a great job with the city of Austin from restaurants and bars to the neighborhoods where people live to the shopping and even the things outside the city. I used to go to Austin all the time and it’s been a while since I’ve been back but now I’m dying to go even more. My one issue was that Sarina took pictures while shopping in Uncommon Objects. Anyone who’s ever been there (and I’ve spent hours in that story) knows how militant the workers are about you not taking pictures. (True story: last time I was there I found this far of teeth from an old dentist and I so wanted to buy it, but didn’t and I’m still mad I didn’t get it.)
Bottom Line: The One That Got Away is one of the few books I’ve gotten really excited for in 2015 so far. Bethany Chase isn’t quite a Taylor Jenkins Reid, but she does do a stellar job of telling the story of one woman, in her early 30s, who’s making her way through her career, romance, family, and friends. The relationships in this book are stellar as is the settings. Do yourself a favor and pick this up.
I received an electronic review copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley (thank you!). All opinions are my own.