The One That Got Away by Bethany Chase ( web | tweet )
Publication Date: March 31, 2015
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Target audience: Adult
Keywords: Austin, relationships, career
Format read: ARC from Publisher via NetGalley.
Summary: Living in Austin, Sarina is on the brink of a successful architecture business, and in love with Noah — a guy she is planning to spend the rest of her life with. (No, they aren’t engaged yet but they will be soon!) But when Eamon, a one-night stand from years ago reenters her life, she can’t help think about what would have been — if he had actually called her the next morning, if she wasn’t in a relationship now…
Sarina. She’s hungry two hours after she eats. (I can relate.) She’s creative. She is protective of her independence. She’s also completely confused about her path, and I don’t blame her. How many times have we made the safe choice that makes us somewhat happy because we are too scared, too apprehensive to switch gears even if it means the possibility of extreme happiness? Too many times to count, I’m sure.
Here we have Sarina perfectly content with her relationship (even if it’s mostly long distance right now) and diving head first into her new business, trying to make a name for herself. She has great friends, a cat who loves her, and yet when Eamon comes back into her life — a guy she had such a connection with years ago but never called her after their night together — something shifts. I don’t for one second think that Eamon is the sole reason why she started questioning the way her life was going. The catalyst would have come sooner or later. Maybe, just maybe, there is more to the life she has carefully crafted for herself.
From the very beginning, the chemistry between Sarina and Eamon is off the charts but I have to give my girl some credit — she has self-control. Sure, many of her thoughts revolve around him, she loves spending time with him, but the boundaries don’t exactly breakdown like they could have. (Like I’ve seen them do so in other books.) Instead, Sarina and Eamon build a professional relationship (she’s helping him fix up a house), laugh together, and slowly begin to lean on each other. At the same time, Sarina deeply cares about her boyfriend and doesn’t foresee ending things with him. She throws herself into work, skypes with the boyfriend, visits with her beloved stepdad, and silently obsesses over Eamon until she realizes things can’t remain the same anymore.
Does her partner understand her? Is her business going in the direction she wants it to? Should she have to choose between her career and the kids she doesn’t have yet? Will she ever stop mourning her mother’s death? Is she scared of being happy? Of being honest with herself? Debut author Bethany Chase attacks each of these questions thoughtfully, peppered with humor and sexy moments. Halfway through, the ache associated with ending a book was already (!!) setting in. I already knew it would be hard to leave Sarina, her Austin, these friends, and her journey. That feeling is so heartbreaking but, at the same time, that’s how you know a book is special, right?
The One That Got Away covered a larger expanse of time then I imagined it would, and Sarina was constantly surprising me. Ice cream in bed, road trips, sweet supporting characters, late night drinking, and the promise of rustic home decor mixed in with all those difficult, big kid moments we hate to deal with — I am a solid supporter of this novel and can’t wait to check out what Bethany is cooking up next.