The One That Got Away by Bethany Chase
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Sarina's life is going pretty smoothly -- she's busy with her own architecture firm, she's expecting to be engaged to her boyfriend, Noah, any day, and she has a good group of friends to hang out with while Noah is away in Argentina for work. She feels so secure she's finally ready to face Eamon Roy, a former Olympic swimmer and Sarina's former-one-night-stand (who broke her heart years ago), and who is making a visit to Austin, Texas.
Suddenly, though, Eamon's visit is no longer temporary, as he decides to move back to Austin and renovate a home -- a job for which he hires Sarina. The two become fast friends, and Sarina finds herself questioning everything she thought was so perfect about her life.
Overall, this was a really fun, enjoyable read. I breezed through it, because Sarina is a thoroughly engaging character. Further, Chase has a way of writing that pulls you in - when Sarina gets bad news, for instance, I felt myself feeling as if I'd been punched in the gut, too. It was refreshing to read a "chick lit" novel about an architect, versus the usual publicist or nanny or such. I enjoyed reading about Sarina's job and she was extremely driven as a businesswoman, which was great. Further, I enjoyed that the novel had a gay character (Sarina's roommate, Danny), who didn't seem completely steeped in stereotype. Also refreshing!
About my only beef was that it all became a bit much about two-thirds or so through the book, as Sarina continues to waffle about Noah and Eamon. For a bit, the book feels very junior high-esque as Sarina goes on and on about Eamon, then Noah, then dreaming of Eamon, then more wrangling, etc. I get that it was a big decision, and she and Noah had been together for four years, but sigh. Get it together, girl!
Otherwise, this was fun, fast-paced, novel, with just the right mix of serious, real-life plot thrown in. Sarina faces some tough choices in life (and not just as she deals with her feelings with Eamon and Noah), but with her parents/stepparents, her business, and more. It's refreshing to see a chick lit heroine deal with real life in such a way. Supposedly the Chase's next book features some characters who pop up in this one. I'll definitely be putting it on my to-read list. (Overall, I'd rate The One That Got Away at 3.5 stars.)
Note: I received an ARC from Netgalley in return for an unbiased review.
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