The One That Got Away by A.J. Pine is the first book in her new Kingston Ale House series. Each book is a standalone contemporary story with interconnected characters. I honestly couldn't wait to read this book after seeing the gorgeous cover and reading the blurb for this one, and it had some really great moments. There were a few things that I did have some issues with, but it was a good story and definitely won't be the last I read from Pine.
Jamie Kingston and Brynn Chandler have been best friends since they were kids. They only crossed that line of friendship one time when they shared a kiss, and since Jamie pushed her away they have never gone there again. But now ten years later as they attend their reunion, old feelings are brought to the surface and both begin questioning the status of their friendship. But now that Jamie seems to have finally made up his mind to go after Brynn like he has always wanted to, Brynn seems to have set hers sights on an old crush. Jamie offers to take her on road trip in which he hopes to win her over once and for all. But will Brynn end up with the one waiting for her at the end of the trip, or the one that has always been there for her?
I really liked Jamie and Brynn together. These two had such a solid foundation of friendship, and it was so easy to see just how natural they were with one another. They had a really strong connection, and it just felt right for them to be together. I will say that the chemistry for me was a bit harder to feel, though they had feelings for one another, I just wasn't getting a ton of sparks right away. One of my issues here was the fact that each of these characters acted a bit young for their ages. Both Brynn and Jamie came off as immature at times, and each had a lot of insecurities and fears. (Jamie's being the worst of the two) Each of them had feelings for one another, and yet they had so many misunderstandings and communication issues. Some of the things they did just didn't feel entirely believable for characters of their ages. I would have expected a lot of this from high school aged characters, but not from those approaching 30.
I also felt like there was a lot of push and pull here, and Jamie got on my nerves quite a bit here. As much as I wanted to love him, I really didn't like the fact that he kept pushing Brynn towards Spencer. He had so many opportunities to change things with Brynn (and she was willing on more than one occasion!) yet he for some reason kept on pushing her away. It just aggravating watching him be sullen and wish for more with Brynn, yet when he had the chance he tried to get her to be with someone else. It didn't make sense to me and frankly I just didn't really understand his motivation. I understood even if I didn't like it when they were younger, but in the present it just didn't make sense anymore. These two were great together though and I really liked seeing them spend more time together when they were actually exploring a relationship between them. Though the chemistry wasn't strong at first, when they did get together there was a ton of steam between them! I just wish that I had been able to see more of them together and less of Jamie pushing Brynn away. A.J. Pine has a great writing style though, and this was a light and fun read. I loved this world and the characters she has created, and I can't wait to see where this series goes. If you are looking for something fun and light, I think it is one worth giving a shot. I look forward to reading more from Pine in the future and seeing where this series goes.
**ARC Provided by Author**