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How do you put yourself back together when it seems like you've lost it all? May is a survivor. But she doesn't feel like one. She feels angry. And lost. And alone. Eleven months after the school shooting that killed her twin brother, May still doesn't know why she was the only one to walk out of the band room that day. No one gets what she went through--no one saw and hear How do you put yourself back together when it seems like you've lost it all? May is a survivor. But she doesn't feel like one. She feels angry. And lost. And alone. Eleven months after the school shooting that killed her twin brother, May still doesn't know why she was the only one to walk out of the band room that day. No one gets what she went through--no one saw and heard what she did. No one can possibly understand how it feels to be her. Zach lost his old life when his mother decided to defend the shooter. His girlfriend dumped him, his friends bailed, and now he spends his time hanging out with his little sister...and the one faithful friend who stuck around. His best friend is needy and demanding, but he won't let Zach disappear into himself. Which is how Zach ends up at band practice that night. The same night May goes with her best friend to audition for a new band. Which is how May meets Zach. And how Zach meets May. And how both might figure out that surviving could be an option after all.


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How do you put yourself back together when it seems like you've lost it all? May is a survivor. But she doesn't feel like one. She feels angry. And lost. And alone. Eleven months after the school shooting that killed her twin brother, May still doesn't know why she was the only one to walk out of the band room that day. No one gets what she went through--no one saw and hear How do you put yourself back together when it seems like you've lost it all? May is a survivor. But she doesn't feel like one. She feels angry. And lost. And alone. Eleven months after the school shooting that killed her twin brother, May still doesn't know why she was the only one to walk out of the band room that day. No one gets what she went through--no one saw and heard what she did. No one can possibly understand how it feels to be her. Zach lost his old life when his mother decided to defend the shooter. His girlfriend dumped him, his friends bailed, and now he spends his time hanging out with his little sister...and the one faithful friend who stuck around. His best friend is needy and demanding, but he won't let Zach disappear into himself. Which is how Zach ends up at band practice that night. The same night May goes with her best friend to audition for a new band. Which is how May meets Zach. And how Zach meets May. And how both might figure out that surviving could be an option after all.

30 review for The Lucky Ones

  1. 5 out of 5

    Nilufer Ozmekik

    An effectively intense, emotional, heart wrenching, mind bending, sad, poignant, depressing debut novel shakes you to the core and making you non-stop sob, walking around with your teary red eyes and running nose. This is not only about the school shooting, massacre and terror the perpetrator created, innocent victims who unexpectedly lost their lives, this book is about the people WHO ARE LEFT BEHIND. They could be named as “LUCKY ONES” because they didn’t die that day, right? But what if they An effectively intense, emotional, heart wrenching, mind bending, sad, poignant, depressing debut novel shakes you to the core and making you non-stop sob, walking around with your teary red eyes and running nose. This is not only about the school shooting, massacre and terror the perpetrator created, innocent victims who unexpectedly lost their lives, this book is about the people WHO ARE LEFT BEHIND. They could be named as “LUCKY ONES” because they didn’t die that day, right? But what if they choose to die slowly instead of instantly like the other victims, lost the most import parts of them at very same day: THEIR HOPE and THEIR LOVE OF LIVING AND CARRYING ON. This is the story of Maya who is left behind and Zach whose life changed forever when his mother decided to be lawyer of the shooter. Maya survived that day, by hiding in a closet when the shooting started. At the very same day, she lost her friends, her favorite teacher and HER BROTHER. She is not thankful to stay alive because she lost her family who are drifting apart and having hard time to process their grief. She alienated her own friends because of her boiling anger and self-hatred. She’s expelled from her school because of her self-destructive attitudes, dumping her boyfriend. Only Lucy, ex-addict, her loyal friend knows how she feels and tries all she could to keep Maya’s head above water and help her not to get drawn. Zach didn’t alienate people. They chose to leave him alone because they thought he was the traitor! They blamed him because his mother’s choice to defend the killer. His girlfriend dumps her and starts dating with some of his friends. People stop to talk with him. Only Conor, his only loyal friend pushes him hard to keep his chin up and stay alive against the hostility of his inner circle. He also lost his family. His father never leaves home, doing nothing, hanging out in his pajamas and his mother is never at home, fully focused on her new case. He takes care of his sister who is also traumatized because they’re threatened by vandals, spraying walls of their houses. (Guess, who is the vandal? Bingo! Maya finds a way to reflect her boiling anger.) Maya and Zach, two victims of different circumstances meet with each other. As soon as both of them learn their identities, Maya gets volatile but at the end she cannot deny her attraction to Zach and surprisingly she starts to share her untold feelings with him that she never shared with anybody, even with Lucy. But Maya has very big secret that she never shared with anybody and this secret can change everything and open the Pandora box about the truths of the shooting day. When this secret comes out Zach and Maya’s lives will never be the same! This is beautiful, sad, heavy story breaks your heart several times. The author’s realistic approach and the characters’ inner fights, vulnerabilities because of the circumstances they’ve found themselves, obstacles they had to endure even though they were too young to face them are heart wrenching but objectively told without any exaggeration. I loved the honesty of the words and conclusion of the story. I loved the writing, realism, characters, approach of the author to tell how people give different reactions and handle the grief in different ways. At some parts, the story was too heavy and suffocating but not because of the writing, it was about the subject choice. It was too much depressing and soul shaking experience for me but I still loved Maya, Zach, Lucy, Connor and the other survivors of this story. It was impossible not to feel for them. Special thanks to NetGalley and Random House/Delacorte Press for sharing this emotional, fantastic ARC COPY with me in exchange my honest review.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Ꮗ€♫◗☿ ❤️ ilikebooksbest.com ❤️

    The Aftermath! Extremely good and emotional book. It was a bit of a tearjerker, but not quite as bad as I expected. It deals with what happens in the aftermath of a school shooting, not so much the shooting itself. It doesn’t go in depth into the why it happened or what the shooter was going through, but focuses on a girl that survived while her twin brother didn’t. Especially concentrating on her PTSD and survival guilt. The book takes place nearly a year after the shooting occurred and May McGi The Aftermath! Extremely good and emotional book. It was a bit of a tearjerker, but not quite as bad as I expected. It deals with what happens in the aftermath of a school shooting, not so much the shooting itself. It doesn’t go in depth into the why it happened or what the shooter was going through, but focuses on a girl that survived while her twin brother didn’t. Especially concentrating on her PTSD and survival guilt. The book takes place nearly a year after the shooting occurred and May McGintee is returning to public school after being homeschooled for six months. After the shooting she had returned to school but was eventually kicked out due to the fact that she got in too many fights. Her anger was out of control and it still is growing inside her and she struggles to keep it in. Only a few days after she was kicked out of school, the school board decided that having the students attend the same school where the shooting occurred was toxic, so they closed it. Now the kids from Carter High School were moved to another school in the valley called Quincy Adams High School. It is overcrowded and the halls are packed solid in between classes. The Carter Kids all hang together and the QA kids hang with their own so the kids are a bit segregated in that way. May is angry at just about everything, but one thing her anger is really focused on is the lawyer who is defending the shooter. Most of the kids from QA have either ignored or have been outright hostile to Zach Teller since his Mom decided to defend the shooter. Zach is just as mad at his Mom’s decision as everyone else, but that doesn’t seem to matter to anyone besides his best friend Connor who won’t give up on him. Conner is still popular, he has the kind of personality that everyone is drawn to and he is also in a band that is gaining popularity around town. The band just lost their drummer and is holding tryouts for a new drummer, and Conner forces Zach to come along with him and though Zach usually backs out, Conner won’t let him this time. May’s best friend Lucy has been a drummer since she was very young and has been in different bands over the years, but is sick of her current band so is planning to go to the tryouts. She bribes May into coming along with with her and that is how May and Zach meet each other. They get along and like each other, though May doesn’t yet know that Zach’s last name is Teller and he is he son of the lawyer she hates so much. The book is awesome, the world building is spectacular, characters are deep and we see into their minds and their struggles. Both Zack and May are dealing with so much, not only within themselves but within their families. Their friends struggle to help them as well though they also have their own issues, and many other people at the school have issues as well. The author, Liz Lawson, does a terrific job of showing how this incident has affected so many different people. Though of course May’s story is the most poignant since she not only lost her twin, but was in the band room where the other kids were shot and was the only one to make it out alive. She suffers from recurring nightmares, she is getting strange mail, she feels so much guilt and you just can’t help but put yourself in her shoes when she is missing her brother. It is hard to believe that the massacre at Columbine High School happened over 20 years ago now and there are still school shootings happening all the time. In a CNN article, by Michelle Lou and Christina Walker, on July 27, 2019, it was reported that so far in 2019 there have been 22 shootings at US schools in which someone was hurt or killed. A scary time to send your kids to school. I voluntarily read & reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Blog|Goodreads|Facebook|Amazon|Twitter|BookBub

  3. 5 out of 5

    The Burning Rose (Jess)

    Book description: For fans of Thirteen Reasons Why, This Is How It Ends, and All the Bright Places, comes a new novel about life after. Me: I WANT I WANT THAT.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Nenia ⚔️ Queen of Villainy ⚔️ Campbell

    Instagram || Twitter || Facebook || Amazon || Pinterest So I went into this expecting something like EVERY MOMENT AFTER by Joseph Moldover or HATE LIST by Jennifer Brown: a book that looks at the uncomfortable topics of school shootings and survivor's guilt, but in a really nuanced and complex way. Instead, I got a book that falls into the genre of what I call "mental illness tourism," which basically hinges the usual teen romance formula on an over-dramatized portrayal of teens who are eithe Instagram || Twitter || Facebook || Amazon || Pinterest So I went into this expecting something like EVERY MOMENT AFTER by Joseph Moldover or HATE LIST by Jennifer Brown: a book that looks at the uncomfortable topics of school shootings and survivor's guilt, but in a really nuanced and complex way. Instead, I got a book that falls into the genre of what I call "mental illness tourism," which basically hinges the usual teen romance formula on an over-dramatized portrayal of teens who are either neurodivergent or suffering from mental health disorders. THE LUCKY ONES does some things right, in that it shows how we can blame ourselves over things we have little to no control over, and look for meaning in things that sometimes defy any semblance of rational explanation. It also brings attention to a national crisis: how easy it is to get guns, and how devastating the consequences of that can be to a community if a gun falls into the wrong hands. I really did not like the portrayal of either of these characters, though. The two characters are May and Zach. Zach is the son of the lawyer who is defending the shooter and May is the only survivor of the classroom that was brutalized. The two of them end up falling for one another-- but only after a hiccup in which May gets really angry at Zach for being the son of her enemy. I'm not going to lie... May was completely unbearable for the first 100 or so pages. And I am saying this as someone who used to get pretty bad panic attacks; I did not like how this was repped. It felt needlessly dramatic, a point underscored by the fact that the EVIL faculty members at her so-called school actually force May to give a speech about her bravery or some garbage like that, only to provide a platform for a public breakdown. That's a trope I really hate, FYI. It seems like in books like these, characters are always put into really uncomfortable positions, just so they can break down before an audience. At that point, it almost becomes more about the illness and less about the person, if you know what I mean. Lastly, in the author's note, the author says something about how a teacher she knows learned to fire guns to defend herself and her class in case there was an actual shooting and then says that "knowing how to shoot a gun should not be a prerequisite for an educator." I found that really upsetting because it felt like it was falling into the whole, "we need good guys with guns to defend against bad guys with guns" argument, when actually, the problem is that we have too many people with guns-- period. The whole book just felt really inconsistent in tone to me. I do believe the author was coming from a good place but I don't really feel like she did the message justice, maybe because it comes into conflict with her own personal views. The portrayal of PTSD and anxiety was cringe, and I don't feel like Zach's lawyer mom was really given enough page time to explain why she was doing what she was doing, and why Zach really took issue about it-- he said he was worried about bullying, yes, and what it would mean for his reputation, but the underlying reasons-- the politics-- were not discussed. Also, on that note, for a book about gun violence, there was very little talk about guns or gun control. This was also "semi" addressed in the author's note with a "not all mentally ill people are violent" PSA, but again, mental illness isn't the reason that there's gun violence: it's the guns. Europe and the UK have mentally ill people, some of whom are a danger to themselves and others, but again-- they don't have gun violence because-- again-- they don't have guns. If this was an exercise to try to be more open-minded and address serious issues that are very current right now, good for her. But I thought she did a really bad job, and that's my personal opinion, biased in part by my own beliefs on gun control and the representation of mental illness (as an actual anxiety/panic attack sufferer). Your mileage may vary. Thanks to the publisher for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review! 1.5 to 2 stars

  5. 4 out of 5

    Christy

    4 stars I’m a SURVIVOR. I’m the leftover. The lucky one. The only one in that room who lived. The Lucky Ones is a gut wrenching and moving story about moving through trauma and loss and dealing with grief. It’s not an easy read and broke my heart. It had moments though. Moments that had me hopeful. I’m so impressed this is a debut novel. May is the main character in this story and she’s been through so much. She’s having trouble getting through day by day and she’s guilt ridden, but 4 stars I’m a SURVIVOR. I’m the leftover. The lucky one. The only one in that room who lived. The Lucky Ones is a gut wrenching and moving story about moving through trauma and loss and dealing with grief. It’s not an easy read and broke my heart. It had moments though. Moments that had me hopeful. I’m so impressed this is a debut novel. May is the main character in this story and she’s been through so much. She’s having trouble getting through day by day and she’s guilt ridden, but she’s also a survivor. Her life is totally different than it used to be, and so is Zach’s. Even though it’s for a completely different reason, it actually makes them able to open up to one another and somehow gets them to bond in a way. This story was really powerful. I couldn’t put it down and it’s compelling, emotional, and poignant. It’s a must read and an important read that deals with a tough subject.

  6. 5 out of 5

    alana ♡

    "The fact is: I'm a SURVIVOR. I'm the leftover. The lucky one. The only one in that room who lived." This book is such a heart-wrenching, hard hitting, emotional journey that I devoured from start to finish. For a debut novel this is truly fantastic and unfortunately so relevant to the society we live in today, especially if you're in America. The Lucky Ones is a story of tragedy, trauma, coping, and hope all wrapped into one story that, let's face it, made my ugly cry pretty damn hard but it "The fact is: I'm a SURVIVOR. I'm the leftover. The lucky one. The only one in that room who lived." This book is such a heart-wrenching, hard hitting, emotional journey that I devoured from start to finish. For a debut novel this is truly fantastic and unfortunately so relevant to the society we live in today, especially if you're in America. The Lucky Ones is a story of tragedy, trauma, coping, and hope all wrapped into one story that, let's face it, made my ugly cry pretty damn hard but it was asboutely worth it. What I Liked 🙍🏻‍♀️ May. First and foremost, let's start with our main character who I adored. May, is dealing with a lot following a school shooting that left her twin brother dead. PTSD, guilt on why she lived and he died, complex grief, and feeling failed by the people who should have protected her are all some of the things she's grappling with. And she's angry, REALLY angry. She's mean to the people who care most about her, starts fights, isolates herself, and pushes people away almost to the point where it makes her unlikeable. But as someone like myself who is dealing with complex grief, it's so easy to see that she's just doing what she feels like she needs to do to survive in a world that she feels failed by. Her growth in this story is not monumental and it's not supposed to be either which I appreciated so much. 🕐 The time it takes place in. While this book does have a few flashbacks to the shooting it doesn't focus on that day particularly. The book picks up almost at the one year anniversary of the shooting, long after the media vans and reporters have packed up and moved on. It focuses more on the kids who are forced to pick up the pieces of their lives that were shattered and how they are doing dealing with the trauma of that day. 🔀 Plot twists.  When May starts a new school after her old one closes down she never expects to find someone who she feels seen by for the first time since everything happened. And never in her wildest dreams did she expect to feel that from the boy whose mother is defending the school shooter's upcoming trial. It makes for a very interesting two sided story. Not to mention the fact that there a few other twists in the book that make it even more compelling but I'll refrain from mentioning them for the sake of spoilers. 💘  Friends to lovers...maybe.  When May meets Zach their attraction is mutual but they're both going through a lot. I really loved how the author didn't throw them into a whirlwind of a romance but instead focused on them becoming friends and slowly maybe one day in the future that will develop into more.  🤓 Important themes. Obviously, with this book dealing with a heavy topic like a school shooting there are some important themes already built within that. But the author goes one step further and adds even more depth the story by talking about how May and Zach's home lives have changed since the events as well. Their parents are around less, battling depression, and trying to pick up the pieces of their lives as well. It just goes to show how many people are impacted by these completely avoidable tragedies. What I Would Have Liked to See More Of 📈 Just a teeny bit more growth/explanation.  I know I said I appreciated the fact that May's growth wasn't monumental and I truly do, but at the same time I grew extremely invested in May. So, I would have loved to see an epilogue or maybe just something a little more about how she's doing, if she went to college, what her relationship is like now with her parents, what happened at the trial, etc. Favorite Quotes "Sometimes I think I was born again that day in the band room, that the old me was murdered along with everyone else, replaced with this new person who's angry and scared and broken." "I hate having to have conversations with these people whose eyes are so full of pity, who don't see me anymore." "Jordan wouldn't have wanted you to come out of that closet; he wouldn't have blamed you for staying in there. He would have wanted you to live. Fucking live, May." "We're not the same people we used to be; no one here is. We'll never be those people again, but I think maybe, there's hope that some of us will become better people than we were before." All in all, if you're looking for a contemporary that is sure to slam you with ALL the feelings but is also a very timely and relevant story then definitely don't pass this one up. The Lucky Ones is a fantastic debut and I cannot wait to read more from this author in the future. Thank you Delacorte Press for a review copy in exchange for a honest review! Blog | Twitter

  7. 4 out of 5

    Candace Robinson

    A story full of emotions and difficult things with teens that actually felt and struggled like teens! Beautifully written!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Nursebookie

    School shootings have been an all too common occurrence for us here in America, where in 2019 there had been 25 incidents in schools and mass shootings totaling 419 - more incidents than we have days in the year. In this book, ‘The Lucky Ones’, Lawson wrote with utmost sensitivity that resonates about the psychological aftermath of those that have survived these horrific incidents. This story was centered around May McGintee who survived a school shooting when she hid in the closet during the at School shootings have been an all too common occurrence for us here in America, where in 2019 there had been 25 incidents in schools and mass shootings totaling 419 - more incidents than we have days in the year. In this book, ‘The Lucky Ones’, Lawson wrote with utmost sensitivity that resonates about the psychological aftermath of those that have survived these horrific incidents. This story was centered around May McGintee who survived a school shooting when she hid in the closet during the attack while her twin brother was murdered along with her classmates and close friends. May felt lost and alone, surrounded only by PTSD, anger and the guilt she feels every day. Zach was also lost and angry because her mother decided to take on the case as the attorney defending the school shooter. Their home was vandalized, their community in disapproval, and with a mother constantly working with a father who is psychologically broken and absent, Zach was left to raise himself and his little sister on his own. With friends who were in a band together, May and Zach met each other. This was not a simple love story and I loved the complexities of the situation and characters. This was an amazing debut novel that was both heartbreaking and gentle, raw and full of emotions, that was also both tragic and relevant. I loved this book very much and I highly recommend it. If you enjoyed Thirteen Reasons Why, This Is How It Ends, and All the Bright Places this book is for you.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Susan's Reviews

    I am rating this four out of five stars, but more because of the serious subject matter and how well it was handled. I had to agree with one of the characters, Lucy, when she scolded May for being blindly self-absorbed each time May vented her anger and pent up feelings regarding the school shooting that took her twin brother's life. May behaved as if no one else could possibly be feeling the same amount of pain and guilt that she was enduring. She often mocked other students' expressions of grie I am rating this four out of five stars, but more because of the serious subject matter and how well it was handled. I had to agree with one of the characters, Lucy, when she scolded May for being blindly self-absorbed each time May vented her anger and pent up feelings regarding the school shooting that took her twin brother's life. May behaved as if no one else could possibly be feeling the same amount of pain and guilt that she was enduring. She often mocked other students' expressions of grief and ridiculed their coping mechanisms. I actually did not like May, nor could I understand why someone as decent as Zach would fall in love with May. She was impossibly self-centered and just plain harsh. It must be true that you have to treat a man badly in order to keep him, because Zach just kept coming back for more. May certainly has a lot to feel guilty about. Her actions and words at Adam's fateful party set in motion a series of events that would change everyone's life forever, including her own. (May was not alone in having said and done things that she could never take back, but she was too focused on herself to see the suffering and guilt of her fellow students.) In the end, I was glad to see that May and her mother were able to find their way back to one another. I did often feel sorry for May, but I got tired - very quickly - of all the near fainting episodes and the constant outbursts of hysteria. May needed more medical support than she was being given at the time, and I know the author was trying to highlight this issue: young people don't have enough mental health support. But the unremitting melodrama and May's constant catatonic states were grating on my nerves after a while. Could this tragedy (the school shooting) have been averted? The shooter, David, felt alienated and ostracized by his classmates. He was lonely. As a society, we seem to enjoy pouring scorn on others, establishing a pecking order. We need to stop this very toxic behaviour. Everyone should be welcome and respected in a community. We need to learn to co-exist. Hey: Maybe we should abolish high school and everyone should be home schooled? Seriously, though, I don't have any real solutions to prevent future crimes like the school shooting depicted in this story. No one deserves to be bullied and marginalized. We need to reach out to one another and be inclusive. We have to realize that fostering this extreme competitive spirit in young people can lead to very dangerous consequences. You establish pecking orders, but soon someone at the bottom rung is going to get tired of being picked on and fight back. The writing was excellent, but May exhausted me. I have never approved of public displays of extreme emotion: that is just blatant attention-seeking. May was one big freaked out beacon of attention seeking. I'm glad her personality improved toward the end, but Zach deserved better.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Brittney ~ Reverie and Ink

    How pretty is this book? A giant thank you to the lovely Liz Lawson for sending me this beautiful copy! I just had to show it off here! Psst... come find me on Instagram at @reverieandink! How pretty is this book? A giant thank you to the lovely Liz Lawson for sending me this beautiful copy! I just had to show it off here! Psst... come find me on Instagram at @reverieandink!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Wendy'sThoughts

    4 A Real Look Stars * * * * Spoiler Free There are times when we experience things we shouldn't have to. The teaching of young children as to what to do during an active shooter situation is one of them. Unfortunately, it is a sign of our particular times. As a mother of two sons, I am very lucky they were out of all schooling, so it wasn't something I needed to deal with. The Lucky Ones by Liz Lawson is a debut novel of the highest regard. It looks at the devastation and impact of all those invol 4 A Real Look Stars * * * * Spoiler Free There are times when we experience things we shouldn't have to. The teaching of young children as to what to do during an active shooter situation is one of them. Unfortunately, it is a sign of our particular times. As a mother of two sons, I am very lucky they were out of all schooling, so it wasn't something I needed to deal with. The Lucky Ones by Liz Lawson is a debut novel of the highest regard. It looks at the devastation and impact of all those involved with these shootings, how the one incident is like the pebble skipped across the lake and how its contact is not just the entry point. Like the ripples on the lake of people touched by this tragedy, all are changed. For the main character, Mia, she lost her twin brother. She is overwhelmed by survivor's guilt. She is suffering from PTSD and has gone through levels of rage. She barely has a handle on getting through the day and now after eleven months, she is being forced to go to another high school that is made up of both schools. One that had the shooting and the other that did not. Zach is another victim of this shooting but in an entirely different way. His mother is the defense attorney for the shooter. By her doing "Her Job", it has changed everything in his world. His father is a ghost, he has to look out for his sister and he has no real friends anymore. The adage of the sins of the father fall on the son is exactly that but with the mother being the culprit. Every day there is a hurdle he has to overcome, either someone trashing his house or trashing him at school. He is in a lose-lose situation. These two cross paths because of the only friends each has are forcing them to be someplace. Zach's friend is auditioning for his band and Mia's bestie is one of the people auditioning. Things can happen as simple as that. This is not an easy read, yet is one that is worthwhile. Seeing what can take place and the aftermath is so important these days. Nothing is black and white...shades of gray can be the norm and we need to be there for others any way they want us to be...To listen, learn and not judge. A very strong debut novel. A gifted copy was provided by author/publisher via NetGalley for an honest review. For more Reviews, Free E-books and Giveaways ~~~~~ Before Reading ~~~~~ So excited to start this... 💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜 With all that can happen in Life... Growing Pains for Teens shouldn't be So Complicated... As Adults, We've All Been There, Done That... But then Something Happens to these teens... Something We Never had to deal with... Examining the All Too Timely subject of School Tragedy... Liz Lawson's The Lucky Ones takes a look at just that... Those who are considered the "lucky ones"... How do they handle it all... Will they Find the Light left in the World And come out the other side... The Lucky Ones -April 7, 2020 For more Reviews, Free E-books and Giveaways

  12. 5 out of 5

    Vee_Bookish // stan shea couleé

    This book has a 4.32 Goodreads Community rating as of April 2020, making it officially overrated. It's just such a bleh book, yet seriously annoying, tedious and lacking in plot. I didn't like most of the characters and the story should have been Lucy trying to deal with everyone's shit. May kinda sucks. Yes her brother died, it was horrible and she has PTSD. Free pass on all of that. However she's emotionally unpredictable and manipulative, laughing one minute and aggressively attacking Zach the This book has a 4.32 Goodreads Community rating as of April 2020, making it officially overrated. It's just such a bleh book, yet seriously annoying, tedious and lacking in plot. I didn't like most of the characters and the story should have been Lucy trying to deal with everyone's shit. May kinda sucks. Yes her brother died, it was horrible and she has PTSD. Free pass on all of that. However she's emotionally unpredictable and manipulative, laughing one minute and aggressively attacking Zach the next, especially when he attempts to do something Actually Nice for her. Zach sucks. He falls in lust with May as soon as he sees her, basically pursuing her for most of the book, obsessing over kissing her even when she's deep into talking about her feelings about her brother's death, and then when he finds out she's the one graffiting his garage door he drops her like hot shit and decides SHE must have been the one manipulating HIM. Zach's mom sucks. She decides to defend a shooter, putting her kids at risk of bullying and worse, spends her entire time physically unavailable leaving Zach to do the parenting for him and his sister, then at the end makes some random speech about how things aren't black and white so all is fine now. May's parents really suck. It was astounding for me how a girl who has black out panic attacks every day, attacks people in a violent rage, is suicidal and sometimes stays in bed for a good week, was not sectioned or even seemed to have a therapist? What the hell was going on with that? The only small praise I can give this book is that it did not once, ever, attempt to focus on the shooter, his character or his actions, and never tried to excuse what he did. He was in the background of the story and largely stayed that way. Oh and Lucy, who loved both twins, lost one, and was constantly there to pick up May's pieces was the true highlight of the book and kept me going. She was amazing.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Kate (GirlReading)

    A gorgeous and heartbreaking story that shouldn't have to be told. We shouldn't have to have stories about school shootings because school shootings (and any shooting for that matter) shouldn't be happening but they are and this book wonderfully explores the affects they have on the lives of those who are left behind, the people who have to live with the aftermath, the survivors, the 'the lucky ones'. Both Maya and Zach's narratives were brilliantly explored. I particularly loved that the author A gorgeous and heartbreaking story that shouldn't have to be told. We shouldn't have to have stories about school shootings because school shootings (and any shooting for that matter) shouldn't be happening but they are and this book wonderfully explores the affects they have on the lives of those who are left behind, the people who have to live with the aftermath, the survivors, the 'the lucky ones'. Both Maya and Zach's narratives were brilliantly explored. I particularly loved that the author allowed them both to be angry, without being looked down upon or seen as aggressive or 'bad', which is something I rarely see in YA. They were both real, raw, multifaceted teens who were given permission to explore their emotions and navigate their grief in the aftermath of the same traumatic circumstance, despite it having affected their lives in very different ways. The relationships throughout the book were wonderful and once again, brilliantly multi-dimensional and given a depth that added so much to the story and characters. From friendships to family to romance, no relationship, old or new, was untouched by the trauma caused by one single person and I thought the author portrayed this really well. This was heart wrenching, heart warming, intense, poignant, sensitively written and packed with a wide spectrum of emotions that don't stop hitting you right in the gut from beginning to end. I don't doubt that this is a read that will will stick with me for a long time to come. TW: school shooting, PTSD, panic attacks

  14. 4 out of 5

    Kendall

    WOW... wow.. wow.. this book! This book was heavy, intense, emotional, and rips to your core in the best way. This book is extremely important in every way. I feel like we have way to many school shootings today and give Liz extreme props for writing a book about such tough topic. We follow two teens who are struggling with the aftermath of a school shooting. These two teens are forever connected to one another and struggle/grow in different ways. Trauma has impacted these two teens and they fin WOW... wow.. wow.. this book! This book was heavy, intense, emotional, and rips to your core in the best way. This book is extremely important in every way. I feel like we have way to many school shootings today and give Liz extreme props for writing a book about such tough topic. We follow two teens who are struggling with the aftermath of a school shooting. These two teens are forever connected to one another and struggle/grow in different ways. Trauma has impacted these two teens and they find one another with the power of connection. It's beautiful how truly resistant kids can be.... I see it every day in my line of work. Liz, you are quite the talented writer and broke my heart! I fell in love with May and Zach's story and recommend to all readers to join this impeccable journey. 4 stars!! Huge thank you to Random House/Delacorte Press for the arc in exchange for my honest review. Publication date: 4/7/20 Published to GR: 12/14/19

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jeff Bishop

    Remember the name Liz Lawson. Told from two POVs, THE LUCKY ONES tells the story two students in the aftermath of a school shooting. May, whose brother was killed, and Zach, whose mother is defending the shooter. Gutting from the first page, THE LUCKY ONES is an unflinching look at the relentless grief we heap upon ourselves when we feel responsible (directly or indirectly) for the harm we've brought upon those we love. Liz Lawson takes what could've been a straightforward story about sorrow and Remember the name Liz Lawson. Told from two POVs, THE LUCKY ONES tells the story two students in the aftermath of a school shooting. May, whose brother was killed, and Zach, whose mother is defending the shooter. Gutting from the first page, THE LUCKY ONES is an unflinching look at the relentless grief we heap upon ourselves when we feel responsible (directly or indirectly) for the harm we've brought upon those we love. Liz Lawson takes what could've been a straightforward story about sorrow and digs deeper, creating a story of survivor's remorse unlike any I've read before. There's some kissing too. And rock music. Liz reeeeeaally wanted to make the characters huge Post Malone fans, but don't worry, I talked her out of it.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Alechia

    This book is... intense, difficult, important. I'm fortunate to have read this story pre-publication and admittedly, this genre is very outside my lane; I avoid contemporary because of FEELINGS and reality. But the voice grabs you from the beginning, and it's so emotionally impacting, you can't put it down. The POVs of Zach and May are heartbreaking as they move through guilt, grief, and healing, but hopeful. I can imagine this resonating with readers, especially American teens that want books r This book is... intense, difficult, important. I'm fortunate to have read this story pre-publication and admittedly, this genre is very outside my lane; I avoid contemporary because of FEELINGS and reality. But the voice grabs you from the beginning, and it's so emotionally impacting, you can't put it down. The POVs of Zach and May are heartbreaking as they move through guilt, grief, and healing, but hopeful. I can imagine this resonating with readers, especially American teens that want books reflecting the current climate and issues they face in the world.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Liz Lawson

    Hi there, Now that ARCs are heading out into the world, I wanted to take a moment to write a quick note to readers. Schools are now regularly equipped with metal detectors and security, and practice active shooter drills. As May McGintee says in this book, “Now they are one and the same, the frightening places and the daily places.” This is every day reality. I wrote this book for all the kids who are faced with this reality, day in and out. I wrote it for the kids who have lived through the shooti Hi there, Now that ARCs are heading out into the world, I wanted to take a moment to write a quick note to readers. Schools are now regularly equipped with metal detectors and security, and practice active shooter drills. As May McGintee says in this book, “Now they are one and the same, the frightening places and the daily places.” This is every day reality. I wrote this book for all the kids who are faced with this reality, day in and out. I wrote it for the kids who have lived through the shootings that are mentioned above and the many other shootings that aren’t, and for those who fear that they might endure a similar fate someday. For those who have made their way through painful, heartbreaking times and managed to find their way through to the other side. May’s story is one of pain and fear and loss, but also one of hope. Without hope, we are lost. CONTENT WARNINGS: Although the book is about the aftermath of a school shooting, there isn’t anything graphic described in relation to the event. A couple scenes where it mentions blood, but nothing on the page that depicts in a graphic way. Stalking is alluded to a few times. PTSD and survivors' guilt is dealt with throughout. A character has two panic attacks Mild bullying One fight, but not described in any sort of graphic way You do see the shooter in scene but he’s in jail. __________________________ I'm a HUGE fan of this book. ;)

  18. 5 out of 5

    Nina

    ARC provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. instagram || my blog || twitter ARC provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. instagram || my blog || twitter

  19. 4 out of 5

    PinkAmy loves books, cats and naps

    ***Thanks to NetGalley for providing me a complimentary copy of THE LUCKY ONES by Liz Lawson in exchange for my honest review.*** The moment I read the blurb for THE LUCKY ONES I preordered the book from Amazon. As soon as Liz Lawson’s debut showed up on NetGalley, I requested a copy. Today I won the ARC lottery, reshuffled my plans, cuddled up with my cat and my kindle and got started. My heart when out to May, who lost her twin in a school shooting and while I couldn’t see myself reacting with h ***Thanks to NetGalley for providing me a complimentary copy of THE LUCKY ONES by Liz Lawson in exchange for my honest review.*** The moment I read the blurb for THE LUCKY ONES I preordered the book from Amazon. As soon as Liz Lawson’s debut showed up on NetGalley, I requested a copy. Today I won the ARC lottery, reshuffled my plans, cuddled up with my cat and my kindle and got started. My heart when out to May, who lost her twin in a school shooting and while I couldn’t see myself reacting with her anger, I understood and empathized. I have read articles and a book about Twinless Twins, twins whose womb-mates have died, a rare loss unlike other sibling losses. May’s mixed feelings about Jordan, the more perfect twin she both admired and resented, complicate her grief. Adding to the trauma, May and the shooter are the only survivors from the band room shooting nearly a year ago. Zach is persona non grata since his mother decided to defend the shooter. No longer popular, he’s bullied by his former friends and classmates. Zach made me melt into a bowl of mush. I rooted for him as much as May. Both narrators were sympathetic, multidimensional and imperfect. May’s wounds showed more acutely in her behaviors and attitude; Zach stewed quietly, letting his emotions sleep out more passive-aggressively. When they met, their connection could heal or further break them, or maybe both. Lawson’s writing captivated me. I sobbed out loud for the last twenty percent of the story. THE LUCKY ONES is the kind of book I love most, a realistic story that takes me away with characters who feel like people, not a writer’s creation. I know I’ll reread THE LUCKY ONES, because once wasn’t enough. I can’t wait to see what Lawson writes next, she’s an automatic preorder.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Jenny Jo Weir

    This book is about a school shooting. In it, we explore the feelings and struggles of the main character and see partial glimpses of the grieving process other students. It's would be easy to judge the main character harshly, but everyone has to cope in their own way and I loved that nothing about this was neat and clean. The entire situation is regretful and I hope many are able to experience this book for themselves and maybe learn a thing or two from this book.

  21. 4 out of 5

    BookNightOwl

    The Lucky Ones by Liz Lawson was emotional, heartfelt story about a school shooting that takes place and how May and Zach both dealing with it in their own separate ways. This story is told in two alternate points of view. You have May who's twin brother died in the school shooting. Then you have Zach who's mother is the lawyer for the school shooter. Each dealing with their own situations end up needing each other. Thank You Random House, Delacorte Press and Netgalley for providing an ARC of th The Lucky Ones by Liz Lawson was emotional, heartfelt story about a school shooting that takes place and how May and Zach both dealing with it in their own separate ways. This story is told in two alternate points of view. You have May who's twin brother died in the school shooting. Then you have Zach who's mother is the lawyer for the school shooter. Each dealing with their own situations end up needing each other. Thank You Random House, Delacorte Press and Netgalley for providing an ARC of this book for an honest review.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Lea ♞ That_Bookdragon

    4/5 ⭐️ Thank you so much to PRH International for providing me with a free e-ARC of this book in exchange for an honest opinion! This is a poignant and heartbreaking story about moving on after a devastating trauma and the grief that follows it. It's really not an easy read as it deals with school shootings so please be aware of this before you pick it up. However, the perspective given to the characters who survived it is, I believe, essential and gut wrenching. The author did a fantastic job at 4/5 ⭐️ Thank you so much to PRH International for providing me with a free e-ARC of this book in exchange for an honest opinion! This is a poignant and heartbreaking story about moving on after a devastating trauma and the grief that follows it. It's really not an easy read as it deals with school shootings so please be aware of this before you pick it up. However, the perspective given to the characters who survived it is, I believe, essential and gut wrenching. The author did a fantastic job at showing the psychological impact this kind of tragic event can have on a person. This strong debut novel does a good job at showing the after and how people deal with life afterwards, how they try to pick themselves up. My Bookstagram

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    3.5 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ School shootings are about the worst thing that can happen to teenagers today. How can we better prepare for this? This is about to very awkward teenagers who are broken from the shooting and they should be enemies. The story is a hot mess and very YA! I had a hard time with May, she wasn’t very likable. And Zach was so weak, insecure that it made me cringe. But as the story progressed they grew on me, a little. The shooter was another disturbing character, which added mystery becaus 3.5 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ School shootings are about the worst thing that can happen to teenagers today. How can we better prepare for this? This is about to very awkward teenagers who are broken from the shooting and they should be enemies. The story is a hot mess and very YA! I had a hard time with May, she wasn’t very likable. And Zach was so weak, insecure that it made me cringe. But as the story progressed they grew on me, a little. The shooter was another disturbing character, which added mystery because he was still alive and insisted on seeing May in jail. This is tough topic to read about so I was thankful that I had the romance to distract me. It wasn’t a light read but I’m glad I read it. This was a NETGALLEY gift from the publisher and all opinions are my own. Thank you for reading my review.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jasmine

    ***Actual Rating: 3.5/5 Flying-Far-Away Stars*** When people told me this book would be perfect for fans of All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven, I literally pushed everything I was reading aside just to pick this one up right away. Well, after I was finished, there's one thing I could be sure of and that is: May and Zach's story was nothing like Violet and Finch's--my favorite OTP's--even though both stories did convey some essential messages to us readers. In my opinion, there's b ***Actual Rating: 3.5/5 Flying-Far-Away Stars*** When people told me this book would be perfect for fans of All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven, I literally pushed everything I was reading aside just to pick this one up right away. Well, after I was finished, there's one thing I could be sure of and that is: May and Zach's story was nothing like Violet and Finch's--my favorite OTP's--even though both stories did convey some essential messages to us readers. In my opinion, there's been more and more news reports on school shootings in the U.S. in the past few years, and even though it's not--and hopefully will never be--the new normal anywhere in the world, it's undeniable that more and more people have to deal with the consequences and the traumatic experiences caused by the incidents. The main characters, May and Zach, were the victims in a shooting incident, but they had very, very different reasons to mourn over. One lost a beloved family member whereas the other was on the receiving end of all things hostile. At first, it was good to know May and Zach had each other to hold on to when they couldn't get their emotions under control; however, as the story and truth behind the incident started to unfold, they realized what they used to believe in may all be a lie. What I appreciated most about this story was the layers of the character development between May and Zach. Needless to say, they grew much more mature at the end of everything, but the process was certainly the most precious and what I cherished most. It wasn't an easy task to depict the healing evolution from various levels of grief, hatred, and self-deprecation, to the ability to seek help, express the feelings, and forgive themselves. That being said, The Lucky Ones was undoubtedly a book I'd recommend and I hope everyone will be able to put themselves in the characters' shoes for once, just to feel the power of healing and being healed. ***Thanks to the publisher for providing me with an e-ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.***

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer Moffett

    I got to read THE LUCKY ONES by Liz Lawson early, and I know readers will love it as much as I did. It is a very rare thing for a book to make me cry AND also laugh while tugging at my heart the entire time, but this one did exactly that. The story follows May and Zach, two high school students both reeling from the aftermath of a local school shooting. Told through alternating first person POV, both characters are barely holding it together when they meet—May, from being a survivor while losing I got to read THE LUCKY ONES by Liz Lawson early, and I know readers will love it as much as I did. It is a very rare thing for a book to make me cry AND also laugh while tugging at my heart the entire time, but this one did exactly that. The story follows May and Zach, two high school students both reeling from the aftermath of a local school shooting. Told through alternating first person POV, both characters are barely holding it together when they meet—May, from being a survivor while losing her twin brother; and Zach, from his mother’s very public involvement as a lawyer for the shooter. Heart-wrenching at times, yet humorously heartfelt at others, The Lucky Ones explores a little-known—yet way-too-common—predicament: how to maneuver through “typical” teen experiences after surviving the surreal horrors of a mass shooting. The roller coaster of high school angst paired with PTSD and parental disconnect (and, yes, those pesky falling-in-love butterflies) make the pages turn with lightning speed. By weaving together the alternating perspectives of May and Zach, Lawson hits the exact right tone, leaving readers yearning for a hopeful outcome from a devastating situation. Throughout the story, the two teens discover that facing the things they fear the most can be the most difficult—yet surest—path to healing.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Tanya

    I feel so lucky to have been given the opportunity to read a pre-publication version of this book. It's been a while since I've read something that has given me chills and brought tears to my eyes. I'm not going to sugarcoat it—this is a tough read, especially the chapters that are from May's POV—a survivor of a school shooting that took the life of her twin brother, Jordan. May's life is basically spiraling out of control, until she meets Zach, a boy with his own problems, (I'll leave them out I feel so lucky to have been given the opportunity to read a pre-publication version of this book. It's been a while since I've read something that has given me chills and brought tears to my eyes. I'm not going to sugarcoat it—this is a tough read, especially the chapters that are from May's POV—a survivor of a school shooting that took the life of her twin brother, Jordan. May's life is basically spiraling out of control, until she meets Zach, a boy with his own problems, (I'll leave them out to avoid spoilers). Underneath his issues, Zach's an awkward and kind and sweet boy, just what May needs in her life. But the reality is, that he isn't enough. May has to take her own journey, one that will bring her face to face with her own demons, as well as a real-life demon—the killer who took the life of her brother, her friends and her teacher. If you're looking for a YA book that's tinged with romance, mystery, action and loads of rip-your-heart-out-while-it's-still-beating feels, then this is definitely the book for you. Highly recommend!

  27. 4 out of 5

    June Hur

    What I love about this book is that the voice is so brutally honest and raw that it catches you off guard, and holds onto you. You feel what the characters are feeling so deeply - their fury, their pain, their loneliness and confusion, but also their hopes, their victories, and that fluttering sensation of falling in love. With all that said, THE LUCKY ONES is a an emotionally tough book to read, and it is an important book to read. I highly recommend this book, especially if you're interested i What I love about this book is that the voice is so brutally honest and raw that it catches you off guard, and holds onto you. You feel what the characters are feeling so deeply - their fury, their pain, their loneliness and confusion, but also their hopes, their victories, and that fluttering sensation of falling in love. With all that said, THE LUCKY ONES is a an emotionally tough book to read, and it is an important book to read. I highly recommend this book, especially if you're interested in a story that sensitively deals with the complexity of identity, grief and healing.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Reading_ Tam_ Ishly

    📌 Disclaimers: 1. I don't know such a survivor of such a tragic incident in real so I might sound really ignorant and insensitive in this review. 2. I personally do not know that well about PTSD or anxiety or the law system (that the characters are dealing with here) 3. Maybe I picked up the book at the wrong time. 4. This is not an attack to anyone or to anything that might lead to possible unwanted reactions. This also maybe due to the fact that I am hugely disappointed with the book as it's one o 📌 Disclaimers: 1. I don't know such a survivor of such a tragic incident in real so I might sound really ignorant and insensitive in this review. 2. I personally do not know that well about PTSD or anxiety or the law system (that the characters are dealing with here) 3. Maybe I picked up the book at the wrong time. 4. This is not an attack to anyone or to anything that might lead to possible unwanted reactions. This also maybe due to the fact that I am hugely disappointed with the book as it's one of my most awaited books since last year. And so please allow me to be a little more disappointed. All the above might have highly influenced my opinion on this book. I agree it's totally because of me that I simply couldn't read this book without getting edgy and feeling uncomfortable. No, I didn't DNF this book. First of all the first few chapters threw me off guard as the characters were coming out too strong. But I can understand why so, especially May, the survivor of a tragic incident which killed her brother. (The summary pretty much describes the book overall.) So I was trying my best in understanding the character. But.... my problem is that this same character did not develop much till the last page of the book. I simply cannot (as much as I tried) connect or feel anything other than intense dislike for this character. She is always on edge, drives everyone on edge, comes out to me as the ultimate attention seeker and nothing and no one seems to matter to her unless she is always ready to get pissed off if the company she wants is out of her sight. (I am a damn horrible person to say all these to a character who is going through the worse times of her life. I know I am horrible! But as much as I want to sympathize with her, it came out as something very negative and I just couldn't stand this character. She treats everyone like shit. I know she's young, she's trying to cope with many things on her own but hey, I am the reader villain here okay? I cannot say nice things to heroes who are so self absorbed ....trying to avoid some strong terms here...) The book is written in alternate POV chapters by May and Zach (whose mother is going to defend the culprit). So basically it's Zack whose family is shunned by everyone, gets threatened on a daily basis and it's Zach who is being harassed all the time wherever he goes. But he's the character that gives off the good vibes, the character who we need to protect or love at all costs no matter what. It is his character that is so down to earth, so wholesome and comforting all the same. It's because of him that I was able to read the book till the end. But I wish I could save him from the possible romance that's going to happen. Thankfully there wasn't much of it. But ultimately, it's the writing style that I just couldn't connect with. It's young adult normal way of writing. There's nothing wrong I would say. Yes, it's one of those me moments where I cannot get what everyone else gets. Maybe the sequence of events that were happening just didn't go well with me I think. Maybe I got a bit too biased towards Zach towards the second half of the book. And regarding the adult characters. Poorly done. Poorly represented. Poorly developed. And what about the story of the victims or the brother who got killed? I am still left hanging here. You know? I was searching through each and every line to provoke me a bit, make me feel something about the story, about these characters.... Seriously I am frustrated. And (being at my obnoxious best here, being the reader villain) the book was so unnecessarily LONG with not much happening in the too long chapters. And the ending was so disappointing. (Most of the time I try to avoid writing such negative long reviews about my least favourite reads because we don't need all the negativity. But sometimes I feel like it's just wrong to give very low ratings to a book without giving reasons.) I feel like shit writing this review. No, I don't enjoy writing bad, negative reviews. It wears me out. I am the one feeling the most negative in the end.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Kassie

    Wow, this book is heavy. And beautiful and hard to read. We follow May, who's twin brother was killed during a school shooting almost a year ago. May is the only one that was in the room and survived. We follow her anger and guilt towards herself, towards others grieving around her, towards the woman now defending the shooter. Like I said, this is a heavy book. I'm 50/50 on some of what the adults' decisions were but at the same time, I recognize what Liz Lawson was doing with them. Almost all of Wow, this book is heavy. And beautiful and hard to read. We follow May, who's twin brother was killed during a school shooting almost a year ago. May is the only one that was in the room and survived. We follow her anger and guilt towards herself, towards others grieving around her, towards the woman now defending the shooter. Like I said, this is a heavy book. I'm 50/50 on some of what the adults' decisions were but at the same time, I recognize what Liz Lawson was doing with them. Almost all of the adults that are involved in this story are also going through grief in their own ways, or have something else going on in their personal lives that don't revolve around their children. While I recognize that this is often the case, I struggled especially with the adults working in the school that made no attempt to get our main characters (especially May) any extra help. Perhaps this comes from my background in working in residential treatment, but it surprised me that May was never told she needed more intense treatment. There is some mention of therapy that she refused to talk in but it just didn't seem like enough to me. There was no talk of treatment for the family (parents included) who lost May's twin. I wish that could've been more prevalent in the story. That being said, I loved this book a lot and finished it in tears. Please go into the story making sure you can handle the content. It's intense but beautiful if you're ready for it.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Eva Gibson

    I was privileged enough to get my hands on an early copy of THE LUCKY ONES, and right from the start I had a gut feeling I’d love it. I am happy to say that my gut did not steer me wrong. This story is heartbreaking and complicated, gritty and darkly hilarious. The characters are emotionally messy, and realistically conflicted, and the love story is as star-crossed as it can get. Basically, this book has all the things I want in a contemporary. Told from alternating perspectives, THE LUCKY ONES f I was privileged enough to get my hands on an early copy of THE LUCKY ONES, and right from the start I had a gut feeling I’d love it. I am happy to say that my gut did not steer me wrong. This story is heartbreaking and complicated, gritty and darkly hilarious. The characters are emotionally messy, and realistically conflicted, and the love story is as star-crossed as it can get. Basically, this book has all the things I want in a contemporary. Told from alternating perspectives, THE LUCKY ONES follows May and Zach, two teens experiencing the aftermath of a school shooting in very different ways. May, who lost her brother in the tragedy, has already used up all her last chances by the first page of the book. Her struggles with rage, intense grief, and the ruination of her family threaten to upend what’s left of her life as she tries to make sense of the reason she was spared, and the part she may or may not have played in the unfolding of that day. Meanwhile, Zach is dealing with the fallout in a more tangential but still impactful way—his mother’s involvement in the shooter’s trial cost him his girlfriend, destabilized his home life, and made him a social pariah. When he and May are brought together by what remains of their respective friend groups, they feel an immediate connection—only to quickly discover their lives are already horribly intertwined. As they grow closer, their secrets leak out bit by bit, threatening to erase the already faint silver linings of their situation. May’s voice is gut-wrenching and real, sure to resonate with anyone who’s been devastated by loss or survivor’s guilt. The way Liz Lawson depicts her—as a raw, damaged, justifiably broken girl, who more than earns her fragility and her fury—is unflinchingly, brutally honest, yet still empathetic. Though much of May’s behavior is misguided and anger-driven, she remains vulnerable and relatable, never crossing over into “unlikable protagonist” territory. Zach is both endearing and awkward, but with shades of anger and stoicism that add an intriguing edge to his otherwise eager-to-please personality, and save him from fitting the typical Good Boy stereotype. The supporting characters are distinctive and consistent, each lending their own important facet to the backstory, and contributing to the resolution in ways that feel natural instead of forced. The dialogue and internal narratives are realistic and unrestrained, in a way that I appreciated from start to finish. I’ve read more than a few books that deal with school shootings, but this is the first one I’ve come across that delves so thoroughly beneath the surface and into the rage and loss, without sugar-coating, and without attempting to paint the shooter in an undeserved sympathetic light. I absolutely enjoyed and connected with this book, and I’m certain many, many readers will feel the same.

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