Thanks to NetGalley and Delacorte Press for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Release Date: April 7th, 2020
Synopsis: For fans of “Thirteen Reasons Why,” “This Is How It Ends,” and “All the Bright Places,” comes a new novel about life after. 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 Zack 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.
After reading The Lucky Ones last night over a two hour period I feel comfortable in saying this will be one of the most talked about books of 2020.
Told in alternating perspectives from May, the only survivor of a school shooting and Zach, whose mother has taken on the case of the shooter, the story explores the aftermath, when the cameras have left and the media’s and country’s attention has moved on to the next calamity-driven news cycle. May, who lost her twin brother is not only angry but is also suffering from survivor’s guilt and PTSD. Her fury and anguish are so palpable and just tore my heart in two. And Zach, a sweet awkward boy, has gone from having a normal social life, to dealing with being ostracized simply for being the son of the lawyer defending the shooter. That these two should meet and actually start healing each other shouldn’t have worked, yet it does. Their relationship has its ups and downs, but it develops in an utterly believable way. It’s messy, and tension-filled, and at times even humorous, but what remains constant is the need for these two lost souls to beat the odds and stay together. They each have a support system in place with their small group of friends, and thank goodness for that because the adult/parental disconnect is prevalent. By the end of the book though there’s hope for a strengthening in the bond between May and her mother, and Zach and his parents.
The Lucky Ones is an impressive debut for Liz Lawson, and I have a feeling we’ll be hearing a lot more from her. I’m not going to lie. This is an emotional, gut-wrenching tale, and I recommend that you have a box of tissues handy. It’s also a book that I feel privileged to have been granted an early copy and it’s one that I highly recommend for teens, parents, and any adult who cares about what kids are having to deal with today, things that we didn’t have to. The story doesn’t get political or wade into the gun control debate, although I recommend you read the author’s afterward where she discusses why she wrote this. Instead, it puts a human face to what life is like after a mass shooting. If there is going to be one book that I nag everyone to mark their calendars (4/7/20) and read, it’s The Lucky Ones. This is a book that every high school and public library should have on its shelves, so if you can, please put in requests to purchase to your libraries now.