The Lucky Ones
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.

The Lucky Ones Details

TitleThe Lucky Ones
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseApr 7th, 2020
PublisherDelacorte Press
ISBN-139780593118498
Rating
GenreContemporary, Young Adult, Fiction

The Lucky Ones Review

  • Nilufer Ozmekik
    January 1, 1970
    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 didnt 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.
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  • Ꮗ€♫◗☿ ❤️ ilikebooksbest.com ❤️
    January 1, 1970
    Pages: 352 Expected publication: April 7th 2020The 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 doesnt 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 didnt. Especially concentrating on her PTSD and survival guilt. The book takes place nearly a Pages: 352 Expected publication: April 7th 2020The 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
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  • The Burning Rose (Jess)
    January 1, 1970
    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.
  • Christy
    January 1, 1970
    4 stars Im a SURVIVOR. Im 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. Its not an easy read and broke my heart. It had moments though. Moments that had me hopeful. Im so impressed this is a debut novel.May is the main character in this story and shes been through so much. Shes having trouble getting through day by day and shes guilt ridden, but shes also a 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.
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  • Nenia ⚡ Aspiring Evil Overlord ⚡ Campbell
    January 1, 1970
    Instagram || Twitter || Facebook || Amazon || PinterestSo 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 Instagram || Twitter || Facebook || Amazon || PinterestSo 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
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  • Nursebookie
    January 1, 1970
    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 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.
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  • Brittney ~ Reverie and Ink
    January 1, 1970
    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!
  • Wendy'sThoughts
    January 1, 1970
    4 A Real Look Stars* * * * Spoiler FreeThere 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 4 A Real Look Stars* * * * Spoiler FreeThere 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 is 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 WorldAnd come out the other side... The Lucky Ones -April 7, 2020 For more Reviews, Free E-books and Giveaways
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  • Kendall
    January 1, 1970
    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 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: 4/7/20Published to GR: 12/14/19
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  • Jeff Bishop
    January 1, 1970
    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.
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  • Alechia
    January 1, 1970
    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 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.
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  • Mandi1082
    January 1, 1970
    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 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.
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  • PinkAmy loves books, cats and naps
    January 1, 1970
    ***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 Lawsons 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 couldnt see myself reacting with her ***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.
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  • Liz Lawson
    January 1, 1970
    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 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 attacksMild bullying One fight, but not described in any sort of graphic wayYou do see the shooter in scene but he’s in jail.__________________________I'm a HUGE fan of this book. ;)
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  • Jennifer Moffett
    January 1, 1970
    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 meetMay, 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.
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  • Tanya
    January 1, 1970
    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 itthis is a tough read, especially the chapters that are from May's POVa 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 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!
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  • Jenn
    January 1, 1970
    Well...wow.Sadly, school shootings have increased recently, along with just any gun violence. A lot of news and media always focuses on the right now, but The Lucky Ones focuses on the after. And not the directly after, the year after. A year ago May lost her her twin brother in a school shooting. Not only was she left unharmed, but she was the only one in the band room that day who made it out alive. This story is told in alternating point of views. First we have May who is extremely broken Well...wow.Sadly, school shootings have increased recently, along with just any gun violence. A lot of news and media always focuses on the right now, but The Lucky Ones focuses on the after. And not the directly after, the year after. A year ago May lost her her twin brother in a school shooting. Not only was she left unharmed, but she was the only one in the band room that day who made it out alive. This story is told in alternating point of views. First we have May who is extremely broken still. She's angry all the time and when she's not angry, she's just passive. A year later, and she still hasn't dealt with that day and her emotions. May's a walking timebomb and she's going back to public school for the first time since the shooting. Obviously, this can't end well.Then we have Zach. Zach's life used to be decent. Friends, girlfriend, all the fun stuff that comes with being in high school. But ever since his mother decided to defend the shooter, his life has been hell. When he meets May, he has no idea who she is or what she's been through. He just knows that there's a girl who makes him smile. But that doesn't last long once he realizes who she is. Liz Lawson really holds nothing back when it comes to emotions. While May and Zach are suffering from different circumstances, their pain is real and that's what attracted me to this story. There were times when I didn't like May, because honestly, she wasn't a nice person. But she had amazing people around her that supported her. Ultimately, between them and Zach, we finally were able to reach the source of May's real pain and that's when my heart broke. A heart-hurting, breathtaking debut that showed a realistic display of pain and survival. I will definitely be checking out comes next from Lawson.
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  • Eva Gibson
    January 1, 1970
    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 Id 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 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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  • June Hur
    January 1, 1970
    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 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.
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  • Nicole N. (A Myriad of Books)
    January 1, 1970
    Actual rating: 3.5 stars Content warnings: Depression, PTSD, panic/anxiety attack, school shooting scenario I picked up this book from the publisher's booth while attending the North Texas Teen Book Festival in March 2020.I find books dealing with this subject content so hard to rate. It's not that I dislike the book or the book isn't for me, it's just that the subject matter is so heavy that I don't want to dismiss how people genuinely feel regarding this delicate matter. Not to say that the Actual rating: 3.5 stars Content warnings: Depression, PTSD, panic/anxiety attack, school shooting scenario I picked up this book from the publisher's booth while attending the North Texas Teen Book Festival in March 2020.I find books dealing with this subject content so hard to rate. It's not that I dislike the book or the book isn't for me, it's just that the subject matter is so heavy that I don't want to dismiss how people genuinely feel regarding this delicate matter. Not to say that the book wasn't good or doesn't deserve to be read either.The aftermath of the school shooting affected May and Zach in similar yet different ways. Their lives changed forever, and they both deal with it in different ways. May feels completely lost without her twin brother, Jordan. We see her wrestle with issues and dealing with things in her own way but the author never fully reveals the depths of May's anger and sadness until later in the book. I've never had to deal with the loss of a family member in this way, but May is hurting and I don't quite think she knows how to accept help from people. That and being a teenager is hard work! may and Zach connect and it's a bit back-and-forth of "I know something you don't know" sort of thing.I really do love how May and Zach both have strong friends to rely on. Despite losing their old friends due to the aftermath of the school shooting, they each have that one reliable friend until each other comes along. This book also reveals a bit how parents struggle with what happens in the outside world, too. May's parents are trying to grieve the loss of their son while Zach's parents also deal with in their own way. It isn't until way later that we see kids and parents working together to heal, which is nice to see.This book isn't all rainbows and butterflies, but I'm sure you know that after reading the synopsis. I wouldn't necessarily call the ending a "happy" one either, but it's progressing toward that. We just don't to see it.
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  • Gary Anderson
    January 1, 1970
    Liz Lawsons The Lucky Ones is a searing new look at the aftereffects of a school shooting and the relationship between two young people with different connections to the shooting. Mays twin brother and six others died in the shooting while May hid in a nearby closet listening as events unfolded. When Mays school is closed after the tragedy, students are sent to other campuses. At her new school, May meets Zach. Then she discovers that Zachs mother is the killers defense attorney. Told from the Liz Lawson’s The Lucky Ones is a searing new look at the aftereffects of a school shooting and the relationship between two young people with different connections to the shooting. May’s twin brother and six others died in the shooting while May hid in a nearby closet listening as events unfolded. When May’s school is closed after the tragedy, students are sent to other campuses. At her new school, May meets Zach. Then she discovers that Zach’s mother is the killer’s defense attorney. Told from the alternating viewpoints of May and Zach, The Lucky Ones not only portrays how traumatic events create ripples that affect families and communities, but Lawson also perceptively conveys how actions preceding the traumatic events can shape the aftereffects.May and Zach are relatively under-the-radar kids who party a little, are tight with a small group of friends, and don’t get along particularly well with their parents. I admire how Lawson avoids the YA trope of making May, Zach, and their friends stereotypes or the stars of their schools. The friends of May and Zach are distinctive, appealing, and crucial to the plot. May and Zach meet through Lucy and Conor, their best friends who play together in a rock band—Proper Noun and the Noun--along with May’s ex-boyfriend Miles. The friends’ social life revolves around the band’s rehearsal and performances.The shooter, David, is also a character in The Lucky Ones. May knew David before he killed her brother, but he made her uncomfortable, so she avoided him. As David awaits trial, he sends letters to May from jail. May keeps the letters but does not open them until later in the book. When opened, David’s letters reveal the promise of a secret about her dead brother, and I don’t think it’s too much of a spoiler to say there is an intense scene where May comes face to face with her brother’s killer.The Lucky Ones has several scenes like this where characters with intense conflicts confront each other, and Lawson effectively delivers the action and drama of those moments. She just as effectively conveys the internal complexity of the characters’ psychological struggles, and those passages are emotional and visceral.Liz Lawson’s The Lucky Ones may be the just-right book for readers who like impactful realistic fiction, and for those who are into music and bands. Many young readers like books with the alternating-narrator format because it tends to be fast-paced and avoids repetitiveness. Most importantly, school shootings are on the minds of today’s high school students. They think about this issue a lot. The growing YA subgenre of school-shooting novels is testament to how books can help young people process their thoughts and emotions related to this persistent societal problem. Readers drawn to other school shooting books such as Kody Keplinger’s That’s Not What Happened, Jodi Picoult’s Nineteen Minutes, or Dave Cullen’s Columbine may also find The Lucky Ones a satisfying read.The Lucky Ones is an important addition to that tragic collection, but this book’s relevance goes beyond a school shooting context. In her debut novel, Liz Lawson shows that while there are no easy answers to life’s most difficult challenges, and resolution may be slow and closure never completely possible, there is always hope. As May’s mother says near the novel’s end, “All of this—all of us. We will be okay. I promise.”This review also appears on my What's Not Wrong? blog in slightly different form.
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  • Vee_Bookish
    January 1, 1970
    The more I look at this cover, the more I love it. I hope the book is just as good!
  • Raquel Gilliland
    January 1, 1970
    Liz Lawsons The Lucky Ones is a devastating and compassionate look at the aftermath of a school shooting. Lawsons ability to capture the effects of such a traumatic event is astonishing and authentic. The Lucky Ones is written from two points of view: May, whose brother was murdered in the shooting, and Zach, whose lawyer mother is representing the suspect. These two characters and the difficulties they face are totally visceral. Readers can *feel* Zachs isolation and search for human connection Liz Lawson’s The Lucky Ones is a devastating and compassionate look at the aftermath of a school shooting. Lawson’s ability to capture the effects of such a traumatic event is astonishing and authentic. The Lucky Ones is written from two points of view: May, whose brother was murdered in the shooting, and Zach, whose lawyer mother is representing the suspect. These two characters and the difficulties they face are totally visceral. Readers can *feel* Zach’s isolation and search for human connection in his day-to-day life. May’s experience following the loss of her twin is particularly searing. Lawson truly captures the harrowing emotions after such trauma—the grief, anger, panic, and flashbacks. The descriptions of PTSD symptoms are absolutely spot-on. The seemingly unlikely friendship, and then romance, between May and Zach, is touching throughout its whole arc. I appreciate Zach’s softness, kindness, and intuitive approach in his comforting of May.In addition to the aftereffects of the shooting, other difficult subjects are approached in this book, all gently and with care. Lawson tackles alcoholism and mental illness, especially depression and how it affects the whole family. Lawson expertly shows how differently characters respond to what feels like bottomless grief and suffering. This book shows exactly what it’s like to try and integrate yourself back into the same spaces you spent time in before trauma and loss took over your life, such as school, groups, and even just family dinners. And how difficult and layered and complicated that transition is. Sometimes people just can’t understand what a survivor’s been through and can be thoughtless with their attempts to communicate. May and Zach’s frustration with these encounters and more is palpable through the pages.Though The Lucky Ones is an emotionally heavy book, the foundational message of this story is hope. The only way out of grief is through it, and with help from people who sincerely care. Even after going through the unthinkable, it’s important to know you’re never alone. That the love you feel for your lost loved ones always survives.
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  • Galloway Allbright
    January 1, 1970
    I'm a 39 year old Dad of a couple little sons, I haven't picked up a YA book since we were consumed by a Clinton impeachment, and The Lucky Ones about gutted me. I had to put it down a few times, not because it was tiresome, but because I literally couldn't handle the excruciatingly realized white heat of a teenager's inner life. Brick by brick Liz Lawson's writing builds witness to these children's world, inside and out, in a way that should shame and move the adults who have left them to I'm a 39 year old Dad of a couple little sons, I haven't picked up a YA book since we were consumed by a Clinton impeachment, and The Lucky Ones about gutted me. I had to put it down a few times, not because it was tiresome, but because I literally couldn't handle the excruciatingly realized white heat of a teenager's inner life. Brick by brick Liz Lawson's writing builds witness to these children's world, inside and out, in a way that should shame and move the adults who have left them to grow up in such a mess. Lawson deals with what it takes a kid to get across an ocean of numbness and survival to a place of real resilience and interdependency. Will they be able to get out from underneath all this trauma with enough time left on the clock of childhood? Will they get a chance to replenish what was taken - the Big Feelings, the wonder, the excitement, the hot flush of who you might get to be in the world - before the peer reviewed cynicism of your 20's caps those things for them? And where can we hide/lock up/sequester my kids, so that they can neither receive nor distribute the kind of pain Zach and May must drag themselves through? Lawson leaves me alone to confront the last question, but she inspires and compels as she punches up at answers to the other two. Hopefully by 2020 you'll have two new women shedding a little light in your life, one in the White House and this one on your bedside table.
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  • Kelly Coon
    January 1, 1970
    I haven't cried that hard about a book in a long time. Filled with raw anger, and underneath it all, a deep, driving ache that comes through perfectly, this debut is a reminder of how deeply we can feel about someone we've lost and how long and difficult recovery can actually be. Highly, highly recommend.
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  • Trisha Perry
    January 1, 1970
    May is a lucky one, but she doesn't feel like one, every since her brother, the genius, was a victim of a school shooting. She feels responsible for what happened, and doesn't see how anybody else can possibly feel the way she does. Zach became a social outcast the day his mother decided to represent the shooter, his friends are ghosting him, and his girlfriend left. Than Zach and May meet each other when their schools are joined and hit it off, but they don't find out each others roles until May is a lucky one, but she doesn't feel like one, every since her brother, the genius, was a victim of a school shooting. She feels responsible for what happened, and doesn't see how anybody else can possibly feel the way she does. Zach became a social outcast the day his mother decided to represent the shooter, his friends are ghosting him, and his girlfriend left. Than Zach and May meet each other when their schools are joined and hit it off, but they don't find out each others roles until later, can their friendship weather the biggest storm of them all?This book has a refreshing and realistic take on school shootings, it that it is though the eyes of a survivor, May should have died that day but was spared, and this book takes you though all her grief, panic attacks and all the symptoms of PTSD and survivors grief. It is obvious the author did her homework and got it right , and her notes at the end are also well worth the read. I really liked this book.
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  • Andrea Contos
    January 1, 1970
    Liz Lawson's THE LUCKY ONES is the kind of book you can't put down--and that won't leave you even after you've finished the last page.It deftly tackles the aftermath of a school shooting with honesty and grace, and the raw emotion from every character comes to life on the page. May's anger and pain seeps through every word, as does her need to find a way to heal and recover, and the dynamic between her and Zach--who's also dealing with aftermath in a very different way--feels believable and Liz Lawson's THE LUCKY ONES is the kind of book you can't put down--and that won't leave you even after you've finished the last page.It deftly tackles the aftermath of a school shooting with honesty and grace, and the raw emotion from every character comes to life on the page. May's anger and pain seeps through every word, as does her need to find a way to heal and recover, and the dynamic between her and Zach--who's also dealing with aftermath in a very different way--feels believable and authentic.Lawson manages to dive deep, and doesn't shy away from the turmoil left behind from such a tragedy, and you can't help but to follow these characters as they learn the truth about themselves, and each other.
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  • Janet
    January 1, 1970
    I am one of the few very fortunate souls who got to read THE LUCKY ONES before it was bought by a major publishing house in a pre-empt. This novels premise may sound dark, but Mays dry humor and Zachs heartfelt optimism shine through in every chapter, illuminating a sad story with a thousand pinpricks of starlight. I adore this book and cannot wait until you get to read it in 2020. I am one of the few very fortunate souls who got to read THE LUCKY ONES before it was bought by a major publishing house in a pre-empt. This novel’s premise may sound dark, but May’s dry humor and Zach’s heartfelt optimism shine through in every chapter, illuminating a sad story with a thousand pinpricks of starlight. I adore this book and cannot wait until you get to read it in 2020.
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  • Sanna
    January 1, 1970
    7 October 2019This sounds like a tough and heavy book. Also an important one. Im not so sure that I cant keep tears away while reading this. For the record, Ive never REALLY cried while reading a book. 7 October 2019This sounds like a tough and heavy book. Also an important one. I’m not so sure that I can’t keep tears away while reading this. For the record, I’ve never REALLY cried while reading a book.
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  • Nabilah Firdaus
    January 1, 1970
    I have just finished this book and I feel inside a whirlwind of feelings and emotions which unfortunately, not all positive. This is a hard book to review; it is complex, fragile and made me uncomfortable.The Lucky Ones is set during the aftermath of a school shooting and follows two high school students, May and Zach. May survived during the school shooting that killed her twin brother because she hid in a locker in a room where it happened. One night, she met Zach, whose mom she later I have just finished this book and I feel inside a whirlwind of feelings and emotions which unfortunately, not all positive. This is a hard book to review; it is complex, fragile and made me uncomfortable.The Lucky Ones is set during the aftermath of a school shooting and follows two high school students, May and Zach. May survived during the school shooting that killed her twin brother because she hid in a locker in a room where it happened. One night, she met Zach, whose mom she later discovered, is the lawyer representing the shooter.This book deftly tackles the psychological aftermath of surviving school shooting. In this story, May was angry and broken, which I gotta admit, made her a very difficult character to understand. She was complex, vulnerable and very flawed. Her stubbornness for not letting people help her sometimes vexed me and it was frustrating how she had no consideration for others’ healing process. But as frustrated as I was, I realize that trauma and psychological healing are never meant to be a comfortable journey and Liz Lawson gave you that. The issue of public perception against the work of criminal defense attorneys was also brought into the light but it’s very unfortunate the issue was touched just on the surface and I kind of wish the characterization of Zach’s mom was more fleshed out so that we could see why she decided to do the thing she did.“People aren’t just the sum of their mistakes. The world isn’t black and white - the best thing you can do for yourself is to look at the spaces between those poles, to see that extremes aren’t useful to anyone.”All in all, this is an incredibly heartfelt debut about grief, hope and survival. The only complaints I have with the book is I just wish the relationship between the characters in the book had more depth and there was very little talk about guns control. Other than that, the story was well written and I hope it provides the insight necessary to create the change that the US desperately needs to make schools safer for everyone. I’m one of the fortunate reviewers who got to read The Lucky Ones and I thank @times.reads for giving me the ARC of this book. Actual rating: 3.5/5 stars.Trigger warning: Gun violence, PTSD, depression, panic attacks, alcohol abuse
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