Book Review, Contemporary, Excerpt, NetGalley, School Shootings, YA Fiction

The Lucky Ones by Liz Lawson

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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.


Read an excerpt from The Lucky Ones at Underlined.

After a tragic school shooting, a young girl tries to pick up the pieces after losing her twin brother and being the only survivor who knows what really happened in the band room that day.

The graffiti on the door spells out BITCH in bright red spray paint. The woman should pay for defending that piece of shit who killed her brother. May is angry. May is sad. May is fucked-up in the head. Now she has to attend a new school because they closed her school after the shooting. Her friend Lucy is her rock and the only one who treats her like she’s not a freak. The others try too hard, except for that kid, Zach, in my drama class. He’s cute, shy, sweet, and makes me feel safe, but who wants to be around someone like me. A coward. A freak. A broken shell.

Zack is the kid everyone hates. He has no friends left except Conor. His former dickhead friend Matt is dating Zach’s ex-girlfriend and Matt makes sure Zach knows it every chance he gets. When Zach meets the new girl May in his drama class, he finds someone who sees him, until she finds out his last name.  Zach is defined by his mother. The woman who is defending the monster who gunned down those students. Will May be able to get past my name and give me a chance?

Ms. Lawson has chosen a subject that is difficult to comprehend and immerses the reader into a world unknown to those who have survived an extremely traumatic event. Her characters are vulnerable and strong, broken and healed, and dejected and hopeful. The story is about the “survivor’s” perspective, about grieving in your own way, about finding that one person who will accept you for who you are. May and Zach are two broken kids with unhappy family lives who compliment each other. Their growth throughout the story is heartbreaking and wonderful at the same time. My heroes of the story are Zach for his patience and his sweet (sometimes awkward) moments to help May any way he can and Lucy for her unfailing support of May during her darkest hours.

This is a painfully moving debut novel with a message that victims come in all shapes and sizes. Please read this important and amazing book. I guarantee the tears will flow.

Thank you to Ms. Lawson and Netgalley for giving me the opportunity to read this book with no expectation of a positive review.


The Lucky Ones

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Liz LawsonLiz Lawson is an author, a music supervisor, a wife, a mom, and a bunch of other things, too. She’s been writing for most of her life in one way or another — in high school, her SAT II essay about gopher throwing was awarded a perfect score, and in college, she held a position on the editorial board of the campus newspaper.

Since college, she’s written for a variety of publications, including Paste Magazine, went to grad school, lived in six states + D.C., worked on a multitude of films and many, many episodes of television, got married, birthed a child, birthed three books (the last of which is her debut, The Lucky Ones), and has done some other stuff, too, probably.

Her debut contemporary YA novel, The Lucky Ones, is inspired in part by all the children who have experienced school shootings, of whom there are far too many in this country.

Currently, Liz resides in Los Angeles, CA, where she lives with an adorable toddler, a fantastic husband, and two VERY bratty cats.

Follow Liz on Twitter and Instagram.