Disclaimer: I received this arc from the publisher. Thanks! All opinions are my own.
Book: The Lucky Ones
Author: Liz Lawson
Book Series: Standalone
Publication Date: April 7, 2020
Genre: YA Contemporary
Recommended Age: 15+ (discusses and depicts gun violence/school shooting TW, some delinquent behavior, romance)
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Synopsis: 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.
Review: I really liked this book! I think the author did well to approach the subject with grace and sensitivity. I think that the writing was well done, the characters were likeable and well developed. The pacing was also well done. I also liked how the author showed how different grief is. Grief isn’t just tears and there’s no one way to deal with it. Sometimes grief manifest itself in different ways and each person has to come up with ways to deal with it in their own way.
However, I did feel like the romance was a bit forced, but it felt more natural as the book went on. The book also did well with the subject of school shootings, but otherwise there wasn’t much of a story outside of how characters deal with grief, which normally doesn’t keep my attention (but in this one it did for the most part). Ultimately, it’s just saddening to think that while these characters get to heal, the process will begin all over again with new children, some of them as young as 5, until we come together as a nation to figure out a way to stop these from happening to the next group of children.
Verdict: A well done book that, while doesn’t present ways to prevent gun violence, helps show how we can better help those who are “the lucky ones”.