Hi friends! It’s Nyx over there. I hope you’re all doing well. I’m writing the review today, I hope you’ll enjoy it! As always, there are no spoilers in this review.
The Lucky Ones, Liz Lawson
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.
☂️ TRIGGER WARNINGS: click here to see them.
school shooting, blood, stalking, PTSD, survivor’s guilt, panic attacks, bullying
- The characters! They are deep and we’re really able to glance a bit into their minds and their struggles. It was impossible not to feel for them. I especially liked May. Some readers thought she was a bit unlikable but it was not my case. May is dealing with PTSD, survivor’s guilt and complex grief. But most of all, she’s angry, really angry and doesn’t know how to deal with it. I could totally get that. She’s mean to the people who care most about her, starts fights, isolates herself and pushes people away but that’s what made her real, raw, and multifaceted. Her growth in this story is not monumental but I don’t think it’s supposed to be.
- The time it takes place. This book doesn’t focus on the day of the shooting but a year after, long after the media vans and reporters have packed up and moved on. It’s about the kids left behind, the kids who are forced to pick up the pieces of their lives that were shattered and how they are dealing with the trauma of that day.
- The topics it deals with, which are unfortunately so relevant to the society we live in today. It doesn’t go in depth into the why it happened or what the shooter was going through, but focuses on the kids that survived that day, the “lucky ones”, and all the people affected by this tragedy. It’s about PTSD, survivor’s guilt, grief but it’s also about hope, friendship and love. I especially liked how the author approched the topic of grief, how people have different reactions and handle it in very different ways.
- The POV. The Lucky Ones is told from alternating perspectives – May and Zach – and I really liked to see how this tragic day affected people in very different ways. Zach who’s mother is the lawyer for the school shooter is an awkward, kind and sweet boy who crosses path with May. It gave the story more depth and underlined the importance of asking for help, that sometimes in order to get through a tough situation, you need a shoulder to lean on.
- Friends to lovers? When May meets Zach their attraction is mutual but they’re both going through a lot. The author could have easily throw May and Zach into a whirlwind romance but instead she focused on them becoming friends and slowly maybe more than that… I really loved that!
I HAD A HARD TIME WITH…
- At some parts of the story, I found it a bit heavy and suffocating because of the subject choice. Even if this story is full of hope, it can still be a depressing and soul shaking experience.
- 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. I feel like all the adult characters were not enough developed.
- Also, for a book about gun violence, there was very little talk about guns or gun control. But since it’s YA, maybe she didn’t want to get “too” political.
If you’re looking for an intense, emotional and poignant debut novel about grief, PTSD and survivor’s guilt, I’d definitely recommend The Lucky Ones. It was such a heart wrenching story, full of hope, with powerful characters that will, without a doubt, shakes you to the core.
Final rating: 4 drops!
A million thanks to the author for sending an ARC of The Lucky Ones through a giveaway we won!
Did you read The Lucky Ones? Do you want to?
Do you have any tough but important reads on your TBR you’re a bit scared to get into? Let me know in comments!