Beautifully Written Heartbreak | Review: The Lucky Ones by Liz Lawson

6:30 AM

If you've been following Booked J for years, you already know that because of my origins in reading old Lurlene McDaniel novels, I will forever adore YA contemporary novels that explore grief. The Lucky Ones is one of those novels.

by Liz Lawson

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 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 by Liz Lawson
Rating: ★★★★★    
As always, a copy of this book was provided by the authors in exchange for my honest review. This does not effect my opinion in any way.

What a beautiful, thought-provoking, poignant, wise debut novel. I'm truly in awe. Part of me is still adjusting to life after reading this beautiful book. The Lucky Ones was everything I wanted it to be and more. It is perfect for fans of Hate List and Underwater. Without a doubt, it won't be for every reader. It still feels like something truly special and I cannot shake the way it has made me feel.

The odds were definitely in Liz Lawson's favor the moment I read The Lucky Ones synopsis. This is exactly the type of book I love reading. My heart both ached and soared throughout the course of The Lucky Ones. Mostly, Lawson crafts a believable story about the aftermath of school shootings and the grief that is often left in the place of young lives.

School shootings are one of the toughest things to tackle in fiction. Because they are so prominent in life, and the lack of gun control in the states is not improving--there is so much tension in what needs to be done and what could be said. The Lucky Ones shows us the story of what happens after tragedy, and begs us to remember that something needs to be done. 

Lawson tackles difficult topics with grace and portrays the aftermath of tragedy in a way that is true to life and fully believable. Readers will easily see themselves sprinkled within the personalities and development of the characters featured in The Lucky Ones. Nothing about this story feels cheesy or overdrawn out--it feels sharp and in focus.

The Lucky Ones is about more than a tragedy--it is about life. The center is emotionally charged and focuses fully on those left behind. This makes the story a difficult one to pull through because it is an absolute honest portrayal of life. Lawson's prose reads like all YA contemporaries should--easily, full of emotion,and real.

You want to scoop up characters like Maya, who lost SO much in so little time and is processing her grief in varied self-destructive ways. Meanwhile, another student, Zach, is left behind in isolation due to his mother's association with the case against the school shooter. I'm highly impressed with how Lawson crafted this particular cast of characters--how each of them fit a specific archetype of grief and how it affects people.

Ultimately, I found The Lucky Ones to be a highly valuable novel that will surely capture an audience. I've said it before and I'll say it again: books like these are so important.

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