Today we're excited to spotlight The Lucky Ones by Liz Lawson.
Read on for more about Liz and her book, plus an excerpt!
Meet Liz Lawson!
Liz Lawson works in the entertainment industry as a music supervisor for film and TV. The Lucky Ones is her first novel. She lives in Los Angeles with her family. To learn more about Liz and her novel, go to lizlawsonauthor.com [lizlawsonauthor.com] or follow @lzlwsn on Twitter and Instagram.
Meet 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.
~ Excerpt ~
I bolt across the lawn, squinting through the inky black. The streetlamp behind me casts a pool of light, but it’s weak. Clouds block the moon.
As I run, I wipe my hand across my forehead, and it comes back wet. It’s hot as shit out here, even though it’s January in Los Angeles and that’s supposed to mean something. It’s been like this for weeks—hot and still. Earthquake weather, Lucy’s grandmother claims, even though I keep telling her it’s been scientifically proven that you can’t predict an earth- quake.
I’m alone; Lucy ditched me after our late-night dinner. I guess I can’t blame her for going home; it’s after midnight and we have school in the morning—my first day at this new school since I was kicked out of the old one almost ten months ago. I probably should have gone home too, but I couldn’t without coming here first. It’s not like I sleep anymore, anyway.
Lucy would have a fit if she knew where I went after she left.
Ever since we figured out that Michelle Teller installed motion-sensitive lights on the side of the garage, Lucy’s been so much more cautious—all Dude, May, I love you but we need to be careful, messing with that shit—which I get for her—I get it, I do—but for me, it’s different. For me, it’s worth it. She disagrees, but as much as I love Lucy and as much as I tell her about what’s running through this fucked-up head of mine, I don’t tell her everything.
Like, tonight. When I called her, late, and asked her to meet me at the diner for some food—I didn’t tell her why.
This afternoon I checked the mail for the first time all weekend and there was another one, waiting for me in the box.
When I saw it, my insides froze. I grabbed it, went upstairs, stuffed it under my clothes way in the back of my closet, and then went into the bathroom and threw up. After, I lay down on my bed, head pounding. But from across the room I could feel the thump of its presence, like a fucking telltale heart. There are so many now, hidden around my room, haunting me at night from my desk drawer, f rom my closet, from every nook and cranny in my bedroom where I shove them. If I actually fall and stay asleep, like a normal human being, they creep into my dreams, turning them into nightmares.
I couldn’t stay still. I jumped out of bed and started cleaning my room but couldn’t concentrate enough to do much more than pace back and forth across the cluttered carpet.
Hence the call to Lucy. Hence not going home when she did. I need this—it’s the only thing that will smooth the sharp memory of those letters.
I finally reach the garage door, but as soon as I get to it an image pops into my head, distracting me, of my twin brother Jordan’s body sprawled on the jazz band room floor, thick, bright crimson pouring out of him, soaking into the ratty gray carpet. I’m thrown for a moment, before I take that image and shove it down out of my head, down into the depth of my belly, and I step too close to the side of the house. I know not to; over the past months, I’ve gotten to be an expert on the layout of the Tellers’ driveway and the system of lights they hooked up, but as usual I screw things up.
A spotlight blasts on, and for a split second I’m like an animal caught in headlights, one of the idiotic ones that always get mowed down. I freeze.
After a few long seconds, I finally get it through my dumb head that standing here in the middle of a bright circle of light is not a great idea, and I force myself to move. I dart around the corner into the blackness of the backyard and press my body up against the stucco of the house. I’m gripping the can of spray paint so hard that my fingers turn white, standing out against the black of the night. I suck in breaths like Dr. McMillen, PsyD, taught me, one long inhale for four counts and one long exhale for four, and my heart begins to slow.
I try to think of what Lucy would say if she was here, other than the obvious—Be more careful, May, you dumbass. Would she tell me to go home? Yell at me for being a pussy? Normally she’d be out here with me, the two of us charging through the night together, but over the past few weeks she’s been doing this more and more—ducking out and leaving me to come here on my own.
My breath calms me enough that I can think about moving again. I need to pay more attention, stop letting memories distract me, remember what I read in The Art of War, which I found buried in Jordan’s room in a pile of his clothes a month after he died.
In the midst of chaos, there is also opportunity.
That guy, Sun Tzu, was pretty smart. It’s how I first came up with this thing—a way to show the asshole lawyer who took that psychopath’s case that what she’s doing isn’t okay. From that book. I figured it was a sign or something, finding it in Jordan’s stuff.
I’m pretty sure the night I found it was the first time any of us had been in his room since it happened. Even now, eleven months later, my mom still refuses to go in there, refuses to sort through his things, and sometimes—on the rare occasions when my parents are both at home—I hear her and my dad arguing about it, late in the night when I can’t sleep.
Darkness settles back over the driveway, and I decide it’s safe to shake the can just enough to prep it, even though each time the hard ball hits the bottom it sounds like a cannon going off. You’d think, it being the twenty-first century and all, someone would have invented a quieter way to do this, particularly since, in my experience, no one ever uses spray paint for activities that are . . . let’s just say . . . totally legal.
Although, I’d argue that the purposes I use it for are right in line with my moral code, and that everyone is getting what they deserve.
Extract copyright © 2020 by Liz Lawson
Published by Delacorte Press, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books, a division of Penguin Random House LLC, New York.
The Lucky Ones
By: Liz Lawson
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Release Date: April 7th, 2020