The Lucky Ones

The Lucky Ones
Age Range
Release Date
April 07, 2020
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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.

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powerfully emotional read about the after of school shootings
Overall rating
Writing Style
THE LUCKY ONES is quite an emotional ride. The book follows May and Zach in alternating first person points-of-view. May was a survivor in a school shooting that killed her twin brother, favorite teacher, and classmates. She was spared because she had left the first chair band practice to get another musical stand in the closet, where she hid while she listened to the others dying. It is now a year since, and May is still not sure how to live with the heavy survivor's guilt she feels. Her anger frequently seems to explode out of her, and she still gets frequent panic attacks.

Zach has been taking care of his sister, Gwen, for at least a year. His mother is a high-powered attorney and his father left his job years ago to work on his garage-band music. However, most days, his father doesn't even seem to get out of bed. The worst part is that his mother is the defense attorney for the school shooter, and many of his friends have abandoned him for the choices his mother made in defending him.

Zach and May have a chance meeting before knowing who the other is, but their pain seems to call to the other. As they connect, they will each begin to work through some of their own problems. However, they will still hit rock bottom.

This is a highly emotional and engrossing read. The pages seem to turn really fast, and the dual perspectives adds a lot of power to the book. Both have a lot to learn about themselves and the people around them, and it was interesting to follow their journey. This book captures all the guilt and anger around these events and how it can follow you for years.

This book could be triggering for some. It is a valuable read for many who may only know of the news stories. The author's note at the end was also really poignant and definitely worth reading. School shootings are real and this is a snapshot into a potential after that is a really powerful read.

Although this is not an easy read, it is highly engrossing and quite poignant. Powerfully emotional, THE LUCKY ONES is a topical and important YA contemporary about the after of school shootings.
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