Skip to main content

The Lucky Ones Review


The Lucky Ones by Liz Lawson
Overview: May and Zach are an unlikely couple. His mother is the lead defense attorney for the school shooter that took the life of May's twin brother and her other band classmates. What they do have in common is feeling less than seen. Zach is ostracized because of his mother's choices, and May feels like people only see her as a victim. Both want to reclaim their independent identities and move forward from the terrible tragedy, but without the support and space to grieve, everyone is left fumbling for a sense of closure and unable to deal with their unresolved feelings. Lawson dives into the aftermath of the aftermath of a school shooting and the echoes that are felt by the survivors and the community. Overall: 4.5

Characters: 5 May and Zach are great main characters, and I'm happy that we got to hear both of their voices. May has a lot of unresolved grief and feelings about that day that manifest in anger that has complicated her getting more help. She doesn't have a support from her parents who are coping by burying themselves in work. She didn't mesh well with the therapist the school tried to connect her to. The school wants to support her but a series of fights left her halfheartedly homeschooling before returning to the newly incorporated school. Without the open forum to talk about what happened and express herself, May is lost with how to move forward and cope with her lingering PTSD symptoms. Even with two well-meaning friends, Lucy and Chim, it's not till Zach comes along that May feels comfortable enough to start opening up about what happened.
Zach is in a difficult situation too, but no one feels sorry for him. After his mom takes David's case, their house gets vandalized, his mom checks out of their lives, and Zach is left to care for and protect his younger sister. Zach has a lot of angry feelings towards his mom both for taking the case and for basically abandoning them. Those extend to his dad who is just as absent from his life due to issues with depression.
May and Zach both have gone through major changes in their lives and bond over being the ones left on the edges of their families, friendships, and lives in general. Despite their connection being unlikely, it's the best thing that could've happened to either of them. They offer each other a safe space to process their most complicated feelings, and it's heartwarming to watch.
I appreciate how much of a focus parent's rolls play in teen's lives. I feel like parents are usually explained away quickly or forgotten about in YA, but they really are central to teens lives and developments. Their presence or absence has a major effect. Liz doesn't shy away from discussing how their parents respective ways of handling the situation have affected their kids. Their relationships with their parents is a major arch of the book that is satisfying and relatable.
Finally, their friends do play a role in the story by mostly giving us a glimpse into their old lives. They all want to be supportive, but there is a sense of baggage in all of these relationships where they know too much about each other to completely open up about their new feelings.

Plot: 4 The book's pacing is great. It never lagged or made me want to put it down. The major plot points were perfectly timed and played their roles perfectly, but I also really loved the quiet moments in between. There's a surprising amount of focus on music throughout the book, which I really enjoyed. Lucy and Conner, their friends, are in a band that they watch play often, and music is used as a major element of remembering certain memories and with healing. Each show and event May goes to marks an important point in her evolution which was really cool to see. While it's emotionally driven, there's plenty of plot to keep you engaged.

Writing: 5 I loved Liz's ability to develop each of the character's individual voices and get to the deepest complexities about what they had all been through. She perfectly balances moving the plot forward and digging into the emotions of the moment on the deepest level to make sure your experience is as full as the character's. It makes for quite the immersive story. I also want to applaud her for knowing how to expertly harness the dual POV story. She switches back and forth often to give the fullest picture of a moment, and it allows us to start an emotionally intense situation inside one person's head and then pivot to seeing it from the outside. It's a tool I haven't seen utilized this effectively often.

More Like This...

Links of Interest:

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

All Our Worst Ideas YA Book Review

All Our Worst Ideas by Vicky SkinnerOverview: Amy has her life all laid out. She's going to be valedictorian, get the Keller Scholarship, and go to Stanford. Easy. Oliver doesn't quite know where he's headed yet. Taking his gap year has just confirmed that he doesn't want to go to college. No one in his life knows that yet. Amy and Oliver are thrust together when Amy gets a job at Spirits, the record store where Oliver works. They both live and breathe music, and that connects them even though their lives couldn't be more different. Amy and Oliver are a true example of the power of music to unite people. Overall: 4.5Characters: 5 I loved Amy and Oliver. I related to Amy so much. She loves music and uses it to get her through her intense academics and the heavy expectations from her family. She feels pressure to do well that mostly comes from herself, and her drive keeps her pushing to win valedictorian. While everyone knows how smart Amy is, her mom always talks ab…

Spotify Book Tag

Today, I'm doing a book tag. I haven't done a ton of these yet, but I came across this one on Twitter when Santana shared their version of it, and I got inspired to do the tag! Santana found the tag from the original creator, Sarah @ Book Hooked Nook. Here's the original tag and here's Santana's take on it. I borrowed Sanata's twist and added music choices along with books that fit the prompt, and at the bottom, I complied all the songs into a Spotify playlist so you can listen to that while you read! I also made a special list on my Bookshop featuring all the books if you want to get any of them! Find that here. I hope you discover more books and music to love! If you want more music content, check out my music blog, Music, Musings, and Me. Also, make sure you don't miss Friday's YouTube video that perfectly fits with this tag: Spotlighting Books With Musical Main Characters.

1. Hit Rewind: a book you go back to again and again? 
I don't tend to rere…

Badlands Book Tag (from Antari Reads)

School has been so stressful that I just wanted to have fun for today's post. I stumbled upon the Badlands Book Tag on Twitter made by Alison from Antari Reads and knew I had to do it. I get so excited every time I meet another Halsey fan/YA book lover. Halsey has been at the top of my mind lately, so this tag felt like bringing this Badlands era revival full circle. If you really want to get into the music with me, I made a reaction to Badlands for the 5th anniversary of the album. You can click the link here or watch it embedded down below. I'll also leave links to all my recent Halsey related posts so you can read about my Manic book pairings, Halsey's new role in a YA book adaption TV series, and her life Badlands album. I've also included links to Bookshop in this post. Just click Get a Copy to visit the book's affiliate page and grab one. Shopping these links means I might get a small commission, and part of the sale goes to benefit indie bookstores. It's…

Into YA with Laura Silverman: Part 2

Today, I'm chatting with Laura Silverman again to celebrate the upcoming release of her book, RecommendedFor You as part of the blog tour! If you haven't heard about this swoony, holiday set romance in a bookstore, you can scroll to the bottom of the page to read the book's official description and Laura's bio. Otherwise, you can check out my review here. I'm so happy to support Laura's new book, and if you want to hear about her past books, I'll link to my review below. If you're excited about Recommended For You, you're in luck because it is out in the world today! If you want to order a copy while supporting indie bookstores and the blog, you can purchase the book here with my link*. Thank you to Laura for taking the time to talk with me!

1. Recommended For You is mostly set in an indie bookstore during the holiday rush. What made you decide on that setting? I spent a year working at a bookstore and fielded many of the same strange requests Shosh…

Spotlight New Releases: Sunshine Is Forever

Hello, everyone! Today's is a very special post for me as I am reviewing my first ARC (more on that at the bottom). I was intrigued by the summary of Sunshine Is Forever from the second I read it, and I am now so excited to get to share my review of this amazing view into depression and the motives behind self harm and suicide. The impactful story is one I place up with many of my favorite books that tackle mental illness. It also features a male protagonist with a great voice, which we honestly don't see enough of in YA. Anyway, without further ado, to celebrate Sunshine Is Forever's publication, I am bringing you my full review of this new YA mental health fiction novel from a new author to the world of YA.



Sunshine Is Forever by Kyle T. Cowan
*Trigger warning specifically for self harm and suicide*
Overview: Hunter suffers from depression. While he's dealt with it his whole life through ineffective therapy and medication, his condition is worsened by the Incident which…

Larger Than Life: A History of Boy Bands From NKOTB to BTS Book Review

Larger Than Life by Maria Sherman
Get a Copy!
Overall:  5
I don't think I've ever anticipated a book longer than Larger Than Life. I'd heard Maria on a couple music criticism podcasts whenever they'd launched into the confusing world of the boy band, and she always mentioned the book would be coming soon. Well, it's finally out, and it makes me incredibly happy.
As I already knew, Maria is a boy band expert as well as a true fan. Her joy and enthusiasm really does make the book. I also love that boy bands are finally getting their full and comprehensive due. I wouldn't say that I'm particularly a boy band fan (outside of the Jonas Brothers and One Direction (though I guess those are just the boy bands of my generation so many I am)), but I find how they're looked at culturally to be fascinating. Boy bands tie back to feminism and how society constructs their views around things liked by teens/girls/women/LGBTQIA people. Maria doesn't shy away from tha…

August Wrap Up 2020- Reflecting and Getting Excited For What's To Come

I didn't think I would ever say this, but August does not seem like it's been nearly long enough! I feel like the end of summer came in the blink of an eye, and now I'm writing this on my second day as a college student. Considering I started this blog as the 8th grader, I've come a really long way. This school year is extra weird. I wasn't prepared to start school online like I had been in years past. I was anticipating moving to New York. I had an entire New York City themed visuals flip for the blog to honor the new era of my life. Alas, I'm still in the mountains and those plans are on hold. At least August is the last of the losing. I didn't have many plans beyond this month, so all the new days should get less painful. They just are instead of being a "should have been". If you're starting a major milestone this year (especially if you're starting college like I am), my heart goes out to you. We're in this together, and I think …

The Summer of Everything YA Book Review

The Summer of Everything by Julian Winters Want a Copy Right Now? Use my Bookshop link to support the blog! Here.Overview: Wes doesn't know what he wants to do with his life. He has an acceptance letter to UCLA, but he's not sure what he wants to do with that. He loves working at Once Upon a Page, the indie bookstore he's worked at for a number of years. It's the perfect chill job where he's surrounded by comic books and all his friends. When it seems like Once Upon is going to close and his best friend/crush Nico is getting ready to move all the way to Stanford, Wes feels like his entire life is falling apart. He doesn't know what the next step is, but he's going to fight to keep the bookstore (and a bit of his childhood) alive for as long as possible. Overall: 4Characters: 4 Wes isn't totally lost. He loves what he's doing right now, but he's realizing that can't be forever. He's scared of making the wrong move for his future, so he fi…

War and Speech YA Book Review

War and Speech by Don Zolidis 
Overview: Sydney's life is a bit like a tornado. After her dad heading to prison wrecked her first semester of Junior year, she transfers schools with her walls up high and her tongue extra sharp. Sydney is deeply sarcastic, speaks her mind maybe too often, and is happy to join conspiracies to take down the school. She finds them in a group of outcasts tormented by the speech and debate team. She ends up joining down with an eye towards taking them all down and getting the coach fired. While she goes in with one mission, she finds a lot more than she bargained for on the team. Overall: 4.5 

Characters: 5 I love, love, love Sydney. She's so cynical and sarcastic and completely hilarious. She says a lot of the things that I think, so it was a joy to see the world through her eyes. It's nice to see a YA character in high school who plays into it as a complete outsider in the sense that she doesn't even want to play the game or be a part of tho…

Harry Styles Book Tag (Inspired by Bookish Bits)

As you can probably tell, I've started doing a lot of tags since I've started school. Honestly, I haven't been in the most creative space lately, and school has been making me really tired, so tags have been calling my name. Since I found ones for Taylor Swift and Halsey, I thought I'd go looking for a tag for another of my favorite artist, Harry Styles. I was excited to discover that one does already exist, created by Lainy at Bookish Bits. You can read her version of the tag here. If you also like Harry Styles and books, consider yourself tagged. Also, if you're curious about any of the books mentioned below, just click the title to get to my review. 1. Kiwi: Abookwithatitlethathasnothingtodowiththebook.I feel like every title has some connection to the book. Some are just more obvious than others. I'll go with The Way You Make Me Feel here since it's one of the most abstract titles 2. Signofthetimes: Asad/emotionalbookwithahappy/hopefulending.Clap When Y…