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The Lucky Ones
Cover of The Lucky Ones
The Lucky Ones
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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...
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...
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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.

    A Chicago Public Library Systems selection for Best Teen Fiction 
    A Kirkus Reviews Best Book of 2020
    A Texas Library Association 2021 Reading List selection

    "A must-read for fans of Thirteen Reasons Why and This Is How It Ends."—Paste Magazine

    "A gripping, emotional, suspenseful, and ultimately hopeful story about loss, survivor's guilt, and learning to find love and trust again. Put The Lucky Ones on your 2020 TBR list—you do NOT want to miss it!" —Karen M. McManus, New York Times bestselling author of One of Us Is Lying

    "A harrowing and beautifully told story about how far the tentacles of tragedy can reach. May's story of grief, survival, and reckoning is tenderly and honestly explored. A simply stunning debut." —Kathleen Glasgow, New York Times bestselling author of Girl in Pieces


  • From the book

    Chapter One



    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 earthquake.


    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, from 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...

About the Author-

  • 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 or follow @lzlwsn on Twitter and Instagram.


  • Kirkus

    February 1, 2020
    Two teens find each other (and themselves) with a little help from their friends in this story of survival, perseverance, and hope. In alternating first-person narration, two familiar character types--loose-cannon May McGintee and awkward try-hard Zach Teller--are quickly defamiliarized. May is the sole survivor of a massacre that robbed her twin brother, favorite teacher, and five peers of their lives. She's struggled with survivor's guilt and PTSD ever since, and her best friend, Lucy, is the only person who keeps her going. Zach has been taking care of his family, especially younger sister Gwen, since his father fell into a deep depression five years ago. When his attorney mother defends the shooter, almost everybody he knows--except his best friend, Conor--abandons him. When Lucy auditions for Conor's band, May and Zach meet cute. As May begins putting herself back together, Zach learns what being there truly entails. Lawson's extraordinary knack for navigating typical teenage-rule predicaments--parent problems, friend frustration, budding desire--and the most searing circumstances--loss, terror, rage, fault--keeps the plot at a boil. Though shaped like a romance, Lawson's remarkable debut celebrates love's many forms, from friends who refuse to be pushed away to families slowly closing years of distance. Lucy is Haitian; Conor, Zach, and May are white. Wildly ambitious and wholly empathetic, devastatingly raw, and impossibly gentle; a must-read in this moment. (author's note, resources) (Fiction. 14-18)

    COPYRIGHT(2020) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • School Library Journal

    March 1, 2020

    Gr 7 Up-May is a survivor of the school shooting where her twin brother, Jordan, and some friends died. But she doesn't feel like a survivor. She feels angry and guilty for what happened in the band room that day. She survived by staying in the closet, but that did not prevent her from hearing, and then seeing, everything that happened. Zach is angry, too. His mother can't see how being the lawyer of the school shooter is making his and his sister's lives unbearable. When someone paints epithets on their garage, he feels too hopeless to tell his mother how her decisions are affecting them. But when May and Zach meet, something magical happens for both of them. Can either teen truly move on with the other, especially when neither is being exactly truthful with themselves or one another? May, Zach, their families, and friends are all complex and intriguing characters that readers will immediately connect with and want to see succeed. VERDICT This heartbreaking and touching story of grief and loss, as well as hope and forgiveness, will resonate with readers who deal with this fear and reality on a daily basis.-Traci Glass, Nashville Public Library

    Copyright 2020 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Publisher's Weekly

    March 9, 2020
    In this intense, affecting debut, May McGintee is “one of the lucky ones,” though she feels anything but. Back in school for junior year, May is consumed by survivor’s guilt: 11 months ago, she hid in a closet as her genius twin brother Jordan, favorite teacher, and five classmates were shot and killed during band practice. Following an ineffectual stint of homeschooling after she was kicked out of school for fighting, this is likely May’s last chance to graduate with her peers. Angry, isolated, and regretting the distance between Jordan and her when he died, with parents who are detached themselves, May is a mess. So is classmate Zach Teller: his mother is the shooter’s lawyer, which means he’s a social pariah whose house keeps getting vandalized. When Zach and May meet, they form a real connection, strong enough that it survives May’s fury upon learning Zach’s identity. Lawson does a good job at conveying how out of control May feels alongside her friends’ continued love for her, and though parts of the plot feel predictable, the book credibly depicts the terror of “the frightening places and the daily places” being “one and same,” building to a tentatively hopeful ending that feels earned. Ages 14–up.

  • Booklist

    April 1, 2020
    Grades 9-12 Tragically relevant and with a nuanced perspective on grief and being a survivor, Lawson's debut introduces readers to high-school-shooting survivor and bereaved sister May and the son of the lawyer defending the school shooter, Zach. When the two encounter each other as new classmates, there's an instant spark?but their previous connection could tear them apart before they have a chance to begin. Meanwhile, May's unresolved grief and guilt threatens to inflict permanent damage on her, and Zach must find a way to stand up to or forgive his mother. Lawson writes in alternating perspectives, creating distinct voices in this powerful story of what remains after a violent tragedy. With a strong depiction of sibling loss, in particular, The Lucky Ones portrays grief as multifaceted and complicated. The well-rounded characters have complex motivations and emotions, while Lawson is careful never to talk down to teens and adds an unexpected but sensitively-handled, blossoming romance. This is an excellent pick for fans of Jennifer Brown's Hate List (2009) and Jenny Hubbard's And We Stay (2014).(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2020, American Library Association.)

  • Paste Magazine "A must-read for fans of Thirteen Reasons Why and This Is How It Ends."
  • Kirkus Reviews, starred review "Wildly ambitious and wholly empathetic, devastatingly raw, and impossibly gentle; a must-read in this moment."
  • School Library Journal "This heartbreaking and touching story of grief and loss, as well as hope and forgiveness, will resonate with readers who deal with this fear and reality on a daily basis."
  • Publishers Weekly "[An] intense, affecting debut"
  • Will Walton, author of I Felt a Funeral, in My Brain "Liz Lawson writes as a listener first, allowing her characters to fill the pages of The Lucky Ones with their vibrant, unique voices as they take up the space they (and Lawson) demand for themselves, for their humanity, for their lives."

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    Random House Children's Books
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