The Lucky Ones is told in the wake of a school shooting. The story is told in alternating viewpoints, starting with May, who survived by hiding in the music room closet. She lost her twin brother Jordan amongst the others and she carries so much guilt for not going out there to rescue him, to stop the shooter. Jordan was her parent’s favorite, they pinned all their hopes and dreams for his future on him, while she got pushed into the background. In fact, she wasn’t really getting along with Jordan the last year of her life, and she carries a lot of guilt over that.
The other point of view is Zack, whose mother is defending the shooter. Life has been miserable since his mother made that decision because teenagers are unable to separate Zack from his mother. Someone has destroyed their lawn and has repeatedly spraypainted their garage. His mother is gone all the time and his father has checked out, so it’s up to him to take care of his sister, to hide the paint, and he’s feeling desperately alone.
This isn’t easy subject material at all. May has PTSD and even though she’s in therapy, it isn’t enough because it rules her every action and decision. I find myself really angry with her parents for being too lost in their own grief and problems to get her the proper help she needs because seeing a therapist once a month clearly isn’t enough. It’s because of the unlikeliest of heroes, Zack, that she even starts to make a turnaround in her recovery. He’s a really good guy who is stuck in a bad situation that is out of his control.
This is well-written, there are many layers to the story, and it can be incredibly heartbreaking to read. The characters are complex, all going through their own version of grief. I could completely relate to a lot of what May said and her journey was so incredibly hard, even having a best friend like Lucy, who was incredible and a rare gem. I think Lawson took on a heavy subject and she did it very well.
For now, you can read my review on Goodreads and Bookbub as I received this as a very early ARC from Random House. The Lucky Ones is available for preorder on Amazon for $10.99, it releases April 7th.