ARC Review | Bookish and the Beast

Title: Bookish and the Beast (Once Upon a Con #3)

Author: Ashley Poston

Publisher: Quirk Books

Release date: August 4, 2020

My rating: ★★★

Synopsis via Goodreads:

Rosie Thorne is feeling stuck—on her college application essays, in her small town, and on that mysterious General Sond cosplayer she met at ExcelsiCon. Most of all, she’s stuck in her grief over her mother’s death. Her only solace was her late mother’s library of rare Starfield novels, but even that disappeared when they sold it to pay off hospital bills.

On the other hand, Vance Reigns has been Hollywood royalty for as long as he can remember—with all the privilege and scrutiny that entails. When a tabloid scandal catches up to him, he’s forced to hide out somewhere the paparazzi would never expect to find him: Small Town USA. At least there’s a library in the house. Too bad he doesn’t read.

When Rosie and Vance’s paths collide and a rare book is accidentally destroyed, Rosie finds herself working to repay the debt. And while most Starfield superfans would jump at the chance to work in close proximity to the Vance Reigns, Rosie has discovered something about Vance: he’s a jerk, and she can’t stand him. The feeling is mutual.

But as Vance and Rosie begrudgingly get to know each other, their careful masks come off—and they may just find that there’s more risk in shutting each other out than in opening their hearts.

Review:

Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with an eARC in exchange for a finished copy!

I absolutely loved Geekerella and The Princess and the Fangirl! They are two of my favorite books. Needless to say, I thought Bookish and the Beast was going to be another love of mine, but unfortunelty, it was just an okay read for me. I enjoyed it, but it didn’t quite live up to the hopes that I had for it. 

First off, Bookish and the Beast is the third book in the Once Upon a Con series! These books are companions so no, you do not have to read Geekerella or The Princess and the Fangirl to read this book. It can stand on its own just fine. However, I personally feel like you will have a better experience with this story if you read the other books first. There are several references to prior events and characters so you may get a little confused if you don’t. Also, this series is a lot of fun so I highly recommend Geekerella & Princess any way! 

As you can probably tell, this is a Beauty and the Beast retelling! Ashley Poston did a wonderful job taking the classic tale that we all know & love and she put a bookish and geeky spin to it! 

Rosie is our Belle! When Rosie chases after a dog, she ends up in an abandoned house….so she thinks. There she finds a huge library full of the Starfield books. After being caught in the house and damaging an expensive book, she must organize the library to pay off her debt. I really loved Rosie. She is a total book nerd. She loves the look of books, the smell of them and getting lost in th pages. My favorite type of character! Rosie recently lost her mother, the person who helped her to fall in love with books and Starfield. She is trying to navigate life without one of her parents while also trying not to be the “girl with a dead mom.” 

Vance is our Beast. He is Hollywood royalty and oh, he plays the villain, General Sond in the Starfield movies. After many slip ups with paparazzi, Vance’s parents send him away so he can try to see the error of his ways. Vance can be pretty annoying and almost unlikeable at times. He is has that *I can do anything I want because I’m rich* thing going on and it drove me crazy. Of course, I still wanted the best for him though. He struggles with trust. He thinks that everyone is out to get him. He also feels like he isn’t good enough. It was interesting to see his character changes & learns. By the end of the book, he isn’t the same person we see in the beginning.

What I loved most about Geekerella & The Princess and the Fangirl is that they were very fandom centric. Being the nerd that I am, I really enjoyed the convention settings, cosplays and all the other geeky things that those books had. I was hoping for something very similar with the third book, but sadly that wasn’t the case. Bookish and the Beast went in a different direction and I’m still not sure how I feel about it. We still get to see the wonderful word of Starfield, but it’s through books. Obviously being a bookworm, I loved that, but I always found myself missing the fun of the ExcelciCon! Compared to the first two books, there wasn’t enough fandom related things for me to nerd out to.

As far as the romance goes, it wasn’t my favorite. I didn’t hate it by any means, but I didn’t find myself rooting for it either. The chemistry between the two seemed to fluctuate. At times I could definitely see the sparks between the characters and then others times I was almost cringing at the awkwardness.

My favorite part of Bookish and the Beast was the adults that surround Rosie and Vance! They were incredible. Vance’s guardian, Elias is a total gem. He was always there to support Vance, especially when his parents weren’t. Yes, Vance has his troubles, but Elias saw the best in him. He believed in him when Vance needed it the most! Rosies dad was the coolest! I’m not even kidding, I loved him. He is a 90’s rock band loving, ear gauge wearing, queer librarian. Total perfection! His relationship with his daughter as very special. It’s just him & Rosie. They take care of each other no matter what. He is so supportive and gives amazing advice! Space dad is the best!

This may not have been my favorite book in the series, but it was still a fun & quick read. The Once Upon a Con series will forever have my fandom loving heart! 

★★★

thelibrarylane

ARC Review | One to Watch

Title: One to Watch

Author: Kate Stayman London

Publisher: Dial Press

Release date: July 7, 2020

My rating: ★★★★★

Synopsis via Goodreads:

Bea Schumacher is a devastatingly stylish plus-size fashion blogger who has amazing friends, a devoted family, legions of Insta followers–and a massively broken heart. Like the rest of America, Bea indulges in her weekly obsession: the hit reality show Main Squeeze. The fantasy dates! The kiss-off rejections! The surprising amount of guys named Chad! But Bea is sick and tired of the lack of body diversity on the show. Since when is being a size zero a prerequisite for getting engaged on television?

Just when Bea has sworn off dating altogether, she gets an intriguing call: Main Squeeze wants her to be its next star, surrounded by men vying for her affections. Bea agrees, on one condition–under no circumstances will she actually fall in love. She’s in this to supercharge her career, subvert harmful anti-fat beauty standards, inspire women across America, and get a free hot air balloon ride. That’s it.

But when the cameras start rolling, Bea realizes things are more complicated than she anticipated. She’s in a whirlwind of sumptuous couture, Internet culture wars, sexy suitors, and an opportunity (or two, or five) to find messy, real-life love in the midst of a made-for-TV fairy tale. In this joyful, razor-sharp debut, Bea has to decide whether it might just be worth trusting these men–and herself–for a chance to live happily ever after.

Review:

Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for providing my with an eARC in exchange for an honest review!

I absolutely loved this! It was everything I wanted and more. As a plus size woman, I connected with tis story on such a deep level. I often get nervous about reading books with plus size main characters. I don’t always feel like they are portrayed in the best light, but thankfully that was not an issue with One to Watch. 

Bea Schumacher is a very successful plus size blogger. She has it all…a loving family, tons of loyal followers, and amazing friends. But when her heart is broken by her best friend she has been in love with for years, her world falls apart. Fast forward to when she is asked to be the next Main Squeeze (the equivalent to The Bachelorette). Bea accepts, but she has no idea what she is signing up for. Will she find love on a reality dating show?  

Bea is such an incredible character. She goes on a powerful inner journey and it made my heart explode. She learns that she deserves love just as much as anyone else. Stayman-London did a beautiful job showing the reality of being a plus size woman in today’s society. Just like Bea, people all over the country deal with fatphobic comments. Whether it’s being told that crop tops aren’t for people with big stomachs or that plus size people will never find anyone to love them..fat shaming happens way too often.

The dating show/romance side of One to Watch was super unique. Instead of having one love interest, there were 25! Of course the list dwindled down and we were left with a few constituents that we got to know. I loved al of the dramatic twists along the way. They sure did keep the story interesting. I honestly had no idea who or even if Bea was going to end up with someone. I did have a fun time trying to guess though. There were two men in particular (no spillers!) that were the sweetest and I would love a spin off book(s) about them!

One to Watch was written in a multimedia format. Told through emails, podcasts, blog posts, texts, interviews and TV episodes, it was definitely a clever and fun way to tell Bea’s story. 

Overall, this book was fabulous. One to Watch was fun and heartwarming. I highly recommend adding this to your TBR shelves! I will definitely be on the look out for Kate Stayman-London’s work in the future!

ARC Review | Burn Our Bodies Down

Title: Burn Our Bodies Down

Author: Rory Power

Publisher: Delecorte Press

Release date: July 7, 2020

My rating: ★★★★★

Synopsis via Goodreads:

Ever since Margot was born, it’s been just her and her mother. No answers to Margot’s questions about what came before. No history to hold on to. No relative to speak of. Just the two of them, stuck in their run-down apartment, struggling to get along.

But that’s not enough for Margot. She wants family. She wants a past. And she just found the key she needs to get it: A photograph, pointing her to a town called Phalene. Pointing her home. Only, when Margot gets there, it’s not what she bargained for.

Margot’s mother left for a reason. But was it to hide her past? Or was it to protect Margot from what’s still there?

The only thing Margot knows for sure is there’s poison in their family tree, and their roots are dug so deeply into Phalene that now that she’s there, she might never escape. 

Review:

Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with an eARC in exchange for an honest review.

Burn Our Bodies Down follows a teen named Margot. For her entire life it’s only been her and her mother…no one else. Anytime Margot has questions about her relatives, she never gets any answers. All she wants is to know her family and their history. So when she finds a photograph from her mother’s past she decides to take advantage of it. She ends up going to the town where her mom was raised, but she has no idea what secrets she is about to uncover.

This may be weird to say, but I love Rory Power’s brain! She comes up with the most bizarre ideas and somehow just makes then work. I honestly have no idea how she does it, but I can say with certainty that I will read anything and everything she writes. 

Burn Our Bodies Down was so dark and very twisted. It definitely has an eerie vibe to it. The story went in a direction I was not expecting whatsoever. I tried to guess what was going to happen but oh my, I failed miserably. The author throws in these little clues along the way and you think you may know what they mean, but nope you would be wrong! 

With fascinating twists and turns, I devoured this book. It had me on the edge of my seat. I felt like I was right there with Margot as she discovered the shocking secrets of her family. I honestly couldn’t get enough of this story.

I loved our main character Margot. She hasn’t had the easiest life. Her and her mother Jo do not have the healthiest relationship. Jo is actually pretty toxic and she literally had no business raising a kid. Through the book, it’s easy to tell just how much Margot’s upbringing negatively impacted her. I was rooting for her so much though. I wanted her to find the answers that she needed. Margot goes through A LOT in this story and I love how determined and strong she is.

Overall, I loved everything about Burn Our Bodies Down. It was strange but in the best way possible. I highly encourage you to add this to your TBR shelves. You won’t regret it!

NetGalley Reads #3

This series is where I share some of the eARCs I have lined up for the next few months!

Bookish and the Beast by Ashley Poston (Once Upon a Con #3)

Release date: August 4, 2020

Publisher: Quirk Books

Synopsis:

In the third book in Ashley Poston’s Once Upon a Con series, Beauty and the Beast is retold in the beloved Starfield universe.

Rosie Thorne is feeling stuck—on her college application essays, in her small town, and on that mysterious General Sond cosplayer she met at ExcelsiCon. Most of all, she’s stuck in her grief over her mother’s death. Her only solace was her late mother’s library of rare Starfield novels, but even that disappeared when they sold it to pay off hospital bills.

On the other hand, Vance Reigns has been Hollywood royalty for as long as he can remember—with all the privilege and scrutiny that entails. When a tabloid scandal catches up to him, he’s forced to hide out somewhere the paparazzi would never expect to find him: Small Town USA. At least there’s a library in the house. Too bad he doesn’t read.

When Rosie and Vance’s paths collide and a rare book is accidentally destroyed, Rosie finds herself working to repay the debt. And while most Starfield superfans would jump at the chance to work in close proximity to the Vance Reigns, Rosie has discovered something about Vance: he’s a jerk, and she can’t stand him. The feeling is mutual.

But as Vance and Rosie begrudgingly get to know each other, their careful masks come off—and they may just find that there’s more risk in shutting each other out than in opening their hearts.

These Vengeful Hearts by Katherine Laurin

Release date: September 8, 2020

Publisher: Inkyard Press

Synopsis:

Anyone can ask the Red Court for a favor…but every request comes at a cost. And once the deed is done, you’re forever in their debt.

Whenever something scandalous happens at Heller High, the Red Court is the name on everyone’s lips. Its members–the most elite female students in the school–deal out social ruin and favors in equal measure, their true identities a secret known only to their ruthless leader: the Queen of Hearts.

Sixteen-year-old Ember Williams has seen firsthand the damage the Red Court can do. Two years ago, they caused the accident that left her older sister paralyzed. Now, Ember is determined to hold them accountable…by taking the Red Court down from the inside.

But crossing enemy lines will mean crossing moral boundaries, too–ones Ember may never be able to come back from. She always knew taking on the Red Court would come at a price, but will the cost of revenge be more than she’s willing to sacrifice?

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab

Release date: October 6, 2020

Publisher: Tor Books

Synopsis:

A Life No One Will Remember. A Story You Will Never Forget.

France, 1714: in a moment of desperation, a young woman makes a Faustian bargain to live forever and is cursed to be forgotten by everyone she meets.

Thus begins the extraordinary life of Addie LaRue, and a dazzling adventure that will play out across centuries and continents, across history and art, as a young woman learns how far she will go to leave her mark on the world.

But everything changes when, after nearly 300 years, Addie stumbles across a young man in a hidden bookstore and he remembers her name.

In a Holidaze by Christina Lauren

Release date: October 6, 2020

Publisher: Gallery Books

Synopsis:

In a Holidaze, the quintessential holiday romantic novel by theNew York Times bestselling author of The Unhoneymooners, asks what happens when wishes come true…

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…but not for Maelyn Jones. She’s living with her parents, hates her going-nowhere job, and has just made a romantic error of epic proportions.

But perhaps worst of all, this is the last Christmas Mae will be at her favorite place in the world—the snowy Utah cabin where she and her family have spent every holiday since she was born, along with two other beloved families. Mentally melting down as she drives away from the cabin for the final time, Mae throws out what she thinks is a simple plea to the universe: Please. Show me what will make me happy.

The next thing she knows, tires screech and metal collides, everything goes black. But when Mae gasps awake…she’s on an airplane bound for Utah, where she begins the same holiday all over again. With one hilarious disaster after another sending her back to the plane, Mae must figure out how to break free of the strange time loop—and finally get her true love under the mistletoe.

Jam-packed with yuletide cheer, an unforgettable cast of characters, and Christina Lauren’s trademark “downright hilarious” (Helen Hoang, author of The Bride Test) hijinks, this swoon-worthy romantic read will make you believe in the power of wishes and the magic of the holidays.

Wench by Maxine Kaplan

Release date: January 19, 2021

Publisher: Amulet Books

Synopsis:

A funny, fiercely feminist YA epic fantasy—following the adventures of a tavern wench

Tanya has worked at her tavern since she was able to see over the bar. She broke up her first fight at 11. By the time she was a teenager she knew everything about the place, and she could run it with her eyes closed. She’d never let anyone—whether it be a drunkard or a captain of the queen’s guard—take advantage of her. But when her guardian dies, she might lose it all: the bar, her home, her purpose in life. So she heads out on a quest to petition the queen to keep the tavern in her name—dodging unscrupulous guards, a band of thieves, and a powerful, enchanted feather that seems drawn to her. Fast-paced, magical, and unapologetically feminist, Wench is epic fantasy like you’ve never seen it before.

Do you have any NetGalley ARCs that you need to read??

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ARC Review | Something to Talk About

Title: Something to Talk About

Author: Meryl Wilsner

Publisher: Berkley Books

Publication date: May 26, 2020

My rating: ★★★★

Synopsis via Goodreads:

A showrunner and her assistant give the world something to talk about when they accidentally fuel a ridiculous rumor in this debut romance.

Hollywood powerhouse Jo is photographed making her assistant Emma laugh on the red carpet, and just like that, the tabloids declare them a couple. The so-called scandal couldn’t come at a worse time–threatening Emma’s promotion and Jo’s new movie.

As the gossip spreads, it starts to affect all areas of their lives. Paparazzi are following them outside the office, coworkers are treating them differently, and a “source” is feeding information to the media. But their only comment is “no comment”.

With the launch of Jo’s film project fast approaching, the two women begin to spend even more time together, getting along famously. Emma seems to have a sixth sense for knowing what Jo needs. And Jo, known for being aloof and outwardly cold, opens up to Emma in a way neither of them expects. They begin to realize the rumor might not be so off base after all…but is acting on the spark between them worth fanning the gossip flames?

Review:

Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with an eARC in exchange for an honest review!

Something to Talk About was such an enjoyable story and a fantastic debut! This F/F romance was sweet, lighthearted and an all around fun time.

Jo Jones is a writer and showrunner for a hit show. Emma Kaplan is her assistant.  When Jo invites Emma to an award show, things do not go as planned. Rumors start flying that the two are a couple. While trying to navigate through the paparazzi and headlines, Jo and Emma start to wonder if maybe the rumors aren’t wrong…

I really loved both of the main characters. We spend a good portion of this book just getting to know them as individuals. Jo is very focused and serious. She is super passionate about her career and her family. She has such a big heart and will do everything in her power to help someone out. Emma is thoughtful and hardworking. She loves her job and she goes above and beyond to make sure things are perfect. I could definitely read another 300 pages about their separate lives!

If you love slow burn romances, then this book is perfect for you. As the reader, it was crazy obvious that the two had feelings for each other, but for Jo & Emma it took a while to realize and come to terms with that. I do think that it was a little bit too slow burn for my tastes, but it was absolutely worth it in the end. The chemistry between Jo & Emma was literal fire and the respect they had for each other made me so happy. They were perfect for each other, you can’t even deny it. I do wish we could have had a little more time with them once their relationship was established though. With Jo being Emma’s boss, there is a power imbalance, but the author does a fantastic job addressing it! 

I loved the Hollywood setting! I am a nerd for all things TV and with this story we really got to see behind the scenes of how shows are made. Something to Talk About takes on a huge issue that the entertainment industry (and the world in general) faces…sexual harassment. When I read the scene I was not expecting it at al, but I appreciate that the author chose to write about it. Sexual harassment, especially in the workplace, is something that happens way too often and there always needs to be a conversation to spread awareness .The way the situation was handled was fantastic. It made a huge impact on Jo and I love that she decides to take action and create a safe space to help those who need it. 

Overall, Something to Talk About was a dream read! I was completely lost in the pages and with everything going on in the world, that is exactly what I needed! I highly recommend picking this title up as soon as it releases on May 26. Trust me, you won’t regret it!

ARC Review | It Sounded Better in My Head

Title: It Sounded Better in My Head

Author: Nina Kenwood

Publisher: Flatiron Books (US) / Text Publishing (Australia)

Release date: April 7, 2020

My rating: ★★★★.5

Synopsis via Goodreads:

From debut author Nina Kenwood comes a tender, funny, and compulsively readable novel about first love and its confusions, and all of the awkwardness of teen romance.

When her parents announce their impending divorce, Natalie can’t understand why no one is fighting, or at least mildly upset. Then Zach and Lucy, her two best friends, hook up, leaving her feeling slightly miffed and decidedly awkward. She’d always imagined she would end up with Zach one day―in the version of her life that played out like a TV show, with just the right amount of banter, pining, and meaningful looks. Now everything has changed, and nothing is quite making sense. Until an unexpected romance comes along and shakes things up even further.

It Sounded Better in My Head is a compulsively readable love letter to teenage romance in all of its awkward glory, perfect for fans To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and Emergency Contact.

Review:

I had an absolute blast reading It Sounded Better in My Head! This was one of those books that I couldn’t put down. When I had to take breaks all I thought about was these characters. I could honestly read 500 more pages about their lives!

In this book we follow Natalie, who’s parents just told her they are separating. To make matters worse, her two best friends hooked up. Everything is changing and nothing makes sense anymore. Then an unexpected romance comes along and shakes things up even more…

Our main character Natalie had a very rough time during puberty. It was not kind to her at all. She developed severe acne. I really appreciate that the author chose to discuss this topic. I was very lucky not to experience much acne growing up so this story showed me exactly how much of a toll it can put on someone. It affects not only your appearance, but your mental health. Natalie talks about having to take medication to calm the acne. She also shares all the side effects she had because of the medication. It is a lot and I couldn’t imagine being in her position. 

Her self confidence is also affected by her troubles with acne. She doesn’t like wearing certain clothing because it shows her scars. She has to make sure her makeup is applied well so it covers everything. She will cancel plans if she has a pimple. So much of her time is consumed by worrying and second guessing everything. It broke my heart. Throughout the book though, she really grows and starts to love who she is. 

Natalie‘s parents were the best! I loved how supportive and involved they were. They wanted her to experience all the good and bad that life has to offer. At the very beginning of the book, they tell Natalie that they are separating. She takes it pretty well at first, but of course deep down she is truly upset. There is a point when her mom decides to start dating again and Natalie is very angry about it. I understand why she felt the way she did, but there was no reason to make her mom feel like a terrible person. She was just trying to be happy. I don’t feel like their argument was ever really resolved so that is my only issue I had with the book.

The friendship between Natalie, Lucy and Zach was interesting to read about. I mean, I have been in Natalie’s place. It sucks to have a friend group of three and then the other two friends start dating. There’s nothing fun about being the third wheel. With all the changes going on, things get pretty rocky. Every friendship has its ups and downs, but at the end of the day, the three friends were always there for one another. I loved how protective Zach was and how encouraging Lucy was. Such a great group!

Okay now for the best part of the book…the romance! I don’t want to spoil who Natalie meets, but ugh they were so cute. The love interest is swoon worthy for sure. The chemistry between the two is 10/10. Natalie is very new to everything that comes with dating so I loved all the awkward things that happened. It was so realistic. The couple’s relationship isn’t perfect by any means. It gets messy, but you can bet that I was rooting for them the whole time!

Overall, It Sounded Better in My Head was everything that I wanted it to be plus more. If you are looking for a fun and quick contemporary that has depth and a sweet romance…look no further!

April & OWLs Magical Readathon TBR

Hi friends! It has been quite a while since my last post. Things have been a little crazy. With everything going on in the world, I haven’t had the time or energy to write up new posts. I haven’t even been able to read much at all. My mind has been so overwhelmed with coronavirus news and it’s been hard to focus on anything else. 

 It’s been two weeks since social distancing/quarantine started and I am finally getting into a routine. I’m really hoping that April will be a lot calmer and easier than March was.

I have an ambitious TBR this month. I am going to break it down into sections to better explain!

ARCs

Something to Talk About by Meryl Wilsner
Release date: May 26
Publisher: Berkley
I don’t really know much about this book besides it’s a F/F romance set in the entertainment industry. That’s enough info to get me super excited to start reading!

Admission by Julie Buxbaum
Release date: May 5
Publisher: Delacorte
I know that it takes a while to get a book published, so I’m convinced this author is psychic. Admission follows a college bribery scandal. Sound familiar…Aunt Becky???

By the Book by Amanda Sellet
Release date: May 12
Publisher: HMH Books For Young Readers
Again, I can’t remember much about the synopsis, but I know it has to do with a book nerd. I’m here for it.

OWLs MAGICAL READATHON

This AMAZING readathon is hosted by Book Roast. She puts so much hard work into this and I am very excited to participate for the first time. I chose to pursue the Seer career! This means I need to complete three courses to pass my OWLs!

➸ Ancient Runes: heart on the cover or in the title

More Than We Can Tell by Brigid Kemmerer
This is the companion novel to Letters to the Lost. I absolutely loved that book and I can’t wait to see some of the characters again.

➸ Astronomy: read a majority of this book when it’s dark outside

The Whisper Man by Alex North
An adult thriller about catching a serial killer. I figured this would be a great one to read at night!

➸ Divination: assign numbers to your TBR and use a random number generator to pick your read

Wilder Girls by Rory Power
This couldn’t have been a more perfect pick! I have been wanting to read this for such a long time!

OTHER READS

The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware
I have been waiting for my audiobook hold to come in for a while & I am next in line. Finally!

Let’s Call It a Doomsday by Katie Henry
I thought this would be an interesting time to read this book.

That’s it! Fingers crossed I can get to all of these.

I hope you all are staying home (if you can) & taking care of yourselves.

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ARC Review | The Lucky Ones

Title: The Lucky Ones

Author: Liz Lawson

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Release date: April 7, 2020

My rating: ★★★★.5

Synopsis via Goodreads:

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. 

Review:

Before I get into my review, I wanted to share why exactly I was so interested in this book. On January 23, 2018 there was a shooting at my local high school, the one I graduated from just a few years prior. Seventeen people were injured and two were killed. When you hear about these awful events on the news, you never think that it could happen so close to home, or at least that’s what I thought. I can’t even begin to imagine what it was like to be in the school on that day. I wanted to read The Lucky Ones in hopes that I could share this story with those that need it the most. The people in my community who are still struggling with what they went through. The people who need a little hope.

In The Lucky Ones we follow the lives of two teens after a horrific school shooting. May survived, but her twin brother didn’t. Zach’s mother is the lawyer for the shooter.

What an intense, heartbreaking and important story. It will rip your heart out and shake you to your core. There were definitely a few times when I had to put the book down because I needed a breather. I appreciate that the author decided to focus not on the shooting itself, but everything that happens after. The part that no one ever sees. The lives that were changed forever.

The Lucky Ones really explores grief and loss. Liz Lawson did a wonderful job showing that everyone grieves differently, there is no right way. The pain that May has is unbearable. Her world was completely flipped upside down. Everything that she once knew is gone. She has no much built up inside and it shows itself as destructive anger. Zach has felt loss of a different kind. He has been alienated by his friends and classmates because his mom chose to represent the shooter. He feels so isolated. These two characters have very different stories but once they meet, they are able to open up to one another. They can be vulnerable in a way that they haven’t been able to do. It was beautiful to see them, especially May, grow throughout the book.

Overall, The Lucky Ones was incredible. It comes with a lot of sad, but it also is very hopeful. Healing takes time and patience, but it will happen. When this book is released on April 7th, I highly encourage you to pick it up. It is a story that we all need to read.