Finding new things to do during quarantine has been a challenge, but one thing that has always been reliable is reading. Reading is a great way to take your mind away from the stressors of life and enter into a new world. Two novels that will sweep one away from reality and into the lives of teenagers are The Lucky Ones by Liz Lawson and You Don’t Know Me But I Know You by Rebecca Barrow. Both Lawson and Barrow are young adult fiction writers and use their novels to connect with teens in creating stories about different hardships they can go through. Both novels focus on very different yet controversial topics.
The Lucky Ones, Lawson’s first novel, focuses on the aftermath of a school shooting. This novel is a dual perspective and centers on the issues of anxiety, grief, sadness and even romance. Throughout the novel, the two main characters eventually come across one another and their lives intervene. The collision of these characters sends them both for a loop and their lives change forever.
According to reader Simone Riter, “The Lucky Ones was probably one of the heaviest and most hard-hitting young adult novels I’ve read so far. It explores so many important issues like grief and the impact something as traumatic as a school shooting can have on the lives of those left behind. Even though this is a tough topic to read about, Lawson does it in such a respectful way. It’s a book about hope — not about death or shootings — and the hope that people can help each other get through hard times.”
After reading The Lucky Ones, you can change your world and enter into Rebecca Barrow’s first novel You Don’t Know Me But I Know You. This novel focuses on a young relationship and the issue of teen pregnancy. Along with teenage pregnancy, we see the novel touch on abortion and anxiety. Readers are able to follow along with the main character in her journey of pregnancy as well as different relationships.
According to reader, author and professor here at Canisius Janet McNally, “You Don’t Know Me But I Know You is a heartfelt, powerful examination of family: the one we’re born to, the one we choose and the one that chooses us. Rebecca Barrow’s novel feels all at once heartbreaking, hopeful and true.”
Each of these stories are written with flawless technique and it is clear the authors took the time to understand each of the controversial issues on a different level. Young adult fiction continues to push boundaries in the best way possible, all while showing teens that they are not alone in facing these issues. Lawson is releasing another book in 2022, and Barrow has two other novels on bookstore shelves.