That's Not What Happened
That's Not What Happened

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Annotation: In the three years since the school massacre, a story has grown up around one of the victims that says she died proclaiming her Christian faith--but Leanne Bauer was there, and knows she didn't. Should she tell the truth, or stay silent?
Catalog Number: #170475
Format: Perma-Bound Edition from Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Copyright Date: 2018
Edition Date: 2018
Pages: 325 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: Publisher: 1-338-18652-3 Perma-Bound: 0-7804-2950-8
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-1-338-18652-9 Perma-Bound: 978-0-7804-2950-5
Dewey: Fic
LCCN: 2017060501
Dimensions: 21 cm.
Language: English
Kirkus Reviews
A school shooting survivor is determined to correct untrue stories about the tragic event.Senior Leanne Bauer faces the third anniversary of the incident that took nine lives at rural Virgil County High School. Afterward, tales spread that her best friend, Sarah, defended her Christian faith before she was murdered, something eyewitness Lee knows to be untrue. However, Sarah's religious family and the community at large embrace that story. When fellow survivor Denny asks Lee to read his college scholarship letter, she is inspired to ask the other eyewitnesses to write their stories too. One of the six, Kellie, has moved away, her family hounded when she insisted that the cross necklace found at the site actually belonged to her, not Sarah. Lee becomes convinced that she must get Kellie to participate if the project is to be complete. Echoing highly publicized tragedies, this taut, emotional story goes behind the headlines to reveal lives impacted by school violence. The characterizations are strong: Gay, Latinx Eden struggles with guilt over her difficult relationship with her murdered cousin. White, fervently Christian Ashley is a staunch supporter of the accepted narrative, while Miles, white and already troubled before, is even more withdrawn. Denny, African-American and blind, appears the most grounded, though readers only glimpse his backstory. White, working-class Lee is a nuanced and believable protagonist.A timely page-turner that will resonate with readers. (Fiction. 12-18)
Publishers Weekly
As the anniversary of the school shooting that killed eight people, including her best friend, approaches, Leeann is anxious and sad. She-s also angry-not just at the shooter, but at the people who turned Sarah into a martyr whose dying thought was of faith, and at herself for not clearing things up sooner. Searching for the truth, Leeann asks the other five students who were in the shooter-s range, four of whom have become her closest friends, to tell their stories, and their narratives are folded into the book. The fifth survivor has left town, but Leeann tracks her down. As the truths mount up and displace each other, the survivors must come to terms with what they did and didn-t do that day, and how different that may be from what people think happened. Keplinger (The DUFF) effectively conveys how the stories they-ve told and have been told about the shooting have shaped each survivor-s sense of who they are. The result is an original and engrossing narrative about scars, recovery, and how the stories we tell can both sustain and hobble us. Ages 12-up. Agent: Brianne Johnson, Writers House. (Aug.)
Word Count: 79,582
Reading Level: 4.9
Interest Level: 7-12
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 4.9 / points: 12.0 / quiz: 198039 / grade: Upper Grades
Reading Counts!: reading level:5.4 / points:19.0 / quiz:Q75107
Lexile: HL720L
But this, it felt too normal. I found myself scanning the crowd for Sarah, as if I expected to see her waiting for me, the way she had been every other morning I'd walked into this school. Her bright purple backpack slung over one shoulder, a Pop-Tart in hand. And she'd always have an extra one for me, because she knew I skipped breakfast in favor of sleeping in.

Of course, Sarah and her backpack and her Pop-Tarts weren't there. So I just stood in the middle of the cafeteria with no idea what to do or where to go.

That's when I saw the plaque, a large, shiny black square hung up on a pillar in the center of the room. It was the only real physical change to this part of the school, and I almost hadn't noticed it. I took a few steps forward, looking up at it, and wishing I had the strength not to.

The plaque was engraved with their names. All nine victims, listed in alphabetical order. I took them in one at a time, even though I already knew them by heart.

Kevin Brantley
Brenna DuVal
Jared Grayson
Rosi Martinez
Sarah McHale
Richard McMullen
Thomas Nolan
Aiden Stroud
Essie Taylor

And beneath their names was a quote from Emily Dickinson:

"Unable are the loved to die, for love is immortality."

I hated that quote, because it was a lie. Even if love were immortality, I couldn't help thinking that eventually everyone who loved you would be dead, too. And then what did any of it matter? It didn't. Quotes like those were just there to make the living feel better. Another way to help us ignore the fact that oblivion was inevitable.

Excerpted from That's Not What Happened by Kody Keplinger
All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

From New York Times bestseller Kody Keplinger comes an astonishing and thought-provoking exploration of the aftermath of tragedy, the power of narrative, and how we remember what we've lost.

It's been three years since the Virgil County High School Massacre. Three years since my best friend, Sarah, was killed in a bathroom stall during the mass shooting. Everyone knows Sarah's story--that she died proclaiming her faith. But it's not true. I know because I was with her when she died. I didn't say anything then, and people got hurt because of it. Now Sarah's parents are publishing a book about her, so this might be my last chance to set the record straight . . . but I'm not the only survivor with a story to tell about what did--and didn't--happen that day. Except Sarah's martyrdom is important to a lot of people, people who don't take kindly to what I'm trying to do. And the more I learn, the less certain I am about what's right. I don't know what will be worse: the guilt of staying silent or the consequences of speaking up . . .

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