That’s Not What Happened

By Kody Keplinger
Published: 2018
AR level: 4.9
AR points: 12.0
Word count: 79, 582

I suggest 9th grade+

I came across this young adult novel while searching for thrillers. So when I started reading it, I was surprised at the plot. However, although this deals with one of our society’s greatest tragedies–school shootings–this story was urgent and moving.

Keplinger’s debut novel, DUFF, was a hit and eventually a movie (although definitely not one that followed the book). But this novel shows a maturity that has come to rest in her writing that will steal your heart and make you think.

Now, this book is not an attack on faith, but it is a call for speaking the truth. Here’s the description:

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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