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That's Not What Happened

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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 par 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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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 par 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 . . .

30 review for That's Not What Happened

  1. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    “Sometimes it’s okay to believe things that aren’t true. Sometimes it’s necessary.” I have been a Kody Keplinger fan since The DUFF, which still finds its way into my re-read rotation. Ms. Keplinger’s characters, banter, intelligence, and strong messages that tie right into current events and moods make her one of my favorite voices. But That’s Not What Happened did not work for me. Three years ago, 6 teenagers survived a school shooting at Virgil County High School. This is their story. Their tru “Sometimes it’s okay to believe things that aren’t true. Sometimes it’s necessary.” I have been a Kody Keplinger fan since The DUFF, which still finds its way into my re-read rotation. Ms. Keplinger’s characters, banter, intelligence, and strong messages that tie right into current events and moods make her one of my favorite voices. But That’s Not What Happened did not work for me. Three years ago, 6 teenagers survived a school shooting at Virgil County High School. This is their story. Their truth. Leanne (Lee) Bauer guides us through by telling us how life for her and the other survivors—Ashley, Eden, Denny, Kellie, and Miles--is now and was three years ago. Lee’s main goal is to correct a rumor that grew and grew into an uncontrollable beast of a story. The story of a girl and her cross. The truth got lost somehow. People didn’t want the scary, ugly truth. They wanted something inspiring to believe in. They wanted something to battle the pain and confusion they were all feeling after the shooting. The story about Sarah, Lee’s best friend, and her cross is not true. Lee knows it, but is it too late to fix the past and everyone’s thoughts on what happened that day? What if everyone wants to believe the lie instead? Will the truth change anything? “How do you tell someone that something they were so sure of, something that was profound and meaningful to them, wasn’t real?” I loved the idea of this book very much. Truth is a hard thing to maintain in our society with so many media outlets reporting and publishing on the spot. Rumors are printed as facts. Interviews are held in time of stress, shock, and pain. The “truth” seems to change minute by minute. Things are said and lost and circulated that are just not true. And then those “true” things are remembered and talked about and not corrected. It’s scary and more often than not devastating to a town, individual, or investigation. This book picks away at that idea, but in my opinion, does not deliver the big emotional wallop. I was told again and again what happened, but I didn’t feel invested or involved. The way the story unfolds in letters and time flips prevented me from really getting to know or like these characters. Lee is a very unlikeable character actually. The way she bullies a couple of her fellow survivors to tell and share their truth felt very ugly to me. Just because she was finally ready to talk doesn’t mean everyone was ready. Sadly I just didn’t feel connected to any of the characters in the mix. Which to be honest—kind of scared me. Am I too hardened by real life events to feel any of this? I hope not. I think the format prevented me from wholeheartedly climbing in and getting lost in the book. Like the quick, little stories and details about the individuals killed in the shooting—they didn’t feel folded in or part of the story. They felt more stuck in here & there during the course of the story. The different pieces and voices just didn’t come together for me here. Kody Keplinger will forever be on my must-read list, but I would recommend checking this one out at your local Library first. It lacked the emotional punch and meaning I usually adore from a Keplinger read. **Quotes taken from ARC**

  2. 5 out of 5

    Elise (TheBookishActress)

    I didn't even KNOW Kody Keplinger had a new book releasing holy shit

  3. 5 out of 5

    Luu

    TÁTO KNIHA NIE JE NIČ Z TOHO, ČO SA VÁM ANOTÁCIA SNAŽÍ NAKECAŤ. Masaker na strednej škole, tajomstvo za smrťou najlepšej kamarátky, odhaľovanie minulosti, ktorá môže všetko zmeniť, atď atď atď... NIE. Celú americkú anotáciu môžete rovno chytiť a zahodiť do koša, lebo ňou chce vydavateľ akurát tak zahrať na city publiku, aby si kúpili knihu o nejakej aktuálnej a tragickej téme s nádychom záhady a množstva emotívnych scén. Nie. Nie. NIE. Anotácia v mojom prevedení: Ubehli tri roky od streľby na mies TÁTO KNIHA NIE JE NIČ Z TOHO, ČO SA VÁM ANOTÁCIA SNAŽÍ NAKECAŤ. Masaker na strednej škole, tajomstvo za smrťou najlepšej kamarátky, odhaľovanie minulosti, ktorá môže všetko zmeniť, atď atď atď... NIE. Celú americkú anotáciu môžete rovno chytiť a zahodiť do koša, lebo ňou chce vydavateľ akurát tak zahrať na city publiku, aby si kúpili knihu o nejakej aktuálnej a tragickej téme s nádychom záhady a množstva emotívnych scén. Nie. Nie. NIE. Anotácia v mojom prevedení: Ubehli tri roky od streľby na miestnej strednej škole a rodičia jednej z obetí vydávajú dcérinu autobiografiu. Sarah totiž zomrela inak ako ostatné deti, pretože zomrela kvôli náhrdelníku s krížom, ktorý držala v ruke. Sarahina najlepšia kamoška Lee však vie, že to ANI NÁHODOU nie je pravda - pretože Sarah bola v skutočnosti rebelka, ktorej viera nič nehovorila. A keby sa dozvedela, aká mučeníčka sa z nej stala, zúrila by. Lee sa teda rozhodne, že to nemôže nechať tak - a začne zháňať ostatných ľudí, ktorí v ten deň ako zázrakom prežili, aby spolu "vybalansovali" klamstvo, čo okolo Sarah vzniklo. Ibaže ubehli tri roky, polovica je už zo strednej preč, tej druhej sa o dni streľby nechce rozprávať... a Lee sa musí zamyslieť, či vlastne svojim rozhodnutím jatriť staré rany ľuďom skôr neublíži. A o tomto ta kniha je. Nie o tom, čo sa stalo vtedy. Ale o tom, čo sa deje teraz. A HOLY FUCK, TOTO ŽE NAPÍSALA KODY KEPLINGER!? Táto kniha je totiž ÚPLNE iná, ako máte Kody Keplinger zafixovanú. Úplne. Ak by na obálke nesvietilo jej meno, neverila by som, že tento toto napísala ona. Ak by som ju totiž mala k niečomu prirovnať, bolo by to Mŕtve dievča neklame - kde takisto skladáte mozaiku niečoho, o čom viete, že sa to už stalo, len nepoznáte všetky uhly pohľadu. Táto kniha nie je o masakre pri streľbe, ale o tom, že sa niečo také v minulosti stalo a nejakým spôsobom to hrdinov poznamenalo. A Kody Keplinger to dáva úplne bravúrne. Lee hľadá svojich bývalých spolužiakov a postupne ukazuje, akým smerom sa ich život posunul, a každá z týchto mini-epizódiek je skvelá, pútavá a jedinečná. Chcem to zdôrazniť ešte raz - príbeh nie je o tom, že Leeina kamarátka mala nejaké strašné tajomstvo, ako naznačuje anotácia. Príbeh je o tom, ako po troch rokoch od traumatizujúcej udalosti žijú rôzni ľudia. Táto kniha je pre ľudí, ktorí majú radi dobre spracované vážne príbehy so silnou atmosférou. Asi by som mala povedať, že je preto trochu pomalá - ale na druhú stranu som ju zhltla behom dvoch dní, lebo ma tak chytila, že som NEVEDELA PRESTAŤ. Len vďaka tomu, aké silné postavy ponúkla. A ako je fantasticky napísaná. Nie je to vaša typická Kody Keplinger, ale podľa mňa je to to najlepšie, čo autorka napísala. A jednoznačne moja TOP kniha tohto roka. EDIT: A IDEM TO PREKLADAŤ A VYJDE TO V COOBOO BUDÚCI ROK!!!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Kelly

    Inspired by the story of Cassie Bernall after Columbine, Keplinger's book is a story about who controls the narrative in the aftermath of tragedy. It's a searing exploration of voice: who has it and who has it taken from them. Lee -- who is asexual -- begins the story three years after a surviving a school shooting. It's just her and five others, though only four others are still around. One of them, Kellie, left town before the school reopened following the tragedy. Kellie, however, will end th Inspired by the story of Cassie Bernall after Columbine, Keplinger's book is a story about who controls the narrative in the aftermath of tragedy. It's a searing exploration of voice: who has it and who has it taken from them. Lee -- who is asexual -- begins the story three years after a surviving a school shooting. It's just her and five others, though only four others are still around. One of them, Kellie, left town before the school reopened following the tragedy. Kellie, however, will end the story. After the shooting, Lee's best friend Sarah becomes a martyr. She was, of course, wearing a cross and proclaimed she believed in God when she was shot. But...that wasn't the truth of the matter, and that truth is something Lee kept secret for years. It turns out, though, telling people the truth of what happened matters deeply to her, and it's also nearly impossible to do. Who does that truth serve? And who does it hurt? This is a complex, layered book, and Lee herself is a complex, layered character. Her desire to do right and set the record straight is utterly admirable, but there's a lingering question in the back of the reader's mind as to why. What purpose does it serve? Who does it save? Does it cause more harm than good? That's where Kellie comes in. Kellie, the gothy outcast girl who was also a survivor of the shooting, ends up being a pivotal character in the story, but her voice is relatively absent. And it's this, in this very decision, Lee recognizes she has done precisely what it is she hoped she was fixing in the first place. Powerful. Timely. Moving. This is fast-paced, engaging, and emotionally gripping. There aren't easy answers here, and that's what makes the fact it's based on reality even more resonant. This is a book about voice and power, about the stories we tell and hear in the wake of something as horrible as a school shooting. But it goes even wider, too: it's about who we silence in any tragedy, in any social movement, and who, ultimately, GETS to be the one to direct the story. My only wish is race had been explored a little bit more here, though Denny's voice here is absolutely necessary. He's black and blind, one of the two black students in the rural school and certainly the only blind one. The book includes one of his scholarship essays, which digs into not wanting to be seen as a hero for being either. If race could have been explored more, this book would have been even more powerful than it already is. That said: what Keplinger DOES do here that so few do is write about rural communities with a clear compassion for them. This is small town life. It's not glamorous, nor is it something to scoff at. It's reality for so many kids, and I can see readers seeing themselves here. That both gives me heart and gives me heartache. Don't sleep on this one.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Dahlia

    I liked the approach of this a lot - viewing a school shooting years later to pull apart the truths of it - and the fact that there was this whole friend group created with a unique bond as a result. It was definitely a fast read, too. For me, what didn't work quite as well, which I wanna discuss not to criticize the book (which I quite liked, by the way) but because I think it's an interesting discussion, is the span of time between Sarah's death and the book shopping that's the catalyst for Le I liked the approach of this a lot - viewing a school shooting years later to pull apart the truths of it - and the fact that there was this whole friend group created with a unique bond as a result. It was definitely a fast read, too. For me, what didn't work quite as well, which I wanna discuss not to criticize the book (which I quite liked, by the way) but because I think it's an interesting discussion, is the span of time between Sarah's death and the book shopping that's the catalyst for Lee's need to share her truth. I recognize that a lot of the Sarah story is probably based on Rachel Scott, who was killed in Columbine. It took 2-3 years for her parents to start publishing books about her, and they kept on doing so right up through the 10th anniversary of Columbine. But 20 years later, as we've learned that Columbine wasn't a solitary horrific tragedy that would never repeat itself, and rather a horrific tragedy that would become a facet of American life for students in school, do I think one could or would wait three years to publish a book on a single victim? I don't. And to me, putting this 2018 book on the same timeline as Columbine was a missed opportunity to show the ways America has changed, including the way we consume media about the survivors, in addition to just feeling unlikely. So while I really appreciate the approach of viewing the aftermath and facts of a shooting and how much they change in a few years, this felt to me like it was about a 1999 shooting, and not a 2018 one. I think it would've made for a great historical (yes, we're calling 1999 historical now), but I'd still love to read the version of this book that I think would more accurately portray how it plays out in 2018, and especially in the current political climate. (One more thing I appreciated: the conscientious choice to keep the shooter's name out of it. It wasn't even so much that I liked or disliked the choice as that it was chosen, if that makes sense. Reminded me a little bit of the approach in Corey Haydu's THE CAREFUL UNDRESSING OF LOVE.) Anyway, I do recommend the book; I just think it's trying to capture a reality that's two decades behind us instead of the one right in front of us. Also, heads-up for those looking for ace rep - this one has an on-page ace MC.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Brooke — brooklynnnnereads

    4.5 stars First, before I get into my thoughts on such an intense and powerful read, I have to put a disclaimer out there. As stated, this book is an intense and difficult read containing many triggers that necessitate a trigger warning. Some of these warnings are around topics such as: PTSD, Depression, Anxiety, Drug and Alcohol Abuse, and Gun Violence. This list of warnings are just a brief list of some of the topics involved in this novel and if you are concerned with reading this book, I sugg 4.5 stars First, before I get into my thoughts on such an intense and powerful read, I have to put a disclaimer out there. As stated, this book is an intense and difficult read containing many triggers that necessitate a trigger warning. Some of these warnings are around topics such as: PTSD, Depression, Anxiety, Drug and Alcohol Abuse, and Gun Violence. This list of warnings are just a brief list of some of the topics involved in this novel and if you are concerned with reading this book, I suggest to read a few different reviews and do your research prior to reading. It's better to be safe than sorry so if you are worried about your reaction to this book: do your research first. With that disclaimer aside, I have to say that although this was an extremely difficult story, it was very powerful and important. It exposes a topic and situation that unfortunately is becoming more and more frequent in the world that we live in. It's a fictional story that is terrifyingly realistic. In regards to this novel, and the topic in general, I think many people will have varying opinions. There are multiple discussions that can be created from a story like this whether it be surrounding gun violence and gun laws or the discussion surrounding the motivation/factors of that individual who committed this violence. It's a very, in-depth and controversial topic that many people have different opinions on. Overall, I think it's an extremely important read that is also very thought provoking. It's painfully emotional and very powerful but at its core it's just so important because these stories need to be told in the hopes that someday there will be a change. ***Thank you to Scholastic Canada for sending me an ARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review***

  7. 5 out of 5

    ambsreads

    this really lacked depth honestly review to come

  8. 5 out of 5

    Kate (beautifulbookland)

    What a book. This is one of those books that I’m going to shove in every single person’s face because YOU HAVE TO READ IT. It’s a book that, like I Am Thunder, is so relevant to today’s world that everybody should read it. It’s completely heartbreaking, and I’m not lying when I say that I had a box tissues next to me, but I absolutely loved it. What it’s About Three years ago, Lee’s best friend, Sarah, was killed in the Virgil County High School mass shooting. Three years since Sarah died proclaim What a book. This is one of those books that I’m going to shove in every single person’s face because YOU HAVE TO READ IT. It’s a book that, like I Am Thunder, is so relevant to today’s world that everybody should read it. It’s completely heartbreaking, and I’m not lying when I say that I had a box tissues next to me, but I absolutely loved it. What it’s About Three years ago, Lee’s best friend, Sarah, was killed in the Virgil County High School mass shooting. Three years since Sarah died proclaiming her faith - only, she didn’t, and only Lee and one other survivor - Kelley - knows the truth about what happened. Now, after Sarah’s parents announce writing a book about their martyr daughter, Lee needs to set the record straight before the truth graduates with her. But Sarah’s story is important to a lot of people and their faith, and after running Kelley and her family out of town, they now set their sights on Lee, who is not only still struggling with the loss of her best friend, but also being the target of so much animosity in her town. The Characters & Relationships One thing that I genuinely can’t believe is how brilliant Kody Keplinger’s characters are. They are so unbelievably realistic, so flawed, that sometimes I actually had to remind myself that this book is fictional. Even the characters who were killed in the shooting, those who we’d never actually met, were so three dimensional that I mourned them. The love that their peers held for them, the little snippets of memories...it’s just so moving. While this goes for all of the victims, it’s obviously more focused on Sarah, as she was Lee’s best friend. Lee’s love for Sarah is stuff that we can only dream of having; there was one quote about how Sarah didn’t have to die a martyr for her to be Lee’s hero that had me bawling. Everything that Lee does reminds her of Sarah, and it’s so heartbreaking that I’m tearing up just writing about it. I also loved how Kody didn’t make all her characters be strong, speech-making activists; obviously there’s nothing wrong with that, but I appreciated the vulnerability, the different coping mechanisms shown. Everyone deals with things differently, whether that be through not talking about it, excessive drinking, or religion. Some people forgive, while others hold onto their anger. While this book is predominately through Lee’s eyes, we do also get to read all six of the survivors’ letters, stating the truth from their point of view, which I loved, because it just highlights how the same event can be perceived differently by different people. As well as the letters, we also get little snippets of memories focusing on each of the victims, whether they be students or teachers. And while you would expect all of the dead to be portrayed as perfect, they aren’t; none of them are put up on pedestals, and the survivors straight up say if they acted like arseholes at some point. Just because they didn’t deserve to die doesn’t mean that they weren’t awful people at some point or other in their life. The Verdict I honestly can’t recommend this book enough. I cried on page 15, and I cried on and off for the rest of the book. There wasn’t one time I sat down to read it that I didn’t cry; it’s so incredibly moving. I genuinely haven’t mourned a fictional character as much as I mourn Sarah since Sam Cortland from Throne of Glass. Which is mental, considering I only ever got glimpses of Sarah through Lee after she’d gone, but that’s how brilliant Kody is. This is my first book by her, but it definitely won’t be my last. I might just need to wait until my emotions have recovered from this book before I read any more of her books, though. *I received a free copy of this book via the publisher - this by no means affected my review*

  9. 5 out of 5

    Tati

    Eh... This was an okay read. Yes, yes, call me cold-hearted for not enjoying a book about the aftermath of a school shooting. The thing is, while the situation itself is very traumatic, the writing didn't make me care about the characters, or what happened to them. To be honest, not even the mistery around the shooter's identity gripped me. Also, I was led to believe the secret that Lee was going to reveal would be much bigger.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Sara (A Gingerly Review)

    Ho Lee Chit I need a moment to let that all sink in. Plus, a warm blanket, a big plate of comfort food, a hug, and a kitty to purr for me. Sweet Christmas that was intense, powerful, and necessary. --------- Full review can be found here: https://agingerlyreview.wordpress.com... This is one of those books that while it is very difficult to get through because of the topic, it is still needed and necessary. Short recap: Lee and five other students survived a horrific school massacre. Every year on the an Ho Lee Chit I need a moment to let that all sink in. Plus, a warm blanket, a big plate of comfort food, a hug, and a kitty to purr for me. Sweet Christmas that was intense, powerful, and necessary. --------- Full review can be found here: https://agingerlyreview.wordpress.com... This is one of those books that while it is very difficult to get through because of the topic, it is still needed and necessary. Short recap: Lee and five other students survived a horrific school massacre. Every year on the anniversary the survivors typically spend the day together talking about memories, thoughts, and feelings. There is one survivor that moved out of the city (run out of town is more like it) and refuses to talk about what happened. On the third anniversary, Lee wants the truth to be known about what really happened with her best friend, Sarah. Sarah did not survive the shooting and was made into a martyr for what was perceived to have been said by her. Lee wants everyone to know what really happened but are the other survivors ready to share their story? This was a heavy story to get through. Keplinger covered some very serious topics and she did it better than I expected. I am not trying to be crass when I say that, it’s that I have read books with similar topics that were not handled as well as they were here. Kudos to Keplinger for writing a story that I feel is necessary and needed in YA lit today. The protagonist, Lee, was a formidable character if I have ever one. I admired her guts and determination to have the truth be told about what really happened to her best friend. She stuck to her morals and did what she thought was necessary, regardless of what everyone thought. I cannot fault her for that. There were times I had to put the book down and walk away because I was becoming frustrated with characters not wanting to accept the truth over their perception of what happened. Take Lee’s best friend’s family. They wanted to believe with every ounce of their being that their daughter was the martyr the media was making her out to be because clearly their daughter had to be perfect. The fact that they would not even take into consideration that their daughter could be anyone other than this perfect image, Lee was chastised by them. They even had the town gang up on Lee and harass her! Could you imagine? I was floored. The one thing that stood out the most from this story is how the name of the shooter is never mentioned. The name was always blacked out because this wasn’t a story about that person, it was a story of survival and finding inner strength. Well done, Keplinger. I know this is a bit of a choppy review and that is because it was a difficult one to write. I enjoyed this story a lot and I want to do it justice. I want you to be interested enough to give it a chance. It may be a fast read but it is certainly not a light read or an easy read. I had times I was upset and uncomfortable, but that proves this author knows how to write a captivating story. Please check this out if you have not already.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

    Very interesting look at the truth behind a school shooting. Not at the shooter, whose name is never printed and whose motivations are never listed- because it's not about him. (I really liked that.) Instead, this is about the truth of the survivors: how they're doing months/years later. What they were doing at the time of the shooting. And how the truth about the victims gets skewed to fit the hero narrative. Some of the kids who died were jerks. One of the teachers was really great, but told t Very interesting look at the truth behind a school shooting. Not at the shooter, whose name is never printed and whose motivations are never listed- because it's not about him. (I really liked that.) Instead, this is about the truth of the survivors: how they're doing months/years later. What they were doing at the time of the shooting. And how the truth about the victims gets skewed to fit the hero narrative. Some of the kids who died were jerks. One of the teachers was really great, but told the most terrible jokes and would snort when she laughed at her own dumb punchlines. And one of the victims has become a martyr, erasing the real person she was. It could come off as bitter, but doesn't, instead it's honest and real. It's very much a book of our time, sadly, but without falling to sensationalism or morbidity. The one thing that bothered me was that the subplot about a character's sexuality really felt shoehorned in. I mean, it wasn't out of place, but it kept coming up and coming up even when there were other things going on. It should have been treated much more casually to make it a natural part of the character and the narrative, but it started to seem really infodumpy and made the story lose some of its natural forward momentum.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Lily Humphrey

    "That's not what Happened" by: Kody Keplinger is about a Junior named Leanne at Virgil County High School. Virgil County High School is best known for the mass shooting that happened there 3 years ago, where Leanne's best friend Sarah was shot and murdered in the bathroom of the school. Leanne was with her when it happened, she is one of the 6 survivors left that saw what happened. She saw what happened to Sarah, and it's haunted her for 3 years, she can't ever stop thinking about it no matter h "That's not what Happened" by: Kody Keplinger is about a Junior named Leanne at Virgil County High School. Virgil County High School is best known for the mass shooting that happened there 3 years ago, where Leanne's best friend Sarah was shot and murdered in the bathroom of the school. Leanne was with her when it happened, she is one of the 6 survivors left that saw what happened. She saw what happened to Sarah, and it's haunted her for 3 years, she can't ever stop thinking about it no matter how hard she tries, but she's not alone, she stays with her fellow survivors to help her cope with her pain. When Sarah's parents decide to publish a book, meant to inspire people with Sarah's story, Leanne knows they have the story wrong, they don't know what happened, no one does, no one but her. This book is phenomenal, I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who likes realistic fiction with some drama and suspense.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Alison

    There seem to be quite a few books about school shootings at the moment but this is probably the first one I've been tempted to read. It's such a difficult topic and I really didn't want to read a book that was going to deal with such a heavy or emotionally charged subject. This however appealed to me firstly because of the author but mostly because this book focuses on the survivors and how they're coping (or not) three years down the line. Mass shootings and gun control are very topical at the There seem to be quite a few books about school shootings at the moment but this is probably the first one I've been tempted to read. It's such a difficult topic and I really didn't want to read a book that was going to deal with such a heavy or emotionally charged subject. This however appealed to me firstly because of the author but mostly because this book focuses on the survivors and how they're coping (or not) three years down the line. Mass shootings and gun control are very topical at the moment and this story does cover a lot of the arguments and some scenes which will be very familiar to anyone who's watched the news recently. What I liked about it though is rather than necessarily putting across a specific argument or trying to explain the why behind the shooting or how it could have been prevented this looks at the effect of media coverage and all of this arguing on the victims and survivors. News coverage and social media put stories out there instantly and once a particular version of events is out there it often becomes the accepted story. The victims and survivors are often pushed into roles they may not necessarily want, courageous hero, martyr, spokesperson, face of a campaign or if they're really unlucky, coward or liar. The story becomes twisted to fit the agenda of the various lobbying groups and the truth and more importantly the impact on the survivors and the families of the victims is forgotten. This book demonstrates very effectively just what it's like for those to survive this type of ordeal. The story is told from the pov of Lee who was one of six survivors of a mass shooting in her school and was with her best friend Sarah when she was killed. When Sarah's parents decide to publish a book about their daughter who has become a bit of a martyr as the girl who died for her faith, Lee decides the truth has to come out. She begins collecting the real stories of the survivors and the victims but is she doing it for the right reason and what impact could telling the truth have on her life and the life of those around her. I thought the author did a wonderful job of portraying what kind of impact this type of ordeal would have on someone and the different ways the survivors have found to cope (or are still struggling). It may be three years later but they're still grieving, they feel guilty, suffer from flashbacks and panic attacks but with the media attention and the whole community watching them they're trapped into specific roles. I loved how this story revealed more about each of the survivors and victims. Lee sets out to show the world that they are more than what happened to them. They were not all heroes and or saints. They were regular people, flaws and all and they were in a terrifying situation. They shouldn't have to do or be anything and they shouldn't have to carry the weight or attention of the media or whatever lobbying group. That being said, it also raises the issue of whether it's okay to put the truth out there when it could upset the families of the victims. One other thing I have to say I loved about this story was how diverse it was. Lee the main character is on the asexual spectrum (something I don't think I've ever really come across before), there are two characters with physical disabilities, different races represented but also different religious beliefs. I'm not sure I would necessarily say that I particularly loved or connected to any one character but I was invested in their stories. This really was a brilliantly written story and I loved how sensitive the author was in dealing with such a difficult topic. I do get the impression some serious research has gone into this but if I had one criticism it's that I wish there was some acknowledgement of this or some details at the back. I was however reading an ARC though so perhaps that will pop up in the final version. Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with an ARC. As always all views are my own.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Zoe

    I could not put this book down. Going to be one of those books published at the right time, what with the school shootings in America. This book takes a look at the survivor stories and what they have to go through, even 3 years later. A fab read!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Jaelithe

    I received an ARC of this at BookCon. I almost didn't read it, because the subject felt so heavy, and not like my normal taste in books. But I like Kody Keplinger, and figured I'd give it a try. 1) It's not even really about "a school shooting." It's about what happens to a group of people, how they all react, when they've been directly or indirectly affected by a tragedy. The tragedy happens to be a school shooting, which looks a little bit like ones we've all heard about, but comes from real re I received an ARC of this at BookCon. I almost didn't read it, because the subject felt so heavy, and not like my normal taste in books. But I like Kody Keplinger, and figured I'd give it a try. 1) It's not even really about "a school shooting." It's about what happens to a group of people, how they all react, when they've been directly or indirectly affected by a tragedy. The tragedy happens to be a school shooting, which looks a little bit like ones we've all heard about, but comes from real research that the author has fictionalized. 2) I was riveted. I literally did not want to put this book down. It wasn't an amazing plot with twists and turns -- you basically know the key issue from the very beginning and very little is revealed that you couldn't have guessed at -- so I'm not sure why I was so riveted, other than that I almost got to feeling like I owed it to real people who have been through something like this to try to understand it better. 3) The story feels important. It reminded me that sound bytes on the news aren't representative of what really happened in a given situation. That one point of view does not make the truth. That there's more to a person than what other people see of them. And that my opinion of the right way to go about a thing may not match with someone else's, and that person should have equal say in their own story.

  16. 5 out of 5

    BookishGeek

    Do you remember the story of Cassie Bernall? I bet you do - she is the girl of "she said yes" fame, who was gunned down during the Columbine shooting but is more well-known for professing her devotion to God right before her death. While Columbine is now almost 20 years behind us, school shootings are more prevalent than ever, and the stakes continue to climb as gun control legislature is fought over tooth and nail by the US government. Keplinger's book is quite timely, right in the face of all t Do you remember the story of Cassie Bernall? I bet you do - she is the girl of "she said yes" fame, who was gunned down during the Columbine shooting but is more well-known for professing her devotion to God right before her death. While Columbine is now almost 20 years behind us, school shootings are more prevalent than ever, and the stakes continue to climb as gun control legislature is fought over tooth and nail by the US government. Keplinger's book is quite timely, right in the face of all this anxiety and uncertainty. She takes this concept - this idea of one girl becoming a martyr for her religion - and reminds us that it can still happen today. It could happen to you, your children ... anyone, really. Rating:  How I'd Describe This Book to a Friend What if Cassie Bernall's mom got it all wrong, and her book turned out to be built on unintentional lies? What if the person who overheard Cassie confessing her belief in God heard wrong, and those words were wrong attributed? That's where the premise of this book draws its inspiration: what if what the world believed happened didn't really happen? Lee is a survivor of the shooting at Virgil County High School - she, along with five of her peers, is trying to navigate the waters of recovery the best she can, three years out. But it's not as easy as it seems - she lost her best friend Sarah in the chaos while they were both crammed into a bathroom stall, clinging to each other. Yet from that moment burst forth a whole new movement - Sarah became a figurehead for her local church, for religion, when a rumor started circulating that she'd told the shooter she still believed in God. The only problem? Lee was right there, and Sarah didn't ever say a word. We walk with Lee through her recovery, and feel as if we're there when the PTSD starts to close in over her head like an anxious ocean wave. And when Lee discovers that Sarah's parents are planning to release a book about their daughter's story and martyrdom, she decides enough is enough: she's got to tell the truth. Thing is ... people don't take kindly to it when others call them wrong. A fact Lee quickly realizes when Sarah's parents immediately oust her from their home upon hearing the truth of the situation. Lee decides that if each survivor writes a letter, explains their side of the story, that maybe after she graduates her story will live on at Virgil County High - the true story. She is flummoxed to discover that not everyone wants to share their experience, however, and that we all have different ways of coping after such a massive incident. Lee quickly realizes that she needs to fully step up, or just sit back and let the false memories go - neither is a good idea, but what's the moral thing to do when your best friend would hate to know she's being held up this way? The Bottom Line There are some really great aspects of this book that help to differentiate it between every other school shooting YA fiction out there:  Lee is asexual, which we see come up as an issue when her senior prom arrives  One of the survivors, Denny, is both African American and blind - a unique perspective  This is perhaps my favorite of them all: we never learn the shooter's name. Not once do we learn any identifying information about them beyond the fact that it is a male. In places where the name has been written, it's blacked out and censored. We see so much about how we need to focus on the survivors of tragedies such as these, not the shooters - Keplinger really takes that to heart, and I appreciated it immensely. So why only 3 1/2 stars? I liked the concept, enjoyed getting to know the characters, but I just didn't care for Lee as a person. She was selfish and stubborn and didn't seem to take anyone else's emotions into account before charging into a situation. She's not a bad person - she's seen some shit, after all - but she's just not that likable. This is definitely a unique take on an unfortunately prevalent topic, and I would absolutely recommend it to anyone who works with teen populations, or wants to learn more about what it's like in the aftermath of a shooting - not during.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Moni Lareva

    Se me ha hecho un poco pesado que se repitiera tantísimo el tiroteo desde los distintos puntos de vista. No ha conseguido emocionarme ni he conectado con los personajes. Una vez llegué como a la mitad del libro tan solo tenía ganas de acabarlo.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Avery (Book Deviant)

    DNF @ 185 I didn't know what this was about when I picked it up, but I regret everything. bad characters, iffy plot, boring structure, and the only good thing was the accurate ace rep. otherwise it was bad.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Maria (Big City Bookworm)

    Unfortunately, this one didn't really do much for me. Stay tuned for a full review coming soon!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Alicia

    This is a tough one. The content is emotional and so relevant. The social commentary about controlling the narrative-- present in a smash hit in The Hate U Give-- is an important topic to explore and we want teens to be able to express their feelings, thoughts, and share the truth... always. Yet there was a lack of emotion in the story that focused more on the "mystery" of the real story of what happened in the bathroom. Lee needed to be able to share it out and also help take back the narrative This is a tough one. The content is emotional and so relevant. The social commentary about controlling the narrative-- present in a smash hit in The Hate U Give-- is an important topic to explore and we want teens to be able to express their feelings, thoughts, and share the truth... always. Yet there was a lack of emotion in the story that focused more on the "mystery" of the real story of what happened in the bathroom. Lee needed to be able to share it out and also help take back the narrative of the other survivors. I particularly enjoyed the profiles of those killed and the letters themselves, but there wasn't a punch in any of the revelations that justified the repetitive visitation of "needing to get her story out". I got super impatient with it.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Cesar Leon

    This book felt so real story because of Kory Keplinger style of write feel so credible. Three things you need to know about this book: - Kody is not afraid to cross some lines I think writers never try to cross in YA books -The characters are so complex make you think everyone is a Real person. -The most amazing thing about this books is Social criticism we have heard not need to be about the meaning thing of the book for me so strong and important to society.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Aoife

    I've seen other novels by Kody Keplinger; The DUFF: Designated Ugly Fat Friend, Shut Out. I've always thought they looked interesting, but I've never gotten around to reading them. I'll be changing that at my first opportunity. Kody is amazing. It's a sadly current book, the story of a school shooting from the point of view of the survivors. As I write this, the Texas shooting is still in the news. By the time the book publishes, it'll be some other shooting. The book is mostly from the POV of Lee I've seen other novels by Kody Keplinger; The DUFF: Designated Ugly Fat Friend, Shut Out. I've always thought they looked interesting, but I've never gotten around to reading them. I'll be changing that at my first opportunity. Kody is amazing. It's a sadly current book, the story of a school shooting from the point of view of the survivors. As I write this, the Texas shooting is still in the news. By the time the book publishes, it'll be some other shooting. The book is mostly from the POV of Lee, a teenager who was shot at, but not physically injured, during a shooting rampage in her school. A legend has built up around one particular victim, Lee's best friend, causing townsfolk to harass and abuse another survivor who tried to correct it. Lee knows the truth and is finally ready to come forward, but it's not going to be as simple as she thinks. I started crying within a few chapters and never really stopped. This is an incredible book, heartfelt and real, showing a range of coping mechanisms used by the six survivors - forgetting, faith, happiness, ignoring, medication and alcohol. Each choice is treated and right for that person, although the alcohol user stops during the course of the novel, and no one is demonised for how they cope. My only tiny problem, and it's very common across a lot of media, is that while initially a couple of the survivors were against Lee's plan, in the end they all came around and agreed it was for the best. Why couldn't they have dissenting opinions that were right for them? However, I see this a lot and it's not by any means a deal breaker. I also loved that Lee is asexual. It's comparatively rare still, but gaining ground and it's nice to see. It's great to have books to recommend to people, especially like this when it's not a major focus, just a part of who she is. A fantastic read. I'll definitely be trying more by this author. Receiving an ARC did not affect my review in any way.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jenn

    I'm still processing this one - especially considering the events in Florida recently - but I will say that this is likely Kody's most thoughtful and though-provoking novel yet. I can't wait to share this one.

  24. 5 out of 5

    PinkAmy loves 💕 books📖, cats😻 and naps🛏

    4.5 STARS Who are we? To ourselves, to others. Are we whom we know ourselves to be, or are we the narratives people envision us to be? THAT’S NOT WHAT HAPPENED examines a school shooting three years afterward from the perspective of Leanne and five other survivors of that fateful Ides of March. Lee knows the story that her best friend Sarah died proclaiming her love for god is false, paralleling the false narrative of Columbine victim Cassie Bernall, who people also falsely believed she died beca 4.5 STARS Who are we? To ourselves, to others. Are we whom we know ourselves to be, or are we the narratives people envision us to be? THAT’S NOT WHAT HAPPENED examines a school shooting three years afterward from the perspective of Leanne and five other survivors of that fateful Ides of March. Lee knows the story that her best friend Sarah died proclaiming her love for god is false, paralleling the false narrative of Columbine victim Cassie Bernall, who people also falsely believed she died because of her beliefs. The truth that Cassie was rendered speechless from the bullets doesn’t matter to her parents or church members who used her as a source of inspiration. Sarah, the Girl With the Cross, actually died instantly. And the cross wasn’t even hers. The necklace belonged to survivor goth girl Kellie, who told the truth and was run out of town by bullies from Sarah’s church. Lee, haunted by the truth, wants to tell the truth. She believes Sarah deserves to be remembered for whom she actually was, instead of a martyr, knowing Sarah would want the truth told. The other survivors have different reactions to telling their own truths about the shooting. Kody Keplinger created a diverse cast of survivors with LGBT, race, disability, blindness, PTSD, substance abuse and asexuality. She didn’t capture the asexuality component of Leanne as accurately as she should have, not taking into account that attraction doesn’t necessarily happen before puberty and that a trauma like a school shooting can arrest emotional development or that anti-anxiety/depression meds often have side effects of dulling sexual desire. Lee may have been asexual, but at age seventeen with her history and the meds, the label could be limiting. Also, sexual orientation isn’t just about the act of sex. Keplinger did handle Leanne’s willingness to consider possibilities well. The message of THAT’S NOT WHAT HAPPENED is as important as the story of the survivors. We ought to be in control of our own narratives, not how people want to tell our stories. Our lives are our own stories to write, not others’. We are all doing our best to survive and thrive in this thing called life. None of us are getting out of here alive.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Bookphile

    This is, hands down, one of the best books I've read in some time. "It's a good story. And you know what people like way more than the truth? A good story." I don't usually quote books in my reviews, but when I reached that one, it was such a perfect summation of the book that I knew I would have to use it. It encapsulates everything Keplinger is trying to get across with this novel. Yes, this is about the aftermath of a school shooting, but in many ways this book isn't even about school shootings This is, hands down, one of the best books I've read in some time. "It's a good story. And you know what people like way more than the truth? A good story." I don't usually quote books in my reviews, but when I reached that one, it was such a perfect summation of the book that I knew I would have to use it. It encapsulates everything Keplinger is trying to get across with this novel. Yes, this is about the aftermath of a school shooting, but in many ways this book isn't even about school shootings. In this review, I will not reveal what Lee is trying to figure out: what actually happened the day of the shooting. However, I will be discussing some of the major plot points in detail, so if you haven't read the book, you may consider that spoiler-y. I advise continuing with this review at your own risk. I want to get back to the concept of stories. We humans like to talk about how important the truth is, but I don't think we're being honest, which is one of the biggest reasons this book resonated with me. What we humans like most are good stories, stories that jibe with what we think and believe, stories that help us make sense of the randomness and chaos of the world. Regardless of whether the characters in this book were touched directly by the tragedy or hearing about it from afar, everyone concerned wants a good story. Lee wants a story that will help her assuage her guilt, that will make her feel as if she's set the record straight at last. Sarah's parents want a story that helps them come to terms with losing their daughter. Ashley wants a story that helps her find meaning in what happened to her. Eden wants a story that helps her find a way to keep forging ahead, even though she feels like she's drowning. Even Denny wants a story, though it's not the story that's often told about him. He wants a story that he himself has determined, one where he gets to control his own narrative. As for Kellie and Miles, I can't say much about what they want without giving some major plot points away, so I won't. What Keplinger captures so masterfully in this book is the deep-seated human need we all feel to lay things out in a nice, sequential line that tricks us into thinking things make sense. Sometimes this need is so great that it causes us to ignore the parts of the story that don't add up, the details that don't make sense, because then we'd have to face the fact that the story we've been telling is more fiction than fact. This is definitely the case with Sarah's parents, and it's the case with many members of Sarah's church as well. Grappling with how the God they believe in could let something like the shooting happen is difficult and possibly faith-shaking, so they take comfort in the idea that Sarah died a martyr for her faith. Some readers may feel like this book is an assault on religion, and I can see what would make them feel that way. I don't think it is, though. The McHales and their church are, of course, religious, but they're not the only ones telling themselves tales that comfort them, adjusting the details to meet their own needs. Lee is doing it as well. In fact, we all do this, every day of our lives. Who hasn't taken a narrative, tweaked it a bit, adjusted or embellished a detail here and there, to make it come out the way we want? Maybe we do it because we don't want our parents to find out we were sneaking out, or we don't want our boss to know we skipped work to go to a baseball game, or we don't want our significant other to know we're seeing someone else on the side. Maybe we do it because if we don't we'll have to face our own flaws and inadequacies. Sometimes we aren't even fully aware that we are changing the narrative to suit our needs, and if we run up against something that causes us to see that we are spinning a fiction, it causes us a lot of pain. Another thing I think this book does so well is how it addresses trauma and how different people deal with their trauma differently. Some people try to derive meaning from it, like Ashley does. Some people get stuck, ending up in the same spirals, like Lee does. Some do their best to stay afloat while the water closes in over their heads, as it's doing with Eden. Some want to leave it in their past, don't want to be defined by it, want to start a new, different story of their life, as Denny does. And as tempting as it is for me to get into how some of the other characters are dealing with their trauma, I won't. Sometimes I don't mind spoiling stories, but in this case I do, because I really want people to read this book and discover those spoilers on their own. This book is important, but maybe not in the way some people will think. It has obvious resonance in the current United States, where mass shootings have become tragically common precisely because Americans can't agree on one story and are therefore doomed to be stuck in the same endless loop while these tragedies continue to play out. But this novel is also timely because it is such a deep, intimate look at cognitive dissonance, about the tricks our minds play on us in order to protect us from the pain of facing things we don't want to face, or don't feel equipped to face. Leaning to pick apart a story isn't an easy experience for anyone, and it's one that can be extraordinarily painful, but it's a skill that benefits people to develop. Without understanding how to recognize the stories we're being told--and are telling ourselves--how can we ever learn not to be taken in? How can we develop the critical thinking skills required to enable us to pick through the threads in order to find where they mesh and where they don't? This is an enormously compassionate novel, one I think is well worth reading precisely because it will make you think.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Miranda

    Not rating as it’s a no go for me for now. Mark left about 35 percent through the ebook. Think it’s a DNF for me... I’m sorry to say I just can’t get behind this one. I have a annoyance when trying to read it, don’t think it’s a view point more as the story as a whole. It’s brought up sooo much that this is what happened and that they made her friend out to be this amazing thing so much I just honestly have zero care as to what truly happened. It could just be that this whole school shooting idea Not rating as it’s a no go for me for now. Mark left about 35 percent through the ebook. Think it’s a DNF for me... I’m sorry to say I just can’t get behind this one. I have a annoyance when trying to read it, don’t think it’s a view point more as the story as a whole. It’s brought up sooo much that this is what happened and that they made her friend out to be this amazing thing so much I just honestly have zero care as to what truly happened. It could just be that this whole school shooting idea has been played out before or that our media today has had it on so much that I don’t want to escape into a story with the same concept. But one thing I do know is they always say oh the shooter is now no longer a person, lets take away the name the identity and give them no recognition...sure we can do that but it happened we need to accept it learn from it and develop ways for it to not happen. Try less coddling of the child and help them grow in ways that make them ready for society vs hindering them. Sure give them recognition who cares vast majority are dead just like their peers in these shootings it doesn’t change anything when they are in fact dead and can’t hear the boasting of the news talking about what they did. It doesn’t matter at that point talking about the shooter and victims doesn’t give anyone famous just sad recognition. We as people make mistakes but what is the one thing we need to do? Live, learn, and grow. We can’t change how we are if we don’t try and change what we’re doing.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jessica White

    Six hours was all it took for me to read this entire book. That's Not What Happened takes place three years after the massacre at Virgil County High School. Three years where the survivors have dealt with the secrets they've been keeping. Three years since Lee lost her best friend. The story is told mostly through Lee's perspective with letters from the other survivors sprinkled throughout. The book is actually meant to be the letter Lee writes as a way to explain the truth. She knows what happen Six hours was all it took for me to read this entire book. That's Not What Happened takes place three years after the massacre at Virgil County High School. Three years where the survivors have dealt with the secrets they've been keeping. Three years since Lee lost her best friend. The story is told mostly through Lee's perspective with letters from the other survivors sprinkled throughout. The book is actually meant to be the letter Lee writes as a way to explain the truth. She knows what happened to Sarah that day, she knows the rumors are just rumors. But she didn't try to stop them three years earlier. A lot of the survivors letters deal with grief. How each person handled the past three years varied drastically. Some are using their story to better their futures, some are using their story as a cry for help, and some are using their story just to be heard. The truth needs to be out there for everyone to see. That dreadful day won't ever get any easier, but maybe putting thoughts into words on paper will help everyone cope a little better. Initially I bought this book because one of the characters, Sarah, has striking similarities to Columbine victim, Cassie Bernall.Cassie was reported to have stood up for her faith before being killed..she became a martyr in her community. However, it may not have happened the way everyone thinks it did; which is why this book grabbed my attention. I thought, maybe, it would be a fictionalization of Cassie's story. Which in a way, it was; but the author never mentions Sarah is loosely based on Cassie. Regardless, this book was absolutely phenomenal. This review can be found at A Reader's Diary!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Rimpy Toor

    So this novel was one that I found very important, especially in the times right now. Seeing as how it was about a school shooting and followed the lives of the survivors, I found it to be incredibly impactful and insightful. This novel was written in the format of a diary/letter from the main character as well as several of the secondary characters. It gave insight into the lives of these kids who survived a school shooting in which many of their peers died. I found the entirety of this novel ver So this novel was one that I found very important, especially in the times right now. Seeing as how it was about a school shooting and followed the lives of the survivors, I found it to be incredibly impactful and insightful. This novel was written in the format of a diary/letter from the main character as well as several of the secondary characters. It gave insight into the lives of these kids who survived a school shooting in which many of their peers died. I found the entirety of this novel very interesting, there was a small mystery throughout the novel, which had me very intrigued to find out what the secret was and how things really played out during the school shooting. I was all in for most of this novel until about halfway in we learnt the truth behind the mystery. I found that after I found out what I wanted to find out, I lost a bit of interest in what happened next. Of course the stories that these characters had to share were important and something that I was glad that I read, but the mystery element of the novel was gone and it made the “edge of your seat” feeling dissapate from me whilst reading the rest of the novel. That being said, I thoroughly enjoyed learning about all of the characters and being a part of their journey healing and growing from the horrendous situation they experienced. We got to hear the story a couple years post the shooting, but I’m glad that we got to experience a couple flashbacks and see how the days and months following the shooting were for these kids and how those experiences influenced who they are now. Religion was also a huge part of this novel and it was frustrating to see how some of the people in this town acted and treated some of these kids, all to keep their perfect story alive. This was by far one of the most annoying things for me as a reader to read, especially because there was nothing really done to deal with these people. The format of this novel was something that I found drew me in. The letter format it was written in really made me feel like I was being personally spoken to, and the essays dispersed throughout from the other survivors gave us different perspectives to the story. All in all, this novel was an incredibly quick read for me but an incredibly impactful one. It’s heartbreaking to think that this is a reality for so many kids around the world, especially now. I only wish that we can prevent any further deaths and school shootings, in turn preventing these kids from living their lives in fear and having to live with memories so terrifying. Obviously there is a huge trigger warning. Don’t read this novel if you don’t want to hear about a school shooting and how the lives of these kids were ended. It does get a bit graphic when the stories are being told, so if those things trigger you I wouldn’t recommend picking this novel up.

  29. 5 out of 5

    thegirlonfire

    im bad at reviews lol but i got this arc at bookcon, i loved it, even tho its about an intense theme.. i never read a book about this topic.. i like the way the story was told, and i like the main characters, lee ,denny ,miles.. i like the different sexual orientations in this book (and i havent read many books like this) and theres another difference too: the type of characters as in one is blind and another one is in a wheelchair (which again ive never read a book with characters like this) i im bad at reviews lol but i got this arc at bookcon, i loved it, even tho its about an intense theme.. i never read a book about this topic.. i like the way the story was told, and i like the main characters, lee ,denny ,miles.. i like the different sexual orientations in this book (and i havent read many books like this) and theres another difference too: the type of characters as in one is blind and another one is in a wheelchair (which again ive never read a book with characters like this) i found the characters very relatable and the issues too ..this story its something that could have happened irl.. theres very little romance (like very tiny since its not the point of the story) i also like how everything is described (the panic attacks, idk i find them relatable that they happen like this or could happen this way) and how the story is told by letters.. its also such a fast pace easy to read book very addicitng too..i recommend it a lot :3 tbh while reading this book and being outside it kind made me a bit paranoid....

  30. 5 out of 5

    Kirsti

    Wow. I have upgraded Kody Keplinger to the instant buy; those rare few authors that you buy despite having bought three books yesterday, despite waiting on payday, despite the way the cashier cocks a knowing eyebrow when they see you walk in. I adored The DUFF a few years back, enjoyed another of her books, but The DUFF and this one have me persuaded. School shooting books are not something you could say you want to read about, but this one presents so well and so thouroughly discusses both the Wow. I have upgraded Kody Keplinger to the instant buy; those rare few authors that you buy despite having bought three books yesterday, despite waiting on payday, despite the way the cashier cocks a knowing eyebrow when they see you walk in. I adored The DUFF a few years back, enjoyed another of her books, but The DUFF and this one have me persuaded. School shooting books are not something you could say you want to read about, but this one presents so well and so thouroughly discusses both the event and the characters after it so well. I really liked reading the main character, Lee's, POV and her feelings both about the shooting and Miles, the boy she both loves and fears hurting due to hiding a secret from him. I felt so connected by the way things got distorted after the fact; it felt real and very very scary. Also the way everyone had a different reaction to both the reality and the distortion. I can't really get more into that without spoilers, but there you are. A great book, I'm glad it defied the rules and came home with me. Five stars.

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