That's Not What Happened
by Keplinger, Kody

In the three years since the Virgil County High School Massacre, a story has grown up around one of the victims, Sarah McHale, that says she died proclaiming her Christian faith-but Leanne Bauer was there, and knows what happened, and she has a choice: stay silent and let people believe in Sarah's martyrdom, or tell the truth.

Kody Keplinger grew up in a small Kentucky town. During her senior year of high school, she wrote her debut novel, The DUFF, which is a New York Times bestseller, a USA Today bestseller, a YALSA Top Ten Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers, and a Romantic Times Top Pick. It has since been adapted into a major motion picture. Kody is also the author of Lying Out Loud, a companion to The DUFF; That's Not What Happened; Run; Shut Out; and A Midsummer's Nightmare, as well as the middle-grade novels Lila and Hadley and The Swift Boys & Me. Kody lives in New York City, where she teaches writing workshops and continues to write books for kids and teens. You can find more about her and her books at

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 chara cterizations 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Ashley is a staunch supporter of the accepted narrative, while Miles, white and already troubled before, is even more withdrawn.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) Copyright Kirkus 2018 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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