Gary Anderson's Reviews > That's Not What Happened
That's Not What Happened
Gary Anderson's review
Dec 03, 2018
Sadly, there is now a YA genre of school shooting books. Kody Keplinger’s That’s Not What Happened is an important addition to that tragic collection. Lee Bauer, Keplinger’s narrator, is a survivor who held the hand of her best friend Sarah as she was shot to death in a school bathroom. The shooter killed eight others, but his motives are consciously downplayed in That’s Not What Happened. The focus instead is on what happens to the truth after the shooting. Sarah’s parents are publishing a book about their daughter’s courageous act of faith in her final moments—except … that’s not what happened. Lee and another girl, Kellie, are the only survivors who know exactly what happened in that bathroom. Although Lee has been reluctant to talk about the shooting, she decides to claim her own truth by finally telling her story. She recruits other survivors to write their stories too, but their truth-telling is challenged by alternate narratives that mythologize that horrible day's heroes, victims, and martyrs for various self-serving purposes. What emerges is a gut-wrenching understanding of how school shooting survivors are traumatized in different ways, and how truth itself is victimized by those who choose to use catastrophe to further their own agendas. As That’s Not What Happened speaks directly to its readers, it emphasizes the importance of telling our own stories and not allowing us to be defined by others.
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December 3, 2018 – Shelved
December 3, 2018 – Finished Reading