BOOK REVIEW: That’s Not What Happen by Kody Keplinger


Title: That’s Not What Happened
Author: Kody Keplinger
Publication: March 3, 2020
Publisher: Scholastic
Genre: YA Fiction
Pages: 336


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SYNOPSIS: (From Goodreads)

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 the guilt of staying silent or the consequences of speaking up…


I read That’s Not What Happened by Kody Keplinger with a group of friends as we mailed it to each other and commented as we went. I had not heard about this book so I was extremely happy to have it brought to my attention. While the topic of a school shooting is not an easy read, I find it interesting to see how the author writes about such a situation.

The story follows a few different people, all of whom survived a mass shooting at their school. The issue is one girl who died is being held to a higher level because she died while standing up for her beliefs…. supposedly. I really enjoyed the controversy the Keplinger weaved into this story. The idea is that something happened and everyone has diluted their thoughts over the years to just believe what is said and not necessarily what actually happened. I really enjoyed the mystery of one of the survivors; where she was and what she did.

I really liked some of the side characters, like Miles. They brought a lot to the story and really made reading more interesting. I also liked the controversy the survivors caused in the story between their behaviors and their disagreement on what to do.

While this is not a fluffy book with feel good story tied to it, there is a lot of emotion and the story is deep and flows well. Keplinger has a unique style and her ability to build suspense was what really set this book apart. I look forward to hearing more from her.

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