That’s Not What Happened by Kody Keplinger

Sounds like: The Mess I Made by Parachute | Kiss Me Slowly by Parachute
Iris by the GooGoo Dolls | What About Now by Daughtry
Feels like: An Everyday Reality.

TRIGGER WARNING: MASS SHOOTINGS AND SCHOOL SHOOTINGS ARE MENTIONED IN THIS POST. If you need help please call
National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255

In 2018, there were 82 school shooting incidents in the United States, the highest there have ever been since 1970.

That’s Not What Happened by Kody Keplinger takes place three years after a school shooting in a small, rural Indiana town. This book is told in alternating narratives and memorials / memories of the victims of the massacre. We follow Lee as she battles with the truth of what has happened the day she lost her best friend and became one of the six survivors, discovering who she is, fighting off her existential dread, and figuring out her A-sexuality. The weight of the world is on her shoulders but even worse? So is the weight of the truth of what happened that day.

In 861 incidents, the shooter targeted specific victims.

I had to keep telling myself this shooting never really happened and that this was a work of fiction, which not only speaks to Keplinger’s writing but the state of our world. The letters Keplinger crafts from the various survivors and witness of the shooting are so realistic and honest. They are raw and come from a place of truth.

In 691 incidents, the shooter was a current student at the school.

You really feel for each of these characters and the different places of pain they are coming from. One from pride. One from loss. Another from betrayal. Each one is right, true, and honest. But more than that, each one is real and each one hurts.

The shooter was male in 1,129 incidents and female in 57.

There was closure in this novel in a way that many books don’t provide closure. With so many characters it’s easy to leave loose ends but Keplinger ties them all up and hands them to us gently because she knows we feel the pain too. But she’s unforgiving and unapologetic which gives this novel the realism it needs.

[Victims] all treated like angels after they die. Every description talks about how friendly and fun-loving and kind they were, even if that wasn’t always the case.
But most people who died that day were kids. And sometimes kids are jerks. That doesn’t make them less worthy of mourning. It just makes them people. Acting like the dead were always perfect and innocent just distances them from us even more. Maybe it’s just me, but knowing these people were flawed makes them more real.

That’s Not What Happened by Kody Keplinger

For example, Lee battles existential dread every day of her life but so does every other YA character in existence. The difference is the way Keplinger addresses it. She does a bang up job of really getting the point across and putting the reader in that place of darkness.

There have been 288 school shootings in the United States alone since 2009.

Equally as important is Keplinger’s dedication to Lee’s a-sexuality and how she deals with “feelings” for another one of our main characters. I was really afraid this aspect was going to be mentioned once and tossed to the way side once Lee ‘figured out how she really feels for a boy for the first time.’ But I was happily proven wrong. I’m glad to see Keplinger really portray an a-sexual character and keep her feelings realistic and true.

There were 29 incidents where the shooter was a police officer/SRO.

Not once in this novel was the “shooter” named and I respect and appreciate that the most. We need to learn across the world that celebritizing mass shooters is a problem. Giving them fame or infamy is a poison we let loose on the future and the victims.

141 is the number of people killed in a mass murder or attempted mass murder at a school or college since Columbine.

This book is not only about finding the truth but accepting it.

It’s a good story. And you know what people like way more than the truth? A good story.

That’s Not What Happened by Kody Keplinger

In 2018, there were 82 school shooting incidents in the United States, the highest there have ever been since 1970.

Related image
2008 – DeKalb, IL – Northern Illinois University
6 Victims
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2007 – Blacksburg, VA – Virginia Tech
33 Victims
Image result for sandy hook elementary
2012 – Newtown, Connecticut – Sandy Hook Elementary School
28 Victims
Image result for parkland high school
2018 – Parkland, FL – Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School
17 Victims
1999 – Columbine, CO – Columbine High School
15 Victims

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