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Interview: Kody Keplinger, author of That's Not What Happened and The Duff, caught up with editor Rachael Xerri to talk about representation, how geek girls find their way, and how audiobooks aid accessibility.

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Publisher's Summary

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....

©2018 Kody Keplinger (P)2018 Brilliance Publishing, Inc., all rights reserved.

What listeners say about That's Not What Happened

Average Customer Ratings
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

✫✫ 3.5 Stars ✫✫

This review is based more on the writing style, story and character development than the subject matter. While this is a really hard subject matter, the story line felt very meh to me. I didn't really feel the characters the way I thought I would and the way this story was written leads you to believe that there is a BIG secret and to be honest, the secret was not important and didn't even matter to the story in the end. I think I understand what the author was trying to express in this book but I just felt like it didn't come across in a big enough way.

The narration was great, each character has their own voice which is important in a story like this.

15 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Thinking about Colombine

So I'm a true crime junkie and obsessed with historical fiction so when I saw this book my brain immediately jumped to Colombine and had to have it. It wasn't quite what I expected but really made me think about what it means to be a survivor of a mass shooting. The stories we've been fed by the media are sensationalized and leave the survivors even more hurt and confused than before. This book was a wonderful retelling of the story from the sides that actually matter.

The reason I only give it 4 stars is because it was a bit slow moving, and there was some repetition, and relating with a teenage brain is a little difficult for an adult. Aside from that, great story.

Also, a little hint before diving in. Listen to the song Cassie by Flyleaf and really dig into the lyrics and its revision over time. I know it sounds weird but to me it adds a lot of dimension to Le's story.

10 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Powerful. Not your typical story.

If you’re looking for a thrilling mystery or if you crave the knowledge of why some kid would shoot up his school this is not the book for you. This is about trauma. This is about victims. This book is about how media and hearsay can take away people’s truth. I saw bad reviews saying that this story was boring and to be honest they really proved the authors point. Because the truth can be boring but it can also be sad and beautiful.

7 people found this helpful

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Pretty Good

While I liked the premise of the book, I don’t think it was executed very well. It wasn’t until about 2/3 in that I finally started to get into it, but then the big “secret” wasn’t as punchy as I thought it’d be. I understand the significance, but given the circumstances it felt like the main character was messing up everyone’s lives for her own peace of mind. Also in all the chapters that are supposed to be letters: people don’t write dialogue in letters! It felt weird and unrealistic.

4 people found this helpful

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Columbine Massacre

If you write a book about Columbine...You should at least give that massacre the respect it deserves.
I’m sure that the stories of Columbine have restrictions and copyrights but it was hard for me to get in to with such a flagrant similarity to the Columbine massacre.
I felt it was disrespectful.

3 people found this helpful

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Great representation of grief

Displayed the complications of grief and the little I know of PTSD very well. Almost cried so many times I had to come back to it. Yes, many parts are sad. But they’re necessary and enlightening to what might be going on in others’ lives.

2 people found this helpful

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My teen & I both enjoyed this one!

This book grabbed & kept our attention. I was reluctant to let her read it at first so, I compromised & downloaded the audiobook. Our time was not wasted. Very eye opening.

2 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

a white man reading a black person's character.

a black charactor should be read by a black actor, PERIOD!!!!! The book took too long to get to the point.

1 person found this helpful

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I couldn't get into this book.

I thought I would like this book, but it never managed to pull me in. I don't know if it was the story itself or the narrators telling of it or both, but it seemed like this book took weeks to get through.

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars

Spoilers ahead, cringey characters

Overall I really enjoyed this book but there were some parts I really cringed during. I couldn't help but wonder if it would have been better off if she had just left it alone. I was honestly relieved at the end when she finally left the decision of what to do up to Kelly. Like I said, it was a good read in the end if you have the patience to push through some of the less great parts.

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  • Simon Price
  • 09-04-18

good listen, not enough mystery

story was good, but there wasn't enough mystery it and seemed to drag it out unnecessarily

4 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Sarah
  • 09-18-18

wow

really different and enjoyed alot. each character was rounded and interesting. i would recommend this

2 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • J
  • 04-27-20

decent enough ya listen

easily enough to listen too. some interesting thoughts through the plot. gun violence, religious zealots.. just lacked that satisfactory ending.

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 11-24-19

Review

I choose to rate it 4 stars even though I was debating whether or not to for it a 3 in some areas because at first I didn’t really enjoy this audiobook it always felt like it was missing something but I’m very glad I stuck with it as it all came together beautifully, I liked how it cast a light on victims and the survivors in something like a shooting and how it showed that people are people and sometimes when they die they are seen as perfect or worshipped when really that’s not the real them. I felt as though you couldn’t be invested in the characters for some reason I’m not sure why as they were relatable and likeable but I wasn’t left wanting to know more. Overall it was a good book just a bit hard to get into and enjoy at first but once you get into you’re left thinking about it constantly.

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-11-19

Telling and wise

This is a book with it all
We have love, diversity, death and living and its complications, mental disorders, and horrific stories told in the most beautiful way. I would really recommend this to anyone, who will listen to a well written and performed book, with blame and guilt as big factors and I plotline that will keep you seeking more.
It's long since I was on the edge of my chair like this.

1 person found this helpful