From New York Times bestseller Kody Keplinger comes an astonishing and thought-provoking exploration of the aftermath of tragedy, the power of narrative, and how we remember what we've lost.
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 . . .
As the anniversary of the school shooting that killed nine people, including her best friend, approaches, survivor Leeann is anxious and sad. She's also angry not just at the shooter, but at the people who turned Sarah into a martyr whose dying thought was of faith, and at herself for not clearing things up sooner. Searching for the truth, Leeann asks the other five students who were in the shooter's range, four of whom have become her closest friends, to tell their stories, and their narratives are folded into the book. The fifth has left town, but Leeann tracks her down. As the truths mount up and displace each other, the survivors must come to terms with what they did and didn't do that day, and how different that may be from what people think happened. Keplinger (The DUFF) effectively conveys how the stories they've told and have been told about the shooting have shaped each survivor's sense of who they are. The result is an original and engrossing narrative about scars, recovery, and how the stories we tell can both sustain and hobble us. Ages 12 up.
Wonderful book, very emotional but well written to keep you wanting more