That's Not What Happened

That's Not What Happened

by Kody Keplinger


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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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781338186529
Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date: 08/28/2018
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 364,252
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.30(d)
Age Range: 12 - 17 Years

About the Author

Kody Keplinger grew up in a small Kentucky town. During her senior year of high school, she wrote her debut novel, The DUFF, which is a New York Times bestseller, a USA Today bestseller, a YALSA Top Ten Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers, and a Romantic Times Top Pick. It has since been adapted into a major motion picture. Kody is also the author of Lying Out Loud, a companion to The DUFF; That's Not What Happened; Run; Shut Out; and A Midsummer's Nightmare, as well as the middle-grade novels Lila and Hadley and The Swift Boys & Me. Kody lives in New York City, where she teaches writing workshops and continues to write books for kids and teens. You can find more about her and her books at

Read an Excerpt

But this, it felt too normal. I found myself scanning the crowd for Sarah, as if I expected to see her waiting for me, the way she had been every other morning I’d walked into this school. Her bright purple backpack slung over one shoulder, a Pop-Tart in hand. And she’d always have an extra one for me, because she knew I skipped breakfast in favor of sleeping in.

Of course, Sarah and her backpack and her Pop-Tarts weren’t there. So I just stood in the middle of the cafeteria with no idea what to do or where to go.

That’s when I saw the plaque, a large, shiny black square hung up on a pillar in the center of the room. It was the only real physical change to this part of the school, and I almost hadn’t noticed it. I took a few steps forward, looking up at it, and wishing I had the strength not to.

The plaque was engraved with their names. All nine victims, listed in alphabetical order. I took them in one at a time, even though I already knew them by heart.

Kevin Brantley
Brenna DuVal
Jared Grayson
Rosi Martinez
Sarah McHale
Richard McMullen
Thomas Nolan
Aiden Stroud
Essie Taylor

And beneath their names was a quote from Emily Dickinson:

“Unable are the loved to die, for love is immortality.”

I hated that quote, because it was a lie. Even if love were immortality, I couldn’t help thinking that eventually everyone who loved you would be dead, too. And then what did any of it matter? It didn’t. Quotes like those were just there to make the living feel better. Another way to help us ignore the fact that oblivion was inevitable.

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