Leanne “Lee” Bauer is ready to set the record straight. It has been three years since her high school’s mass shooting led to the deaths of 9 students (10 if you count the shooter himself) and 2 teachers. The shooting also left one student paralyzed and the others severely traumatized. Lee was in the bathroom holding hands with her best friend, Sarah, as the shooter aimed and fired at Sarah. Everyone believes that Sarah died while proclaiming her religious faith, but only Lee and one other survivor know the truth of what really happened in the bathroom that day.
When Sarah’s family decides to publish a book about their daughter and the massacre, Lee decides it’s time to reveal what actually happened, because all of the survivors deserve to have a voice.
Keplinger (The Duff) pens an extremely powerful, mind-blowing and chilling account of what it is like to be on the inside of a high school shooting and how details and facts can become misconstrued as a result of trauma. In chapters that deserve a trigger warning, Lee and the other survivors recount the massacre as they experienced it. Featuring a cast of diverse characters, and unique narration that includes poetry and letters, Keplinger shows she’s up to snuff with this heavy hitting that is unfortunately trending. Reminiscent of Marieke Nijkamp’s This Is Where It Ends (2016), this novel would make an excellent springboard for parents or teachers who want to open a discussion about gun violence with their teens.