She Said Yes: The Unlikely Martyrdom of Cassie Bernall

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9781567407105: She Said Yes: The Unlikely Martyrdom of Cassie Bernall
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On the morning of April 20, 1999 Cassie Bernall, a 17-year-old junior at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, was a typical teenager having a typical day. What nobody knew was that by the end of the day, two of her classmates would storm the school, guns blazing, and kill as many people as they could. Confronted by her killers, Cassie had been asked, "Do you believe in God?" and she had answered "Yes." With that single word, a brave young woman who stood firm in the face of death was catapulted into the consciousness of the entire nation. In concentrating on Cassie's exchange with the gunmen who killed her, people have been quick to call her a martyr. In a way, this is not surprising. It is only natural to to try to forge meaning from the wreckage of a senseless tragedy. But, by focusing on that one final, decisive moment, the complexities of the far more remarkable story behind it have been left untold. Until now. In She Said Yes, Cassie's mother has broken her silence to reveal the dramatic journey of a daughter who was, at one point, traveling down a troubled path very similar to that of her killers. It's a story of growing up in the 90s, of peer pressure, adolescent turmoil, and the tough choices parents make. It's also a story of maternal loss - of nightmares and fears, of dreams and hopes dashed by the cruel realities of death at an early age. But in the end, it's a story of redemption more enduring than the massacre that cut it short.

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In the aftermath of the Columbine High School tragedy, a story came out about Cassie Bernall, a young woman who allegedly professed her belief in God in the moments before she was shot dead. Hailed a modern-day martyr by Christian groups and the media, detectives revealed months later that she may never have had such an exchange with her killer. Bernall's parents responded to the news with a statement:

"Our intent was to share Cassie's story in an effort to encourage parents and teenagers. If any of our actions have hurt or offended anyone, we sincerely apologize."

In She Said Yes, a moving memoir written by Cassie's mother, Misty Bernall, we meet the real Cassie, a typical adolescent who struggles with peer pressure and her relationship with her parents. Once headed down the common teenage path of self-loathing and depression, Cassie turned her life around through her faith and the support of a group of people who helped her find peace and purpose--her youth group at church. Though Cassie was far from the perfect child, She Said Yes tells the story of how Cassie's faith gave her the strength to overcome the obstacles she faced in her young life. Regardless of what happened at Columbine, She Said Yes is a moving tribute to an extraordinary young woman and a lesson for both parents and teenagers alike.

From the Back Cover:

"One of the most gripping stories to come out of the shooting at Columbine High School"* is told in the acclaimed national bestseller that illuminates the most remarkable aspect of 17-year-old Cassie Bernall's tragic death: her life.

she said yes is an "intense and fascinating memoir" (*Publishers Weekly) of an ordinary teenager growing up in suburban Colorado, and faced -- as all teenagers are -- with difficult choices and pressures. It is only now, when the world knows Cassie Bernall as one of the Columbine High students killed by two rampaging schoolmates, that the choices she made offer a profound relevance for us all. Once a rage-filled young woman who walked a path similar to that of her killers, Cassie found a way out of her personal snares and, through her faith and a family's love, chose to embrace life with courage and conviction.

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