She Said Yes: The Unlikely Martyrdom of Cassie Bernall

She Said Yes: The Unlikely Martyrdom of Cassie Bernall

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The Christian inspirational national bestseller that Publishers Weekly called “intense and fascinating” about the life of Cassie Bernall, a seventeen-year-old teenager who professed her belief in God before being fatally shot during the Columbine school shooting tragedy—written by her mother.

"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.
Told with unflinching honesty by her mother, Misty Bernall, Cassie's story is "a profoundly human story that should be read by every parent and every teenager" (New York Post).

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780743400527
Publisher: Pocket Books
Publication date: 09/01/2000
Pages: 192
Sales rank: 121,404
Product dimensions: 4.18(w) x 6.75(h) x 0.50(d)

About the Author

Misty Bernall is the mother of Cassie Bernall, a victim of the Columbine high school shooting. She lives in Littleton with her husband.

Read an Excerpt

from Chapter 7 — Dying We Live

Within a day of the shooting at Columbine High, the story of Cassie's exchange with the boys who killed her was making headlines across the nation, and by the next day, people began calling her the "martyr of Littleton." At first I wasn't too sure what to make of it. Cassie is my daughter, I thought. You can't turn her into a Joan of Arc.

I'm not belittling her bravery. I'm profoundly proud of her for refusing to cave in, and for saying yes to her killers, and I always will be. She had principles and morals, and she was not ashamed of them, even though it must have taken all the courage she could muster to hold fast. When I first heard what she had done, I looked at Brad, and I wondered, "Would I have done that?" I might have begged for my life. Cassie didn't. She may have been seventeen, but she's a far stronger woman than I'll ever be.

Still, she would hate to be held up as a shining example or singled out for praise. In any case, she was not the only one to pay for taking a stand that day at the high school...In one classroom, a teacher pulled out light bulbs to darken the room and trick the shooters into thinking it was empty. One boy threw himself on top of his sister to protect her from the gunfire and take the bullets himself. Another grabbed a bomb and tossed it clear of a group of fellow students, even though he was wounded. Dave Sanders, a teacher, stood in a hallway as the gunmen approached, blocking oncoming students and urging them to run the other way to safety. Minutes later he was shot, and by the time a rescue squad got to him, he had bled to death.

To lift up Cassie as a martyr, then, is unnecessary. It won't change the facts of her life. For Brad and me it is enough to know that, whatever the reason, Cassie stood up for what she believed. It is enough to know that at an age when image means everything, she was not ashamed to make a stand or afraid to say what she thought.

Copyright © 1999 by Misty Bernall

Table of Contents


introduction to the paperback edition


1. tuesday

2. daddy's girl

3. murder, she wrote

4. home front

5. u-turn

6. the trials of love

7. dying we live

8. reflections


What People are Saying About This

Johann Christoph Arnold

She Said Yes is gripping, challenging, and encouraging. Gripping, because of the drama. Challenging, because it reminds us how important it is to live each day as if it were our last. Encouraging, because it shows that even the most strained family relationship can be saved by love. (Johann Christoph Arnold, author, Seeking Peace)

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She Said Yes : The Unlikely Martyrdom of Cassie Bernall 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 217 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
While a touching story, this book is based on an incident that never occurred. Written mere months after the massacre, while investigators were still trying to make sense of it all and very little was being released to families and the media, an account of Bernall's martyrdom spun out of control. Further investigation definitively proved the account was incorrect. This story of inspiration never happened, and only further led to a gross misunderstanding of what occurred at Columbine.
mourne More than 1 year ago
I am sorry for the mother of this girl that she had such a grievous loss, however, the entire premise of this book is based on a media-hype lie. Read Dave Cullin's book, Columbine, for the the most factual accounts of the entire incident. The killings had nothing to do with anti-God killers, and Cassie never said "yes," or was asked any questions by Eric Harris or Dylan Klebold.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
After reading Dave Cullen's book, "Columbine" you will realize that the incident with Cassie never happened. The poor girl never had the time to speak to Eric Harris, as he shot her in the head before she had time to speak to him. The events that led to Csssie's death are horrible, but the "She said yes," myth needs to be once and for all put aside - it did not happen, so the basic premise of this book is not factual.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This year, "Columbine" by Dave Cullen was released providing a final overarching account of the shootings at Columbine High. In part of this book, it explores the myth of Cassie Bernall's "martyrdom." Multiple witness testimonies and 911 tapes corroborate the story that Cassie didn't say "Yes" was not asked about her belief in God. If anything this book should be called "He said 'peekaboo.'" What's more tragic is the account of another girl who WAS asked, Valeen Schnurr, was decried by Cassie fans as being a copycat. Skip this book, if anything read it to see how no one should read too much into what their teen is doing, since Cassie was involved in writing letters that sound remarkably similar to those that Eric Harris and Dylan Kleibold wrote. This violent act was a tragedy, but the Evangelical push to use it to their movement's gain was shameless at best. The real story has enough inspirational deeds and messages; skip this false account of martyrdom.
Diasaah More than 1 year ago
I remember getting this book as birthday gift when I was 12 or 13, as the shootings occurred near my birthday (April 17) and initially I was moved by the book; little did I know it was a fabrication. But honestly, when I was that young, everything I knew about the Columbine tragedy was misconstrued by the media's false doings; I didn't know what REALLY happened. But now, I'm nearly 21, I'm doing a research paper on Columbine and I'm discovering what really happened. Yes, it's a tragedy that she died but why base a book on a complete fabricated LIE. She never said yes and she wasn't sitting in the library, but hiding underneath the tables. Also, as another reviewer mentioned, another girl (Valeen) said yes and wasn't killed. Harris and Klebold didn't kill her because she was christian, they simply killed her b/c she they felt like killing anybody that day; she was just one of their innocent victims. I find it utterly disgusting that her parents capitalized on her death based on a lie. Cassie was an innocent victim, NOT a martyr. I recommend reading any work by Dave Cullen, who was a reporter the day the incident occurred. He also has a new book coming out called 'Columbine.' I can't wait to read it to finally discover the REAL truth.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Like the Rachel Scott book, this incident is based on events that witnesses don't claim actually happened. the exchange between the gunmen and Bernall is claimed to have happened only by students who weren't in the library and didn't actually witness it take place themselves. It is disturbing how the Christian movement latched onto these two girls deaths and the fabricated events surrounding their murders. While their deaths were tragic what is more tragic is how they have been propped up and used as poster children for the "paranoia" of the Christian community about being persecuted for their religion.
Stelzon More than 1 year ago
Not really sure why this book got so many low reviews... I thought this book was a great summer read. It was easy to read and the story was actually pretty incredible. As you read along you sort of grow attached to Cassie's mom and you can, in a way, feel all the pain and struggles that she goes through with Cassie's death. there's a bunch of things in this book that I was able to relate my friends with at school. The Columbine shooting was a real event that happened. I can't completely say it was an anti-God shooting, but its easy to believe that before Cassie's death she was definitely experiencing some spiritual warfare. If you're into religion, you're gonna enjoy this book very much. If you aren't, well, you'll still enjoy the book, but I'm sure you're gonna ask yourself a bunch of questions while reading along.
kaitlin_m_c More than 1 year ago
In the book "She Said Yes" by Misty Bernall, she tells the story of her daughter. Throughout the book, Misty talks about her daughter Cassie. Although you find out Cassie was a victim of the columbine shooting, you also find out that she like any other normal teenage girl. This book is telling a story of high school girl that goes through many challenges and many problems. As you read you find out many horrific things Cassie has done such as writing letters to a friend on how to kill her (Cassies') parents. Once her mother finds the letters everything seems to go downhill. Cassie led a normal up until she met a girl named Mona. Mona seemed to be a problem that led Cassie into doing bad things. Her parents were concerned when they found the letters because they had drawings of them dead. As Misty read the letters, they became more detailed and she was scared for her life. Thinking the best thing for her daughter was to put her in a private school, but things got worse. Reading this book changed my perspective on things but mostly this passage, "I couldn't see anything when those guys came up to Cassie, but I could recognize her voice. I could hear everything like it was right next to me. One of them asked her if she believed in God. She paused, like she didn't know what to answer, and then said yes. She must have been scared, but her voice didn't sound shaky. It was strong. Then they asked her why, though they didn't give her a chance to respond. They just blew her away." This was josh a boy that was near Cassie at the time of her death. What I liked about this book was that Misty had the strength to relive this tragic time in her life and how much she told about her daughter's life. Someone should read this book because it can change your perspective on faith and how you treat others around you.
wrenkin on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Terrible: one of the worst books I've ever read. It was given to me, free of charge, when I was in New York and while I sympathize with the mother's loss I don't think she can write. I also don't buy into the characterization of her daughter who, while the victim of a horrible crime, was apparently less a martyr than a normal teenager faced with a paranoid mother's efforts at indoctrination. Given her reactionary behaviour I don't trust the mother to tell me what Cassie was really like.
murphh on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a true story writen bythe mother of a girl killed in the Columbine school shootings. It talks about what occured previously on in Cassie's life that could have been better, and it talks about what actually went on inside the school where Cassie and more then a dozen other teens were killed.
deargreenplace on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a memoir written by the mother of one of the teenagers killed in the Columbine High School shootings.I'm wary of being too honest in my review of this book because of the sensitivity of the subject matter, and the obvious grief that the author and her family suffered after the loss of their daughter. This review should not be read as a judgment on the Bernalls' parenting skills - it is simply my opinion based on what's written in the book, and nothing more.While Mrs Bernall has bravely outlined her struggles with her teenage daughter Cassie prior to April 1999, it seems to me that Cassie had an extremely difficult adolescence, largely because of her parents' excessive attempts to control her behaviour. As a mildly rebellious teenager myself, Cassie didn't sound to me as though she was very different from most teenagers - experimenting with drugs and the occult, dressing "alternatively", making friends with people that parents don't approve of, staying out late and so on. The turning point for Cassie's mother appeared to be when she was going through her daughter's drawers to look for something (a teen bible), and discovered a batch of letters in which Cassie and her friend appeared to be discussing how to murder their parents. Cassie's parents reacted by giving copies of the letters to the local Sheriff, telling their pastor, and getting a restraining order stopping Cassie from being anywhere near her best friend. Mrs Bernall searched her daughter's backpack daily, removed her from the local high school and put her in a Christian Fellowship school, and did not allow her to go anywhere other than the church youth group. They moved house to get away from Cassie's old friends, who were trying to maintain contact with her. Mrs Bernall also looked through her daughter's notebooks and CDs, and makes reference to finding Marilyn Manson CDs with "negative" messages. By her mother's own admission, Cassie already had self-esteem issues and was self-harming. I am not a mother, but I have been a teenager, and I would not have reacted well to being treated like this. Adolescence is a difficult time when hormones affect our thoughts and behaviour - how many times have you heard a teenager say "I wish you were dead" or "I wish I was dead" to a parent? It happens, and it doesn't make young people inherently evil. Nor does suffering from depression or using sub-cultures as something to identify with and a way of expressing themselves. I find it really difficult to understand how young people can suddenly become ultra-religious, and to be honest this type of indoctrination gives me the creeps, but then I don't have first-hand experience of small-town American culture - from what I've seen the church movement manages to ensnare a lot of impressionable young people. I was brought up Roman Catholic, and by the time I was 12 I had started to question things and decide that it just wasn't something I believed in. I found other interests and didn't stop behaving in a christian (small c) way just because I had stopped believing in organised religion.The author vetted Columbine High School for her daughter by "talking to parents and looking at the students." Looking at them? Throughout the book Mrs Bernall does not hide her tendency to judge people by how they look, or to justify her fear of alternative-looking young people. It's unfortunate that Harris & Klebold had precisely the appearance that she was hoping to protect her daughter from, but clearly they were also damaged young people. Their preference to wear black clothes was a symptom of their emotional state, not the root cause of their behaviour. I suppose what saddened me about this account was the way that being Christian with a big C was felt to be Cassie's only way to "redemption", the irony being that she was purportedly shot by Eric Harris & Dylan Klebold for confirming her belief in God. Only one witness substantiates this claim, but I suppose thinking of their daughter
LinkBDD123 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book change the way that I saw the "accident" at Columbine and Cassie's life. It's a shame what she went through untill 2 years before her death! I thought she was just another Christian that died for thier faith, but I was completely wrong!!!!
DF6B_MeaghanG on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
At Columbine High School things were pretty messed up. Two students brought guns, bombs and other dangerous weapons to school. While hiding under a table in the library, Cassie Bernal was approached by one of the gunmen. He held a gun to her head and asked her if she believed in God. She simply replied "yes". This book tells about Cassies life leading upto the shooting and her families life following the shooting. I did not enjoy this book as much as i though i would but its a quick and easy read.
MissReadsALot on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I thought the story was really hard to follow, but this read for a biography, exspecially as an AR test. Me and my friends that read the book thought Cassie was really scary-like and that we that we sorda believed her. All of us thought was just okay.
countrylife on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Thought provoking story of one of the victims of the Columbine school massacre, of her rebellious life, recently turned around, then abruptly cut short. Her mother bares her heart in the sad, yet ultimately triumphant story of her daughter¿s life. An excellent memoir for any young adult to read.
Hawkfire on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
it was sad, but great
sarley on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book is inspirational to any age. This book is based on a girl who stood up for what she believes in. She got shot for saying "Yes" she believes in God. I believe every student should read this book. It allows every student to understand how important it is to stand up for what you believe. I chose this book based on inspiration. It sends every student in the right direction in standing up for what they believe.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Let me start by first saying that in no way do I blame Cassie for the lies and in no way do I think she should be dead. I'm truly sorry she was killed. However. This book is a lie. At least her saying yes is. I think it is sick that people made up stuff during the columbine the whole thing was tragic and unreal on its own without people adding false statements to it. There was already so much confusion so much "why" that for people to go and spread rumors makes it even more confusing. I strongly home that Misty Bernall didn't know that Cassie never said yes when she wrote this or else she is guilty of using her child's death to gain fame. I do not recommend this book based on two things. 1. it was a lie.. and 2. I personally feel her mother made her look bad for the entire first half of the book. Let the girl rest in peace and stop spreading rumors.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Cassie91 More than 1 year ago
She said Yes: The unlikely martyrdom of Cassie Bernall is a great book! It tells about a high school student who was asked the question "Do you belive in God?" after a moment pause she answered yes. Most people would think if a person would stand up for their faith, even if it meant dying, they had been brought up in a strong religious home. Cassie was not brought up in a strong religious home. She had pledged herself to Satin, her and her friend talked about killing, but with the help of her parents she found her way back to God. I think this book was a great way to tell Cassie's life, struggle, and death. It also had other people's views, and thoughts about Cassie and what was happening in her life.
Kaylasn More than 1 year ago
Most of us go through life never stopping to think of the possibility that the next thing we do or the next place we go could be the end of our life. That was surely the farthest thing from the mind of 17-year-old Cassie Bernall when she walked into the library of Columbine High School on April 20th. When Eric and Dylan asked her if she believed in God, she said yes, and was punished for it. She Said Yes is the biography of Colombine Massacre victim Cassie Bernall, told with complete truth by her mother, Misty Bernall. It tells of her life from the time she was a little girl playing hide and seek with her dad, to when she began down a dark path similar to the one of her killers, to the months following her death. Narrated primarily by her mother, the book includes pieces of letters to and from Cassie, and inputs from friends, family, and the people who saw her during her last moments. I really enjoyed reading this book because it told of how drastically Cassie turned her life around, it wasn't the typical fairytale most moms would write about their daughters. It gave a new perspective to what the world knows as the Columbine Massacre, which prior to this book was primarily the facts, not the true feelings of the tragedy. The only thing I didn't like about this book was the almost preachy feeling of the book in some parts. It talks a lot about how Cassie's life changed when she joined her church. In an aspect, it seemed almost made up. Cassie went on a church retreat as one person, and returned 3 days later as a totally different person, I personally find it hard to believe that this dramatic change happened so suddenly. The major theme, in my opinion, is love. It tells a lot about how much Misty loves her daughter through everything they were put through. I believe everyone should read this book. Moms should read it because Misty Bernall sets a great example about how to deal with your daughter after she goes down such a dark, rebellious road. Teens should read it because it shows how much parents love their children through thick and thin, and that is important for kids to understand. It has a great message to all age groups about being thankful for the lives they have and gives a new point of view to the well-known high school shooting.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
She Said Yes by Misty Bernall is a book that makes you a different person. As you read it, you evaluate who you are as a person and you learn things about yourself. It makes you dig deeper and really search yourself to answer the question, would I say yes? Cassie Bernall was like many teenagers who at an early age began to rebel. After her parents found letters she had written, they tried to pull her back in, but it was difficult. Then, after transferring between schools, Cassie met Jamie who helped her find her faith again. Cassie found new friends, made up with her parents, and her faith grew until the shooting at Columbine when she was killed for saying that she believed in God. After that, her parents decided to write this book to give others hope in their life. A major theme is lessons that can be learned. Cassie made many mistakes as a teenager. Teenagers can relate to so much of what she went through. This book will help them realize that it is never too late to turn around and change who you are. Cassie's mom admits that as parents, they made mistakes and this can help parents learn. They talk about how sometimes they wanted Cassie to act a certain way so that it reflected well on them as parents, but after Cassie's death, they learned that you have to let kids be themselves. This book can give parents hope that even if their child is going astray, they might come back. I really enjoyed the excerpts from Cassie's journal and notes. They had sections in there of things that Cassie's friends and family said. It is also a book that makes you think about yourself and it makes you think about the ways you are acting. I also liked how they had the Columbine shooting at the beginning of the book. This helped the reader understand how strong of a Christian Cassie was, and then her mom went back in time to talk about the time when Cassie was not living for God and when she was not interested in God. This book did get a little boring for me. The fact that it was only about five years of one person's life and that the book was over 150 pages made it a little boring and long. Also, some things I thought were repeated too much. I think people should read this book. Not only did it give people a different perspective of the Columbine shooting, but it also tells the life of a teenage girl who was on the wrong path but suddenly flipped around and got on the right path. It gives a reader hope and really touches you. Two other books I strongly recommend are One Tuesday Morning and Beyond Tuesday Morning by Karen Kingsbury. They are also life changing. They tell about two families whose lives were changed by September 11.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago