Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “That's Not What Happened” as Want to Read:
That's Not What Happened
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

That's Not What Happened

3.82  ·  Rating details ·  5,352 ratings  ·  862 reviews
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 par
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published August 28th 2018 by Scholastic Press
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about That's Not What Happened, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Erica It bothered me as well. I wish the main conflict had been more generic -- like a person hailed as a hero who was not a hero. By tackling the Christian…moreIt bothered me as well. I wish the main conflict had been more generic -- like a person hailed as a hero who was not a hero. By tackling the Christian narrative, it seems to throw a little shade at Cassie's family. And also troubling is that this book was being written while people were attacking Rachel's family for making a movie about her. People who didn't even know them. So that makes this book feel kinda ironic. I don't think the author had malicious intent, but I had to really distance myself from the true story to enjoy this book because it did really bother me.(less)
Erica Actually, there was a living witness to Rachel's death. I believe it's likely she did die professing her faith. But either way, the most important thi…moreActually, there was a living witness to Rachel's death. I believe it's likely she did die professing her faith. But either way, the most important thing is how Cassie and Rachel lived. They said "yes" through their actions.

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.82  · 
Rating details
 ·  5,352 ratings  ·  862 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of That's Not What Happened
jv poore
Huge thanks to the student that added this on Goodreads!

Having donated other Keplinger books to their classroom library, I was particularly excited to see this on a To-Read shelf, so I quickly ordered a copy to donate. When it arrived, I realized I really needed to read it. Right now, before it even made it to the classroom. And it was amazing and awe-inspiring and thought-provoking and I cannot wait to hear students' thoughts.
Jul 05, 2018 rated it it was ok

“Sometimes it’s okay to believe things that aren’t true. Sometimes it’s necessary.”

I have been a Kody Keplinger fan since The DUFF, which still finds its way into my re-read rotation. Ms. Keplinger’s characters, banter, intelligence, and strong messages that tie right into current events and moods make her one of my favorite voices. But That’s Not What Happened did not work for me.

Three years ago, 6 teenagers survived a school shooting at Virgil County High School. This is their story. Their tru
Inspired by the story of Cassie Bernall after Columbine, Keplinger's book is a story about who controls the narrative in the aftermath of tragedy. It's a searing exploration of voice: who has it and who has it taken from them.

Lee -- who is asexual -- begins the story three years after a surviving a school shooting. It's just her and five others, though only four others are still around. One of them, Kellie, left town before the school reopened following the tragedy. Kellie, however, will end th
Nov 11, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really liked the concept of this and thought the author did an excellent job of focusing on the victims and not the shooter.
The fact that she blurred the name of the shooter in particular was a great move.

I read this very quickly and did enjoy it however overall it was pretty middle of the road for me.
Elle (TheBookishActress)
Mar 10, 2018 marked it as zzzzz-coverporn-etc
I didn't even KNOW Kody Keplinger had a new book releasing holy shit
Ryan Buckby
Jan 15, 2019 rated it liked it
actual rating: 3.5/5 stars

This book was very heavy and is very relevant to whats happening this days in America which is sad and i have a feeling more books like this will be coming up more.

Plot: this book follows six teenagers who all survived a school shooting that happened three years prior to this book starting. We follow the lives of Leanne *lee*, Ashley, Eden, Miles, Denny and Kellie as they try continue their lives after all living through this terrible incident. So books likes this
Sep 02, 2018 rated it it was ok
this really lacked depth honestly

review to come

This was an okay read. Yes, yes, call me cold-hearted for not enjoying a book about the aftermath of a school shooting. The thing is, while the situation itself is very traumatic, the writing didn't make me care about the characters, or what happened to them. To be honest, not even the mistery around the shooter's identity gripped me. Also, I was led to believe the secret that Lee was going to reveal would be much bigger.
Fafa's Book Corner
Mini review:


Trigger Warning: Trauma from school shooting. Up till the point I read.

I am a huge fan of Kody Keplinger! When I heard about this book I was so psyched. Unfortunately I didn't enjoy it.

Upon starting the book I realized that the story wasn't for me. I did some skimming and couldn't connect to any off the characters. After that I lost interest in the book.

I do still recommend. I think this book is really important. Just wasn't for me.
I liked the approach of this a lot - viewing a school shooting years later to pull apart the truths of it - and the fact that there was this whole friend group created with a unique bond as a result. It was definitely a fast read, too. For me, what didn't work quite as well, which I wanna discuss not to criticize the book (which I quite liked, by the way) but because I think it's an interesting discussion, is the span of time between Sarah's death and the book shopping that's the catalyst for Le ...more
Brooke — brooklynnnnereads
Sep 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars

First, before I get into my thoughts on such an intense and powerful read, I have to put a disclaimer out there. As stated, this book is an intense and difficult read containing many triggers that necessitate a trigger warning. Some of these warnings are around topics such as: PTSD, Depression, Anxiety, Drug and Alcohol Abuse, and Gun Violence. This list of warnings are just a brief list of some of the topics involved in this novel and if you are concerned with reading this book, I sugg
Katerina Kondrenko
10 out of 10

The author tells a simple story with simple words but nails it. I can understand each character, but as Kelly said not everyone deserves to be forgiven. And the shooter brought less negative feelings than some citizens. I think shooting concept is not the easiest to base your book upon, though Keplinger did it great. The story seems natural, very emotional read.
Sep 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Very interesting look at the truth behind a school shooting. Not at the shooter, whose name is never printed and whose motivations are never listed- because it's not about him. (I really liked that.) Instead, this is about the truth of the survivors: how they're doing months/years later. What they were doing at the time of the shooting. And how the truth about the victims gets skewed to fit the hero narrative. Some of the kids who died were jerks. One of the teachers was really great, but told t ...more
Kate (beautifulbookland)
What a book.

This is one of those books that I’m going to shove in every single person’s face because YOU HAVE TO READ IT. It’s a book that, like I Am Thunder, is so relevant to today’s world that everybody should read it. It’s completely heartbreaking, and I’m not lying when I say that I had a box tissues next to me, but I absolutely loved it.

What it’s About

Three years ago, Lee’s best friend, Sarah, was killed in the Virgil County High School mass shooting. Three years since Sarah died proclaim
Sara (A Gingerly Review)
Aug 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018, physical-2018



I need a moment to let that all sink in. Plus, a warm blanket, a big plate of comfort food, a hug, and a kitty to purr for me.

Sweet Christmas that was intense, powerful, and necessary.


Full review can be found here:

This is one of those books that while it is very difficult to get through because of the topic, it is still needed and necessary.

Short recap: Lee and five other students survived a horrific school massacre. Every year on the an
Trigger warnings: school shooting, death of a friend, blood, violence, gun violence, mental health, PTSD, bullying.

Wow. This book was definitely harder hitting than I expected from Kody Keplinger. It's about the six survivors of a school shooting and the various ways in which it's changed their lives. Leanne's best friend died in her arms that day and she's struggling with the way that Sarah has been turned into a martyr by her parents, her church, and the town as a whole. So she persuades the o
Aug 24, 2018 rated it liked it
Do you remember the story of Cassie Bernall? I bet you do - she is the girl of "she said yes" fame, who was gunned down during the Columbine shooting but is more well-known for professing her devotion to God right before her death. While Columbine is now almost 20 years behind us, school shootings are more prevalent than ever, and the stakes continue to climb as gun control legislature is fought over tooth and nail by the US government.

Keplinger's book is quite timely, right in the face of all t
Jul 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
There seem to be quite a few books about school shootings at the moment but this is probably the first one I've been tempted to read. It's such a difficult topic and I really didn't want to read a book that was going to deal with such a heavy or emotionally charged subject. This however appealed to me firstly because of the author but mostly because this book focuses on the survivors and how they're coping (or not) three years down the line.

Mass shootings and gun control are very topical at the
Lily Humphrey
Jun 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
"That's not what Happened" by: Kody Keplinger is about a Junior named Leanne at Virgil County High School. Virgil County High School is best known for the mass shooting that happened there 3 years ago, where Leanne's best friend Sarah was shot and murdered in the bathroom of the school. Leanne was with her when it happened, she is one of the 6 survivors left that saw what happened. She saw what happened to Sarah, and it's haunted her for 3 years, she can't ever stop thinking about it no matter h ...more
May 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
I could not put this book down. Going to be one of those books published at the right time, what with the school shootings in America. This book takes a look at the survivor stories and what they have to go through, even 3 years later. A fab read!
Avery (Book Deviant)
Oct 16, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: dnf
DNF @ 185
I didn't know what this was about when I picked it up, but I regret everything. bad characters, iffy plot, boring structure, and the only good thing was the accurate ace rep. otherwise it was bad.
I liked this one for many reasons: First and foremost because of its main topic - the aftermath of a school shooting (more on that in the last paragraph) -, but also because of other issues tackled plus the execution of it all.

The story is told by Lee, a girl who survived a school shooting and now tries to do (her kind of) justice by helping the truth surrounding the event and what happened afterwards come to light (the blurb gives more info, basically one of the victims got wrongfully martyred
Gary Anderson
Dec 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Sadly, there is now a YA genre of school shooting books. Kody Keplinger’s That’s Not What Happened is an important addition to that tragic collection. Lee Bauer, Keplinger’s narrator, is a survivor who held the hand of her best friend Sarah as she was shot to death in a school bathroom. The shooter killed eight others, but his motives are consciously downplayed in That’s Not What Happened. The focus instead is on what happens to the truth after the shooting. Sarah’s parents are publishing a book ...more
I received an ARC of this at BookCon. I almost didn't read it, because the subject felt so heavy, and not like my normal taste in books. But I like Kody Keplinger, and figured I'd give it a try.

1) It's not even really about "a school shooting." It's about what happens to a group of people, how they all react, when they've been directly or indirectly affected by a tragedy. The tragedy happens to be a school shooting, which looks a little bit like ones we've all heard about, but comes from real re
Cesar Leon
Jul 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book felt so real story because of Kory Keplinger style of write feel so credible.

Three things you need to know about this book:

- Kody is not afraid to cross some lines I think writers never try to cross in YA books

-The characters are so complex make you think everyone is a Real person.

-The most amazing thing about this books is Social criticism we have heard not need to be about the meaning thing of the book for me so strong and important to society.
Jul 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Michelle (Pink Polka Dot Books)
Complicated feelings. I didn't realize this was a Cassie Bernall of Columbine retelling & that felt sort of unoriginal. Also, I didn't like the characters or the way this book felt almost scared to say anything at all. I'd probably give it 2.5 stars if I'm being honest. ...more
Shannon Dyer
Jan 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018, ya
Round up to 4.5 stars. Such an intense and insightful read!
3 1/2

Major Triggers for School Shooting

3 years on from a school shooting that left 9 dead, the one that stuck in everyone's mind's is The Girl. The Girl With The Cross. The one that died defending her belief. But Lee know's this isn't true. She and the other survivor's must find a way to continue on, knowing that the way their lives were depicted weren't true. Or instead, maybe they should tell there story. The side of the story that no one knows - or wants to know - the truth.

This story does
L.E. Fidler
uggghhhhhh. guys.

i am SO torn on this one.

there's a 67% chance after writing this review that the star rating changes, so bear with me here, please.

for old timey sake, let's bring back the list-y rant, shall we?

(spoiler: we shall.)

throwing away your shot:

1. six lifetime movies' worth of material here: okay, SO. i teach high school and i understand many perceptible truths about my students (largely, that they are more inclusive and compassionate than many adults might give them credit for and tha
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
That's Not What Happened 1 7 Dec 10, 2019 06:58PM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • This Lie Will Kill You
  • One of Us Is Next (One of Us Is Lying, #2)
  • Two Can Keep a Secret
  • How She Died, How I Lived
  • Good Girl, Bad Blood (A Good Girl's Guide to Murder, #2)
  • A Good Girl's Guide to Murder (A Good Girl's Guide to Murder, #1)
  • The Cheerleaders
  • A Danger to Herself and Others
  • All Your Twisted Secrets
  • Hearts Unbroken
  • Broken Things
  • Rated
  • People Kill People
  • This Is Where It Ends
  • Hate List
  • #Murdertrending (MurderTrending, #1)
  • Monday's Not Coming
  • Tell Me Everything
See similar books…
I'm a 19-year-old college student and young adult author. My first book, THE DUFF, debuted on September 7, 2010. I write books for teenagers and strive to be honest and true-to-life. For more info, check out my website.

Related Articles

Need another excuse to treat yourself to a new book this week? We've got you covered with the buzziest new releases of the day. To create our lis...
27 likes · 15 comments
“Sometimes it’s okay to believe things that aren’t true. Sometimes it’s necessary.” 0 likes
More quotes…