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

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  8,226 ratings  ·  1,158 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)
Ashley Reyes Well it's about how Cassie didn't die professing her beliefs but a girl name Valerie did instead, but she did after being shot, showing how media and …moreWell it's about how Cassie didn't die professing her beliefs but a girl name Valerie did instead, but she did after being shot, showing how media and rumor can change the truth into a narrative.(less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.81  · 
Rating details
 ·  8,226 ratings  ·  1,158 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.

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.
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
Elle (ellexamines)
Mar 10, 2018 marked it as zzzzz-coverporn-etc
I didn't even KNOW Kody Keplinger had a new book releasing holy shit ...more
Sep 02, 2018 rated it it was ok
this really lacked depth honestly

review to come
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
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
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.


Книга о стрельбе в школе, о выживших, погибших, о последствиях. Написана очень здорово! Причем я долго не могла повер
A place called Bookland
Feb 21, 2021 rated it did not like it
Shelves: read-in-2021, dnf
OK so basically... Starting off... I DNFed this 😫

Rating: 1.25

I kinda read 55% bc I was I te rested and stuff and I thought the book was gonna get better... It didn't. I really had high hopes... Didn't reach my standards.

Anyways... Imma do a rant review of how much this book bored me... Won't be long... But it will be there... Soon

Moving on...the characters. Couldn't be more careless...

Moving on... The plot... Didn't see where it was going... Couldn't be more careless.

Moving on...i skilled to the
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
Stephanie Fitzgerald
Jan 01, 2021 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: High school age readers
A very thought-provoking read.
What if you knew the absolute truth about a tragedy, a different story than the one everyone else believes? You know that revealing the truth will reopen old wounds, and possibly cost you some dear friendships. This is the situation that Lee, one of six people who survived a shooting at their high school, finds herself to be in three years later.
I read this in one sitting, because I couldn’t put it down.The pain of everyone involved was so aptly drawn, I kept wond
Jan 01, 2021 rated it liked it
more disturbing than I thought it would be. It really dived into the horrors of surviving a school shooting. It does go into detail of the event which is going to give me nightmares tonight but I liked how much detail it went into!
Truly a disturbing read and it makes my heart hurt for all victims who have been killed and had their life cut short while at a place they felt safe at.

I didn't like some characters, they kind of took me out of the story a bit. I didn't like all the coincidences, it
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
Sara (A Gingerly Review)
Aug 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: physical-2018, 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
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
Sep 24, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2018
Sometimes it’s okay to believe things that aren’t true. Sometimes it’s necessary. At least, that’s what I told myself.

The main character of this book is so vehemently unlikeable it seems almost intentional. The whole plot of the story is that Leanne (Lee) and five other kids survived a school shooting three years ago. Lee (and most the others) are still dealing with survivors guilt, PTSD, anxiety, and unhealthy coping mechanisms. This part felt pretty realistic, I liked the way she incorporated
PinkAmy loves books, cats and naps

Who are we? To ourselves, to others. Are we whom we know ourselves to be, or are we the narratives people envision us to be?

THAT’S NOT WHAT HAPPENED examines a school shooting three years afterward from the perspective of Leanne and five other survivors of that fateful Ides of March. Lee knows the story that her best friend Sarah died proclaiming her love for god is false, paralleling the false narrative of Columbine victim Cassie Bernall, who people also falsely believed she died beca
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
Oct 18, 2018 rated it did not like it
I bought this in the airport because I like Kody Keplinger, but didn't like the book at all. I was kind of sceptical about the subject, but decided to give it a chance. Well, it was a miss.

The writing was fine, kind of dull and repetitive at times, but the characters fell flat. Despite learning a lot about the characters, they never felt real. All of it felt like the author was just trying to add as many diverse characters as possible just for the sake of being diverse. The main character's ase
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
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
That's Not What Happened 1 14 Dec 10, 2019 06:58PM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • Remember Me Always
  • The Fix
  • The Liar's Daughter
  • This Is Not the End
  • All Eyes on Us
  • To Catch a Killer (Erin Blake #1)
  • Hearts Unbroken
  • Shutter
  • This Is Where It Ends
  • How She Died, How I Lived
  • Love, Lucas (Love, Lucas, #1)
  • 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
  • The Cousins
  • This Lie Will Kill You
  • Find Us
  • One of Us Is Next (One of Us Is Lying, #2)
See similar books…
See top shelves…
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.

News & Interviews

When author TJ Klune was growing up, he never saw queer characters in books in a way that felt true to his experience.  “They were the...
250 likes · 14 comments
“Sometimes it’s okay to believe things that aren’t true. Sometimes it’s necessary.” 1 likes
“It’s a good story. And you know what people like way more than the truth? A good story.” 1 likes
More quotes…