The Things That Will Not Stand

Michael Gerard Bauer

The Things That Will Not Stand
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The Things That Will Not Stand

Michael Gerard Bauer

Sebastian is at a university open day with his best friend Tolly when he meets a girl. Her name is Frida, and she’s edgy, caustic and funny. She’s also a storyteller, but the stories she tells about herself don’t ring true, and as their surprising and eventful day together unfolds, Sebastian struggles to sort the fact from the fiction.

But how much can he expect Frida to share in just one day? And how much of his own self and his own secrets will he be willing to reveal in return?


You meet a girl, oh the perfect girl, and then you meet the wrong girl and life gets really interesting!

The day starts simply for Sebastian and his best mate, Tolly. They are at an open day at uni, and while Seb should be deciding his career path, fate steps in. Well, actually, it is not fate, it’s Taylor Swift (aka Helena), the perfect girl. But then her boyfriend shows up and Seb’s perfect rom-com takes a dive – until he’s saved by Frida.

Frida is sharp and funny, but she’s the wrong girl. Suddenly, the simple day becomes less simple but definitely more interesting as Tolly, Seb, Frida and, sometimes, Taylor Swift navigate the prospect of life after high school.

Stories are told and retold, and as Seb finds himself becoming bewitched by Frida he is wary of her narrative – some things don’t add up.

As we know from Michael Bauer’s Don’t Call Me Ishmael and the award-winning and haunting Running Man, Bauer can traverse the world of humour and heartbreak brilliantly. In The Things That Will Not Stand, one is juxtaposed against the other, and, while we laugh, just a few pages ahead the day darkens as the truth comes out about what Seb and Frida have both been concealing. Highly recommended for readers aged 12+.

Alexa Dretzke is the assistant manager and children’s book buyer at Readings Hawthorn.

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