The List of Things that Will Not Change

Rebecca Stead

The List of Things that Will Not Change
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The List of Things that Will Not Change

Rebecca Stead

Mom and Dad told me about the divorce at a ‘family meeting’. I sat on the couch, between them. They didn’t look happy, and I suddenly got worried that something was wrong with our cat, Red. That they were going to tell me he was dying. But that wasn’t it.   

When Bea’s parents got divorced, there were big changes for Bea, and also lots of things that stayed the same. But it’s not always easy living in two separate apartments. When her dad announces that he and his boyfriend, Jesse, are getting married, Bea is excited that Jesse’s daughter will become the sister she’s always wanted. But as the wedding approaches, Bea’s joy is clouded by a terrible secret she has kept hidden since last summer.   

Rebecca Stead’s delightful middle-grade novel about family and friendship will be loved by young readers.

Review

Twelve-year-old Bea reflects on life since her parent’s divorce and the many challenges periodically conspiring to overwhelm her: family adjustments, school frustrations, struggles with spelling and (her ultimate nemesis) itchy eczema; enough to push anyone over the edge. With so much upheaval in her life, Bea maintains a list of things that will not change to keep her centred and reassured.

It’s easy to be beguiled by Bea; her voice is completely authentic and thoroughly engaging, her anecdotes intimate and her dilemmas tangible. Her direct, conversational style completely draws the reader into her world. She’s genuine and funny and makes you laugh in a way that only the truth can. Bea gains important insights on the road to self-discovery; realising she doesn’t always know why she does things, what she feels or why, she learns to keep what matters and relinquish what doesn’t. There are many perceptive moments in this treasure; my favourite is when Bea refuses to define herself by the worst thing she’s ever done. She must learn from her mistakes, forgive herself and move on; advice young readers will find reassuring and comforting.

Celebrated award-winning author (and masterful storyteller) Rebecca Stead has written a thoroughly uplifting and positive story children will love. Highly recommended for ages 10+.


Athina Clarke is the children’s book buyer at Readings Malvern.

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