|List of things that will not change|
Author: Stead, Rebecca
Despite her parents' divorce, her father's coming out as gay, and his plans to marry his boyfriend, ten-year-old Bea is reassured by her parents' unconditional love, excited about getting a stepsister, and haunted by something she did last summer at her father's lake house.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 4.20
Points: 6.0 Quiz: 508414
Kirkus Reviews (+) (02/01/20)
School Library Journal (+) (03/01/20)
Booklist (+) (02/01/20)
The Hornbook (+) (00/03/20)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 02/01/2020 *Starred Review* When Bea’s father decides to get married for the second time, this time to another man, she is overjoyed, not only because she loves Jesse, her father’s partner, but also because he has a daughter her age, and the thing Bea wants most in the world is a sister. This tale of 10-year-old Bea is narrated by her 12-year-old self, who often flashes back to earlier episodes of her life, brilliantly depicting the nonlinear storytelling mechanics of a tween mind. Indeed, Stead’s greatest strength may be her understanding of the middle-grade psyche. Her work shows great respect for the complexity of children’s feelings, and this remarkable book is, more than anything, about feelings. As Bea prepares for her father’s wedding, attempts to forge a connection with her future sister, and worries over her single mother, she meets intermittently with a therapist, who guides Bea in self-reflective exercises describing what emotions feel like (a narrative tool used frequently, to great effect) and helps her unearth her own terrible secret, which lands in a hard-hitting twist ending. So much is tackled in this slim volume: a courteous divorce, Bea’s incidental case of eczema, friendship, mental health, sisterhood, and a beautiful model of gay marriage in the face of adversity. An emotional character journey from a middle-grade master. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: It’s been almost five years since Newbery medalist Stead’s last solo novel, and adoration of her work is at the top of the list of things that will not change. - Copyright 2020 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 03/01/2020 Gr 5–8—When 12-year-old Bea's parents first divorced two years ago, they gave her a green notebook in which they had started a list of Things That Will Not Change, with numbers one and two being "Mom loves you more than anything, always," and "Dad loves you more than anything, always." Bea takes comfort in adding to her list; it helps her understand number six: "We are still a family, but in a different way." When Bea's dad and his partner, Jesse, first announce they're getting married, Bea is thrilled—she loves Jesse, and she will finally have a real sister once they're married. Jesse's daughter, Sonia, lives across the country in California, and Bea is anxious that Sonia isn't as thrilled as she is about the prospect of new family members. Bea sees a supportive therapist, Miriam, who assists her with her anxiety, her guilt over how she reacts to stressful situations, and other obstacles she encounters daily. When Sonia comes to New York for a visit, Bea assumes that Sonia doesn't want her to be part of their new blended family. Stead masterfully captures the trials and tribulations both the girls are navigating. As the wedding planning ramps up, so do Bea's anxiety and eczema, and the potential disaster Bea may have caused by secretly inviting Jesse's estranged brother, Mission, to the wedding. Readers' heartstrings will be tugged as the wedding isn't all sunshine and happiness, and family dynamics are shown to be both powerful but sometimes flawed. VERDICT The angst and worries that middle grade readers experience are brought to life through Bea's authentic voice in this must-read title.—Michele Shaw, Quail Run Elementary School, San Ramon, CA - Copyright 2020 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.