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The List of Things That Will Not Change

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After her parents' divorce, Bea's life became different in many ways. But she can always look back at the list she keeps in her green notebook to remember the things that will stay the same. The first and most important: Mom and Dad will always love Bea, and each other.

When Dad tells Bea that he and his boyfriend, Jesse, are getting married, Bea is thrilled. Bea loves Jesse, and when he and Dad get married, she'll finally (finally!) have what she's always wanted--a sister. Even though she's never met Jesse's daughter, Sonia, Bea is sure that they'll be "just like sisters anywhere."

As the wedding day approaches, Bea will learn that making a new family brings questions, surprises, and joy.

224 pages, Hardcover

First published April 7, 2020

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Rebecca Stead

17 books2,094 followers

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5 stars
3,245 (41%)
4 stars
3,266 (42%)
3 stars
1,038 (13%)
2 stars
148 (1%)
1 star
43 (<1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,491 reviews
Profile Image for Chelsea (chelseadolling reads).
1,478 reviews19.2k followers
April 12, 2020
This hit me RIGHT in the feels, in the best way. Bea reminded me so much of my childhood self and I wish that I could go back and time and hand this book to baby Chelsea to read to know that she's not alone. My heart is so full. I loved this so!!!!! much!!!!!
Profile Image for Camryn.
Author 5 books793 followers
July 9, 2020
Profile Image for Hannah.
225 reviews1 follower
August 14, 2019
Things That Will Not Change:
1. Rebecca Stead writes pitch-perfect middle grade.
2. She really GETS how kids think and act, especially around guilt and anxiety.
3. She writes vivid characters who jump off the page.
4. She writes warm, loving families of all kinds.
5. THE LIST OF THINGS THAT WILL NOT CHANGE is a book you won't want to put down, even after you've finished.
Profile Image for Lisa Vegan.
2,759 reviews1,218 followers
June 11, 2021
What incredibly great parenting to handle a divorce like that with an eight-year-old and then also at ten-years-old and twelve-years-old.

It’s a wonderful friendship story.

It seemed “younger” middle grade than I’d expected but I would have adored this book when I was eight. The way it’s written seems as though it’s geared to younger middle grade readers but the topics broached can appeal to all ages. A huge winner for middle grade readers!

I can see it being helpful to kids who are in psychotherapy, kids who suffer from anxiety, from anger issues, guilt issues, and also kids who have a gay parent/gay parents, kids who long for a sibling or have complicated relationships with siblings.

It’s a great story/reminder about how we don’t have to have the love & support of everyone if we have enough people in our lives who do love & support us.

It’s a great story about people being true to themselves, and about forgiveness especially forgiving oneself.

Wow was there ever a twist I did not see coming!

It sort of broke my heart in one small way but overall was an uplifting and positive story.

The story and characters have depth and seem genuine. It’s another great book by this author although for me I don’t see how any book will top When You Reach Me which is a masterpiece in my opinion, but this book has memorable characters that will stick with me and I’ll remember their stories/this story.
Profile Image for Jeanette (Ms. Feisty).
2,179 reviews1,910 followers
March 16, 2020
I always enjoy Rebecca Stead's books for middle-grade readers because she creates such charming young misfit narrators. This one features a girl named Bea who discovers that there's more than one way to make a family. She's quite adaptable, and she's enthusiastic about the changes coming into her life, but it's complicated. Some people will never accept that love is love is love is love, even when it's not traditional. The loving adults around Bea model for her how to stay hopeful and positive in the face of cruelty. I especially appreciated that the author did not whitewash the difficulties, and at the same time managed to inject a lot of whimsy and joy into the story.
Profile Image for Monica Edinger.
Author 10 books336 followers
June 20, 2019
Wowee. This is one of the most piercing character-focused middle-grade books I've ever read. Stead reaches deep into protagonist Bea's very soul here as she copes with various elements in her life. Beautiful and spare as to expect from Stead.
Profile Image for Joyreader.
272 reviews4 followers
July 11, 2020
First of all, I really liked the character of Bea. She gave off some very Ramona Quimby vibes. The book follows Bea’s journey from two years ago. She’s dealing with some anxiety issues. Two years before the story starts, the parents have divorced and her father has announced he’s gay. Two years have passed since that point but it’s still two years from the point the present Bea is telling the story (you’re starting to see why I might have only given two stars) I kept getting confused as to how old Bea was and is. Anyway, her father is re-marrying to his new partner, Jesse. Bea is ecstatic because Jesse has a daughter and now she’ll have a step sister.

This book felt a little off and uneven to me somehow. There were charming parts, like the bat flying in the window and Jesse coming to Bea’s school for colonial breakfast. But other parts were so unrealistic, I felt betrayed by the author because she just needed to add drama somehow.

First example was Bea’s friend Angus, whose mother is incredibly rude to her because two years ago, as a third-grader, Bea pushed Angus out of a chair??? So now her best friend’s mom still doesn’t like her to the extent she doesn’t really go over to his house much? That seems a little unbelievable to me. Another example is Sonia, her step-sister-to-be, who basically gives Bea the cold shoulder for an entire week’s visit, ignores her letters, doesn’t Skype her, but then magically comes around at the end? I think tension between two girls about to become sisters is believable, but it didn’t feel like it was based on anything that made sense in the book. Bea has a guilty thought that she knows Sonia’s father better than Sonia. So if Sonia had thrown that in Bea’s face and been jealous, it would have worked. Instead, it was artificially added to create drama and didn’t seem to be based on anything other than Sonia’s homesickness. The one thing Bea always wanted was a sister, but then when she gets a perfectly nice girl thrown her way to be one, she just doesn’t care about Bea—for no reason.

The third, and very worst example of this, and the reason I took off stars, was the wedding scene. I just didn’t get that at all. It might have happened because everything up to that point around Bea’s parents had been saccarhine sweet and perfect and the author remembered real life isn’t like that. Divorce is never easy and it’s always sad. A family broken apart isn’t something to be celebrated, and Bea feels the heartbreak of that. When a spouse was hiding the fact that he was gay, that makes the situation even more complicated. But Bea’s parents never seem to stumble in being perfect parents that always get along after their divorce. It just didn’t feel realistic to me and even risks alientates younger readers who can’t understand why their divorced parents can’t be so perfect. So anyway, perfect parents didn’t create any drama. Jesse’s brother does. Here’s the spoiler. Jesses’s sister (who is also absolutely perfect and babysits Bea all the time) always accepted her brother’s sexual orientation. But their other brother Mission hasn’t. Bea sneakily invites Mission to the wedding. He shows up at their apartment a week before the wedding because he doesn’t want to miss the big day. Looks like reconciliation has happened. He goes to the wedding. Everything is going great. And then, for NO APPARENT REASON Mission stands up as the vows are about to begin and tells his brother not to get married and then knocks over the wedding cake. (And Bea was very excited about that cake) It just didn’t make sense. Why come for the wedding? Why show up a week before and say you don’t want to miss the big day? How many people would really behave like that? At the precise moment to cause soap opera levels of drama? It was just ridiculous in a book where everyone had been so perfect up until that point.

Then I got to the last little thing about corn growing and it also didn’t make sense. I had to go back to the beginning to see what Bea was talking about with the corn—and it still didn’t clear things up. It was like something wise was supposed to come from the corn growing story and oysters and none of it quite gelled.

So I was at about four stars at points throughout this book, but the bizarre ending ruined it for me. I felt like the author was trying too hard. The unnecessary confusion about time and corn and people behaving badly without motives and too perfectly at other times sort of ruined what could have been a quite charming book about a young girl coming to terms with changing families.

This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Trin.
1,780 reviews557 followers
November 23, 2019
Wholesome, heartfelt, adorable -- but also incredibly real, never sugar-coated. Stead is a master of POV. I flew through this, got choked up, had all the feelings. A delight.
Profile Image for Sherwood Smith.
Author 167 books37.5k followers
April 7, 2020
Another lovely middle-grade book by Rebecca Stead.

Bea is an anxious kid whose parents divorced because her dad is gay, and he's found his mate in Jesse. Bea tells her story about the divorce and the upcoming wedding, between which we get short glimpses of her life at school, with her best friend, with her cousins (with whom she doesn't always get along), with her mother, with Sonia, Jesse's daughter, who Bea hopes will become a sister.

There are plenty of the sorts of issues that crop up in families. Some painful things happen, but Stead writes about them with such a light, humorous and humane touch that it stays firmly this side of the dreaded Problem Novels that librarians used to load with awards in the seventies and eighties, and which my students pretty much universally loathed.

If I were not retired I would definitely have this one on my classroom shelves, both for kids going through the remaking of families, and those curious about those things. It's such a good-hearted book, with vivid characters, and clear-as-water prose.

Copy provided by NetGalley
Profile Image for Melike.
385 reviews
June 6, 2021
5 +++ stars

Ten-year-old Bea is the narrator of this gem of a book. When Bea’s parents announce their decision to divorce and the changes that decision will bring, they give Bea a notebook that has a list of things that will not change. When Bea is stressed and filled with anxiety, she always goes back to that list to remind herself that some of the very important things in her life will always remain the same. The book is such an emotional book, many times I was moved to tears because of how beautifully the author captures Bea’s inner world. Some of my favorite parts were Bea’s sessions with her therapist Miriam. Miriam helps Bea name her feelings and teaches her to how to figure out where she feels them in her body. Often times this isn’t easy even for adults, but Rebecca Stead writes so convincingly and expertly using Bea’s voice. I highly recommend this book for all the tweens and mother-daughter book clubs.

Thank you NetGalley and the publisher for sending me a digital copy in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for destiny ♡ howling libraries.
1,655 reviews5,126 followers
August 1, 2020
This is a really sweet little story with some fantastic elements that I so desperately wish we saw more of in middle grade, like childhood mental illness (anxiety), living through your parents divorcing, and learning how to face the homophobia in society as the child of a recently-come-out queer parent. I feel like it's all handled in such a good way and I also really loved the audiobook narrator!

All of that aside, I'm not rating this because, to be honest, I didn't enjoy the actual reading experience of this book — and that's okay, because this book isn't for me! I'm 100% not the intended target audience for this book, so it doesn't really matter what I think! I just wanted to be upfront about why I didn't give this a star rating.

Thank you so much to the publisher and LibroFM ALC Program for providing me with this finished audio copy in exchange for an honest review!
Profile Image for Floor Flawless .
466 reviews61 followers
January 24, 2021
Oof, I had high hopes for this one as it was a nominee for the Goodreads Choice Awards 2020. But unfurtuntely I didn't like it that much. The maincharacter was a complaining little bastard that couldn't understand another persons feelings. And yes she was in therapy and that was all about feelings but I feel like she was there mainly for her own feelings. I just didn't like the tone of this book at all. It was a total let down for me.
Profile Image for Dianne.
6,766 reviews588 followers
March 15, 2020
Heartfelt, innocent, filled with love, uncertainty and trust in those whose job is to always provide a safe place to land, Rebecca Stead’s THE LIST OF THINGS THAT WILL NEVER CHANGE is NOT written for adults. It is written for younger readers, told in the voice of a young girl who is experiencing life after divorce and while many things DO change, one thing young Bea knows, the love in her family is always there, no matter how its dynamics have been altered.

Parents do not have to stay together, but they do owe their children a continuity of love, and security and Bea’s parents are what ALL divorced couples should be like. Beautifully told, steeped in family love, acceptance of circumstances and respect, Rebecca Stead has given voice to a child’s experience as an innocent caught up in the affairs of adults without earning the lasting scars of pain, hurt and the venom so many parents spew.

Perfect for middlegrade readers, on up, just remember to “see” things as Bea does! Your heart will warm to this incredible tale. Give it as a gift for a family who may be facing major changes.

I was invited to receive a complimentary ARC edition by Wendy Lamb Books! This is my honest and voluntary review.

Publisher: Wendy Lamb Books (April 7, 2020)
Publication Date: April 7, 2020
Genre: Middlegrade | Family Life | Divorce
Print Length: 224 pages
Available from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
For Reviews, Giveaways, Fabulous Book News, follow: http://tometender.blogspot.com
Profile Image for Jordan Henrichs.
285 reviews7 followers
February 13, 2020
Rebecca Stead digs deep, real deep, into the mind of her protagonist in The List Of Things That Will Not Change. The result is brilliantly beautiful at times, but frustratingly boring at other times.

The List of Things I Liked About This Book:
1. Bea is extremely thoughtful. She doesn’t skirt details. Even the most minor things. I said, Stead digs deep. Maybe deeper than any middle grade first-person novel I can remember reading.
2. Bea’s telling of her story feels genuine. Like a kid telling you a story and jumping all over the place, going off in tangents. Authentic feeling.
3. Bea’s relationship with her therapist Miriam is great. And this is something I think we need to see more of in middle grade fiction.
4. The story about corn that bookends the novel is nice.
5. Stead tackles many relevant social topics and issues without making the book feel like she has something to say. There are some heavy topics covered, but the book doesn’t feel heavy.
6. There is a lot of love in Bea’s family and Stead shows this in so many subtle ways (like Bea’s mother squeezing her hand.)
7. I like Stead’s style of writing. How she sees her stories. It’s like she lays a story out in her mind, deconstructs it, and tells it just a bit differently than straightforward. Keeps readers on their toes. Every little detail or wandering thought usually connects back to something. Not quite as much in this book as her previous ones but you can still spot the style.

The List of Things That Hold Me Back From Really Loving This Book:
1. The word “boring” is in the eye of the beholder, but I, personally, had a difficult time staying interested in the plot.
2. Bea’s voice threw me for a loop. She’s supposed to be 12 or 13, looking back and telling us a story that happened when she was 10. But the narrative sounds like she’s currently 10. Not 12 or 13, looking back at 10. This, plus jumping around so much, frequently pulled my attention away from the story.
3. I couldn’t help but think that Bea’s mother was underdeveloped as a character. This really could have been her story as much as the father’s, but we don’t get to know her in the same way that we get to know Bea’s father.

This seemed to be a more personal book than anything Stead has ever written and books like that are most difficult to comment on as a reader. There’s a lot in this book that will resonate with kids. I can think of a few that I am going to hand it to immediately. Rebecca Stead is such a fantastic writer and it makes me happy that someone with her amazing talent chooses to use it writing books for kids.

*I read an ARC provided by the author, through a giveaway on Twitter.
Profile Image for PinkAmy loves books, cats and naps .
2,304 reviews220 followers
April 7, 2020
***Thanks to NetGalley for providing me a complimentary copy of THE LIST OF THINGS THAT WILL NOT CHANGE by Rebecca Stead in exchange for my honest review.***


Since her parents divorce four years ago, Bea keeps THE LIST OF THINGS THAT WILL NOT CHANGE to help keep her anxiety in check. She writes things like her parents will still love her on the list. Bea is thrilled when her dad announces his engagement to his boyfriend Jesse, and even happier to lead she’s getting a stepsister who loves clear across the country. Bea knows she and her same age sister Sonia will be share secrets and whisper to each other at night, just like the sisters she’s seen in tv. Everything is going to be perfect. Except it’s not.

Bea is a delightfully imperfect twelve-year-old, though her naïveté at times makes her seem younger making THE LIST OF THINGS THAT WILL NOT CHANGE idea for younger middle grade readers.

Rebecca Stead gave Bea a believable, engaging voice. Young Bea sees a therapist to help her deal with anxiety. Her parents support Bea and have a healthy, sometimes too perfect divorce. Bea has a lot of typical tween worries as she struggles to find her place in her family and in the world.

THE LIST OF THINGS THAT WILL NOT CHANGE would have been a five-star read except for an over-the-too homophobic incident at the wedding that seemed artificially placed for drama near the end of the book. Had a similar event happened earlier and felt more organic to the story, I would never mentioned it. At the 93% point of the book, it didn’t make sense which is the reason in rated down instead of up.

THE LIST OF THINGS THAT WILL NOT CHANGE is a great addition for libraries, classrooms and all readers, especially those looking for LGBT families.
Profile Image for Gouri Verma.
139 reviews
July 21, 2021
Ahhh! I have really mixed feelings towards this book✨ But I loved it lol😂 It is about Bea , Bea’s parents are getting a divorce and her dad (Daniel) will be marrying his boyfriend (Jesse)……everyone is happy including Bea …….but she gets happier when she learns that Jesse has a daughter…..Bea has always wanted a sister and now ,her wish will be fullfilled…..but as the wedding day comes closer , she learns a lot of things ,
suffers a lot things,
understand a lot of things……..❤️

I really liked this book but I found it really boring during some parts, and felt like this book was really stretched towards the middle part….stretched over unnecessary things😭 And it was really very slow😭

The opening scene was confusing but the ending was really good!!!💕 And one of the main things that I didn’t like about this book was it’s timelines……they were really confusing!!!😭

What I loved about this book is the character of Jesse…..he was really funny, sweet and smart!!! And to be honest, I didn’t really like the main character, Bea….she was weird…… I also adored her parents, though they were divorced, they were sweet and caring!!💖 I also liked Sonia!💖 And moreover, there was a big twist towards the end of the book which I kind of predicted but was still shocked!!!😂
Still can’t understand if I loved it or didn’t like it😂 But it is worth giving a try❤️
Profile Image for Christy.
652 reviews
March 1, 2021
A great kick-off to Middle Grade March! It touches on a lot of important topics and I think this would be a great book for kids in the age group! Very good audiobook narrator.
Profile Image for Hirondelle.
905 reviews184 followers
January 6, 2023
Really fantastically told YA, who is all about the growth and the point of view of 10 year old (as told when 12?). It is Rebecca Stead's most recent book and has a lot in common stylewise with Liar & Spy, almost pointlike setting of separate scenes which all together make a coherent story of change and friendship.

I am not sure if this is not YA/middlegrade which is "wasted" on non adults - I say "wasted" not because they deserve things less good, but because a lot of this is very subtle and I was a lot more literal seeking when I was 10 or 12, as far as I remember.

There are theories parental figures are usually horrible in children's/teenager's books because good parents would protect their children enough to stop having them dangerous adventures (wildly generalizing my understanding of that argument). Rebecca Stead seems to have found a way around that, where parental figures are still very very good at being parents, but there are still, as there is in life, stories to be told and growth to happen.

Incidentally this is also something rare, it is almost a low or no-conflict book , but it still made me cry.

Random observation: I do think the story of the relationship between Bea's dad and his new husband/boyfriend would be different from the PoV of her mother, the book does not get much into it, but my adult brain did look at all the timing... The book does glide over it and it is fine, just made me think of the PoV of that other adult and maybe added more to an adult reader.

Very very good and moving.
Profile Image for Ms. B.
2,897 reviews35 followers
October 24, 2020
Bea's Dad is getting married! Alternating between the now and the past few years of Bea's life leading up to the Wedding (it's chock-full of flashbacks); give this one to fans of Richard Peck's The Best Man.
Profile Image for Amber.
991 reviews
March 21, 2020
I received a complimentary copy of this ebook ARC from the author, publisher, and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Bea is a young girl who keeps a list of things that will not change in a green notebook like her mom and dad love her very much. When her dad and mom gets a divorce and Bea gets a new family, Bea's life turns upside-down. Will Bea be able to cope? Read on and find out for yourself.

This was a pretty good middle grade novel about family, friends and more. If you enjoy books like these, be sure to check this book out when it officially comes out to bookstores and wherever books and ebooks are sold on April 7, 2020.
Profile Image for Ivonne Rovira.
1,895 reviews196 followers
January 22, 2020
Bea’s parents have divorced; however, one thing they have gifted her is the green notebook that contains “Things that won’t EVER change.” Foremost is that her parents will always love her and that they will always love each other, just in a different way.

But two years after the divorce, Dan is getting married again. And things are changing at a whirlwind rate.

I have loved all of Rebecca Stead’s books that I’ve read: Newbery Award-winning When You Reach Me, Liar & Spy and Bob. And now The List of Things That Will Not Change. This beautiful novel is poignant without being cloying and thought-provoking without being preachy — a book that even adults will dwell on for a long, long time.

In the interest of full disclosure, I received this book from NetGalley. Random House Children’s Publishing Group and Wendy Lamb Books in exchange for an honest review.

Profile Image for Lisa RV.
396 reviews30 followers
April 19, 2022
Another 5 star middle school book that (almost) made me cry. I especially loved the characters, Bea talking through her feelings, and the therapy bits. I highly recommend Rebecca Stead if you want middle grade/YA books full of real life, wisdom, and the feels. She's one of those authors who's not overly wordy, rather every sentence has meaning. Her writing and characters seem so authentic that it makes you a little sad when the book ends. I have more of hers to read but I already know I'll enjoy everything she writes.
Profile Image for Danielle.
Author 2 books228 followers
October 3, 2020
Surprising, spare, affecting, and total kid-ness captured in the voice.

"...there are people who will try to make you choose between who you are and who they want you to be. You have to watch out for those people." p.140

"...life is like a trip. A very long one. And what matters most if the people you travel with." p.209

Profile Image for Rosh [semi-hiatus].
1,434 reviews1,369 followers
March 30, 2021
12 year old Bea's life changed when her parents divorced four years back. The reason: Bea's dad came out as gay. After their amicable split, her parents gifted her a journal entitled "The List of Things That Will Not Change", the first few entries of which reassure Bea that they will always be a family, though not in the same way as before. Yes, things did change a bit, but with time and love, everyone gets accustomed to modifications in their routine. Now, it's time for one more change. Bea's dad wants to get married to his fiancé Jesse. What upheavals will this bring in Bea's life? You've gotta read the book to find this out.

Bea is one of the sweetest and most realistic protagonists I've seen in dramatic children's fiction. As she herself says, she's wears her heart on her sleeve. She's sweet, she's forgetful, she's a big worrier, she's not afraid to punch someone if they deserve it, she's as real as a child can be. You realise that underneath her brave and brash exterior lies an insecure child looking for reassurance and stability. After Auggie (Wonder) and Genesis (Genesis Begins Again), Bea becomes the third fictional child whom I want to give one tight hug.

The book isn't worth reading just for Bea though. All the supporting characters are memorable and loveable. Well, all except one but I can't tell you who. 😉 Friends, families, teachers, therapists, all are depicted as realistically as possible.

The book brings out the importance of family, trust, communication, support, and acceptance. One of the lines in the book effectively conveys what the purpose of family is: to provide "the kind of love that doesn’t ask you to be anyone but who you are."

Heartily recommended to all middle graders. If you are a crier, keep a box of tissues handy.

Thank you, NetGalley and Andersen Press, for the Advanced Review Copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

Join me on the Facebook group, Readers Forever! , for more reviews, book-related discussions and fun.
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Profile Image for Chris.
594 reviews116 followers
July 20, 2021
Voorlaatste kinder- en jeugdboekentitel uit een zomerpakket van vijf waar de plaatselijke bib mee uitpakte. Een van de redenen dat ik deelnam was mijn gebrek aan tijd en zin om (beroepshalve als leraar) meer jeugdliteratuur te lezen. Natuurlijk ken en lees ik Bart Moeyaert, Toon Tellegen, Joke Van Leeuwen, ontdekte ik een paar jaar geleden Lampje en krijg ik wel eens een tip, zoals De dagdromer. Maar behalve dat mijn eigen leesstapel altijd hoog en urgent blijft, vind ik het meestal lastig om uit te vissen welke 'de betere jeugdboeken' zijn die tegenwoordig geschreven worden.

Ook bij dit boek had ik daar geen idee van en de titel hielp ook niet meteen. Toch kostte het Rebecca Stead slechts een paar hoofdstukjes om me te overtuigen dat dit goed zou worden, om niet te zeggen dat het mijn verwachtingen overtrof. Bea, een twaalfjarig meisje uit New York dat (te) graag piekert is op zich geen opzienbarend uitgangspunt. Ook dat haar ouders gescheiden zijn, ruikt nog naar clichés, maar haar vader gaat opnieuw trouwen met een man en daardoor krijgt ze er nu (eindelijk) een zus bij die dan wel helemaal aan de andere kant van de VS woont en er komt een feest...

Ik kan nog wel wat ingrediënten en personages opnoemen die op zich allemaal niet uitzonderlijk zijn, maar wél bijdragen tot de inleving en het leesplezier. Rebecca Stead weet vlot, diepgaand en overtuigend vanuit het perspectief van Bea te schrijven en vlecht zoveel fijne en minder fijne lijntjes samen dat ik er helemaal in meegenomen werd, precies zoals ik dat vroeger als jonge lezer graag had... en nu nog steeds trouwens. Ik ga het in ieder geval promoten aan de leerlingen, met dank aan de lokale bib.
Profile Image for Vonda.
142 reviews3 followers
November 27, 2020
I read Stead’s first book, When You Reach Me, and thoroughly enjoyed it. I purchased it for my nephew’s birthday and my son’s private school’s library. This book on the other hand felt contrived. I’m going to skip summarizing the story in my review and focus on the review itself.

This book was more about the message than the characters. Contrived is the perfect adjective for this story. It felt like propaganda to me. The entire message of the book came down to the idea that those who bless gay marriage are loving, good people and those who don’t bless gay marriage are cold and ignorant. Not only that, but Stead didn’t even bother to develop the homophobic character at all. She didn’t give that person feelings or morals or friends or even an ounce of love or compassion. So we are only getting one side of the story. I find that unfair.

I believe you can write your story and build empathy for one particular character, but don’t do it to the exclusion of the antagonist’s humanity. When someone doesn’t approve of gay marriage it doesn’t mean they aren’t sympathetic, understanding people.

I’m sure you now think I’m homophobic. I’m not. I’ve purposely read books from all viewpoints on this topic. To me, love is about relationship, not dos and dont’s. This topic is very complicated and it can’t be tied up with a neat bow no matter which side you fall on.

I will give this 2 stars. I appreciate the positive portrayal of counseling, empathy, apologizing and offering forgiveness. It was nice to see the adult parents work together to coparent in peaceable, sacrificial ways. Bea’s bravery to face the difficulties in her life was commendable.
Profile Image for Shaye Miller.
1,236 reviews81 followers
April 22, 2020
I sure kicked my week off with some intense, realistic fiction novels. The List of Things That Will Not Change follows 10-year-old Bea through the aftermath of her parents' divorce. They reassured her that they would always love her and she was given a green notebook that she could use to write down everything that will NOT change. But the truth is, there are many things that will change. For example, her father is remarrying. And the man he is marrying has a daughter Bea's age. She has always wanted a sister, so she's elated. Nevertheless, the transition is awkward -- how does her mom feel about her dad remarrying? And will Bea's new sister even like her? Rebecca Stead addresses so many important issues in this book, including homophobia, the complications of having two different homes, and the normalization of therapy.

For more children's literature, middle grade literature, and YA literature reviews, feel free to visit my personal blog at The Miller Memo!!
Profile Image for Abby Johnson.
3,373 reviews313 followers
January 25, 2021
This book does such a wonderful job at exploring emotions in a very complex way, but at the same time a very kid-friendly way. And the ending actually made me gasp in delight as the story comes completely together in a way that I thought was just perfect. Readers looking for books that address anxiety and mental health in kids will want to check this one out. I especially like that it portrays a very positive relationship between a kid and her therapist.
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