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What We Keep Is Not Always What Will Stay

3.7  ·  Rating Details ·  149 Ratings  ·  34 Reviews
The Boston Globe named What We Keep is not Always What Will Stay a 2011 Best Book for Children The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books named What We Keep is not Always What Will Stay to their 2011 Blue Ribbons list.

Angie never used to think much about God--until things started getting strange. Like the statue of St. Felix, her secret confidant, suddenly coming off
Paperback, 256 pages
Published June 8th 2011 by Flux
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Note: This review is more based on how the book affected me and it's accuracy, rather than judging by the writing.

As someone who has been force-fed lessons all her life, I can honestly say that this book does it in the best possible way I've ever experienced.

Cockrell's very realistic teenager Angie Whatever-her-last-name-was is a witty and strong-willed girl going through a rough time with her parent getting divorced (again).... and the fact that her close confidant, Saint Felix the statue, is w
Dec 26, 2011 Donna rated it it was ok
Well, Soldier Boy has completely invalidated this entire book. Look, it's not 1941 and you have sixteen-year-olds bluffing their way into the military so they can go fight the good fight. The reality is no one without a high school degree or its equivalent is getting deployed. It just doesn't happen that way. So considering the entire basis of this story centers around Jessie going back to high school at nineteen to get his degree AFTER a deployment, it's pretty much screwed. Now this was either ...more
Rachel Kramer Bussel
Jul 11, 2011 Rachel Kramer Bussel rated it it was amazing
I bought this book after reading about it on YA site [...] and was drawn to the plot point about a soldier returning from Afghanistan after having lost a leg, but this novel is about so much more than that, covering religion, family, divorce, love, devotion, PTSD and more. Angie's quest to find someone to confide in, whether a statue, her best friend, her stepfather who she lives with even though her mother has moved out, or Jesse, who clearly is battling demons, is one that is relatable. Cockre ...more
Sarah Honenberger
May 26, 2012 Sarah Honenberger rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone
Recommended to Sarah by: Virginia Book Festival
Although I generally like books I can savor, Amanda Cockrell’s first novel "what we keep is not always what will stay" was swallowed in one read. It was that good. And worth an immediate re-read. 15 year old Angie is heartsick over her mother leaving her stepfather. Her confidant is a statue in the basement of a local church, and just when she most needs advice, St. Felix starts talking back. Seamless, real, and moving, the story winds through high school corridors, neighborhood allegiances, and ...more
This book peaked my interested when I stumbled upon a brief review in BookPage. The title's a mouth full, isn't it? Regardless, this story of a 15 year-old high school freshman girl who learns that her parents are divorcing and who confides all her thoughts to a statue is quite the sweet tale.

Angie is not your typical high school student. In fact, she’s one of the more confident teenage girls I’ve read. Her steady world is rocked when her mother decides out of the blue to divorce her very cool s
Jessica Headlee
This is just a small piece of the actual review. To see the full review please visit Of Books and Pen!

Final Thoughts:

This book honestly surprised me. It had a bit of a rough start but it had a killer ending. The title is one of the most accurate and dead on titles I have read for at least the month, maybe even the entire year. The characters were so real and diverse; I honestly can’t say that enough! Felix was a hoot, even though he weirded me out when he was first introduced. It was quite the j
Oct 08, 2011 Phoebe rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Deborah, Telesa, Beckah, Nancy, Nanci, Jon
This is a stunning book and one of the best of 2011. (Also, the cover is fantastic.) 15-year-old Angie is caught in the middle when her mother leaves her stepfather, for reasons she won't disclose, other than to say Ben stole something she said and included it in his latest screenplay. Angie tells her troubles to St. Felix, a worn statue in the basement of her church, as she has done since age 9. Then she discovers the statue is gone from its pedestal, and instead, a man with an uncanny resembla ...more
Oct 20, 2010 Lauren rated it really liked it
Shelves: own
What We Keep Is Not Always What Will Stay is another unique and heartwarming as well as heartbreaking contemporary read. Amanda Cockrell constantly presented an interesting twist in this one through St. Felix. I was never really sure whether or not he was something science fiction like or maybe just a small miracle. Either way, I just loved his character, because not only was he sweet and serene, but he helped Angie grow in some major ways. Angie's overall story in this one was quite interesting ...more
Oct 08, 2011 H rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. It is the story of Angie, a 15-year old girl who makes friends with Jesse, a boy who signed up for the army at 17, lost a leg in Afghanistan, and is now back in high school trying to finish up and graduate. At first, Angie and best friend Lily simply are nice girls who see someone who needs friends, but slowly Jesse begins to mean more to Angie. But Jesse is damaged, and Angie realizes that she simply cannot fix him. Angie is just impulsive and irrational enough to feel like a ...more
Oct 25, 2011 Anastasia rated it really liked it
I wasn't sure about this book. I'll be honest I chose it because of the awesome Dios De Los Muertos art on the front. But it turned out amazing. Angie is a 15 year old who has all the problems a normal fifteen year old girl does. Stupid boys, her parents divorcing etc. She pours out her feelings to a statue of St. Felix in the basement of her church. She becomes friends with Jesse who is a 19 year old vet who lost his leg. She feels like she can help him and falls in love with him, until things ...more
Aug 25, 2011 Katie added it
No bad. Though I couldn't tell what tense it was in. In the begining i thought it was present tense, but then it switched to past. It kept going back and forth. It wasn't like she was telling the story from sometime in the future. The thing that makes the most sense is if it was in diary/journal format. If this is the case, then i think it shouls have been said somewhere.
Besides the weird formating, i thought it was a good book.
Jun 19, 2013 Kendy rated it really liked it
I picked this book up basically because the cover is cool - I love sugar skulls. I read the back, did not seem interested and was about to take it back to the library. I started reading and got sucked in. Even with the otherworldly saint story going on you have a real book, with real characters and some real feelings. Really! You want to help the characters, hold their hands and step away from them.
May 27, 2012 Wendy rated it liked it
Shelves: ya
In spite of its awkward title, this is quite a thoughtful, interesting book. I'd expected a comedy based on the reading I heard at the author signing, but even though there are some funny moments, overall it is deep and deals with some pretty serious issues, including divorce, war and PTSD. I really enjoyed the mix of cultures, with Mexican and Jewish influences. A good, quick read that should spur some interesting discussions.
Nov 05, 2015 Ofilia rated it really liked it
I picked this book up because I loved the cover. It does address a lot of issues perhaps a bit simply, but I like the way Cockrell puts her protagonist, Angie, through issues way beyond her experience. I think this is something many teens can relate to. It brings up a lot of tough questions and no easy answers. I like how Angie has many supportive loving adults in her life. The voice felt very authentic to me and I really enjoyed it.
Katie Hauser
Feb 02, 2012 Katie Hauser rated it really liked it
I usually wouldn't pick this book up or read past the first few chapters. However, I am glad I stuck this one out. The book has more to it than I initially expected and I really enjoyed the developing story. Well not everything works out in the end of the book, some things do and that made me feel good about the read.
Ashley Clark
Jun 08, 2012 Ashley Clark rated it liked it
I picked this up because of the cover... I hope its good.

Ehhhh it was okay. i couldrelated to the caracther about god not watching and how many horrible things could happen to a family. i lost my grandmom then a month later an lunch couple months later i could have lost my daughter then when she was only a week old an aunt died.
Dec 30, 2011 Mary rated it really liked it
Picked up this book and could not put it down. Although it has the typical elements of a young adult novel with Angie a high school sophomore not accepting her parent's seperation it has a whole lot more about religion, love relationships and mental illness. I found it a very thoughtful read
Jan 15, 2013 Ann rated it really liked it
Faith, divorce, families, war veterans, PTSD, and saints who may or may not come down off their pedestals--there's a lot to like in this debut novel as 15-year-old Angie tries to make sense of her world.
Kate McDowell
Jan 09, 2012 Kate McDowell rated it it was amazing
Brilliant story that manages to deal with religion in a complex and realistic way, within a multi-religious setting, while also tackling the aftermath of war.

BCCB BRs, fantasy/spirituality/realism mix
Abby Vega
Jul 29, 2014 Abby Vega rated it really liked it
3.75 Stars
Marcella Curry
Jun 10, 2011 Marcella Curry rated it really liked it
easy to read story that delves into a variety of issues faced by a fifteen year old.
Dec 30, 2011 Erica rated it it was amazing
i was surprise when i started this book. I thought it would be a love story but it really wasn't and i was surprise how deep it turn out to be, overall great book and very sad ending.
Jenny Bynum Black Words-White Pages
I gave this 5 out of 5* because it was a good book!!
Elaine Oliveira
Apr 29, 2011 Elaine Oliveira rated it it was ok
Shelves: lc
It started out OK, even funny. Then it turned out to be another sad story... I'm getting loads of those to assess lately. What is it? A 'let's write sad stories' festival or something?
Aug 25, 2013 Suzanne rated it it was amazing
This book is quirky and humorous while dealing with serious issues such as PTSD and war. I enjoyed it immensely.
This sounds pretty good!
Feb 21, 2013 Libraryqueen rated it it was amazing
Best book I have read in months...longer review when I am done processing it all.
Megan (The Book Babe)
please read my review at
Dec 06, 2011 Tisha rated it it was amazing
Shelves: teen, realistic
Loved this book - funny, poignant, serious, quirky - and thought the writing was a great instrument for presenting many thought-provoking themes, including religion and war.
Feb 24, 2013 J. rated it really liked it
Impressive YA novel about a sophomore in a relationship with a senior with PTSD. Relatable and poignant, if a little predictable.
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I grew up in Ojai, California, a wonderful place where you could ride your horse down Main Street and there was a hitching post outside the library. It was a bedroom town for Hollywood, full of writers and actors and directors, so there was always something going on, and famous people’s discarded trousers tended to end up in the local thrift shop. Ojai also had a branch office for every philosophi ...more
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“Helen stood up., "Accept that the universe is an apparently random dance. There may be a pattern to it-I think there probably is-but we can't see it from where we are.You have to let the dance happen. You'll love some of it and hate some it.” 2 likes
“that's becuase you're my angel. Angel by name, angel by nature.” 1 likes
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