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Thursday, December 10, 2020

Stead's Newest Poignant But Hopeful

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

It's been two years since her parents' divorce and lots has changed for 10-year-old Bea.  While things have turned out mostly okay, she still worries a lot, which makes her eczema act up.  To help calm herself, she keeps a list in her notebook of the things in her life that have not and will not ever change.  She knows her mom and dad will always love her, for example.  That's a constant, no matter what.

When Bea's dad informs her that he and his boyfriend will soon be getting married, Bea's thrilled.  She loves Jesse.  He's even got a daughter Bea's age, which means she'll finally have the sister she's always wanted.  She just knows they're going to be BFFs.  As the wedding date comes closer, though, Bea discovers that nothing ever goes perfectly.  Building a new family isn't easy and sometimes change is difficult, confusing, and heartbreaking.  With her family structure shifting once again, Bea has to learn how to manage her anxiety, deal with difficult situations, and find happiness along the way.

The List of Things That Will Not Change is the newest middle grade offering from Newbery Award-winning author Rebecca Stead.  Although its plot is a little unfocused, the story is realistic in that it has both sad and happy parts.  My favorite element of the novel, in fact, is its validation of emotions—not just that they can be super complicated, but also that it's okay, even important, to feel them.  Bea's voice as she's dealing with hers is pitch-perfect, making her a narrator who is both authentic and relatable.  Although The List of Things That Will Not Change deals with some tough subjects, overall it's an upbeat, hopeful novel.  I enjoyed it, even if I didn't absolutely love it.

(Readalikes:  Hm, nothing's coming to mind.  You?)


If this were a movie, it would be rated:

for violence and topics most suited for kids over 10 years old

To the FTC, with love:  Another library fine find

1 comment:

  1. I remember my daughter and I loving Stead's books so I wish you liked this one more, but that isn't always the case. Bummer.


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