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April 2, 2020

The List of Things That Will Not Change by Rebecca Stead ~ a Review

by MK French

Bea's parents have gotten a divorce, but she knows that they will always love her. That's the first thing written in her notebook, where she keeps a list of things that will not change. Her father plans to marry his boyfriend Jesse, and Bea is thrilled. She likes Jesse and hopes that Jesse's daughter will be the sister she always wanted. As the wedding day approaches, Bea will learn that it takes a lot to create a new family.

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free book was provided for an honest review.

April 2020; Wendy Lamb Books; 978-1101938096
audio, ebook, print (224 pages); middle grades
Rebecca Stead has a fantastic eleven-year-old voice. I could see this as Bea's perspective, including the asides she has in her storytelling, the things she links together as important, and the aspects she notices without realizing she does. She has eczema, which I don't often see mentioned outright in novels, as well as anxiety and regular therapy sessions. She isn't a perfect child, lashing out when upset and hiding the things she does wrong. At the same time, she is a good person and tries so hard to follow through with what she knows she has to do. We see her worry times and how she applies the lessons she learns from her therapist, which is a fantastic thing for children to read about. Therapy isn't frightening then, and children will understand why it's such an important tool for many people.

In addition, we have very real concerns facing children. Her parents divorced amicably, and do work hard to maintain that relationship for Bea's sake. A lot of the split is because Bea's father is gay, and didn't want to continue pretending to be what he wasn't to maintain a marriage. Jesse had been in the same position and had a harder time coming out to his family. This is an unfortunate reality for so many people, and it doesn't magically go away just because he's found the man he wants to marry. Families are often fraught with problems, even when they're as loving as Bea's is. I really did enjoy seeing the everyday struggles that she went through, and how she worked her way to a solution. The lessons she learns are real ones, and even adults can learn them, too.

Buy The List of Things That Will Not Change at Amazon

Born and raised in New York City, M.K. French started writing stories when very young, dreaming of different worlds and places to visit. She always had an interest in folklore, fairy tales, and the macabre, which has definitely influenced her work. She currently lives in the Midwest with her husband, three young children, and a golden retriever.

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  1. sounds like this could be insightful for the middle graders
    sherry @ fundinmental