“The List of Things That Will Not Change” by Stead

List Of Things That Will Not Change book cover

Title: The List of Things That Will Not Change

Author: Rebecca Stead

Publisher: Random House 2020

The Plot: Ten year old Bea’s parents have recently divorced amicably and are now living in separate residences. Her father has come out as gay and will soon be marrying his boyfriend Jesse. While adjusting to these changes, Bea mostly has positive feelings about the upcoming marriage and is especially excited about meeting Jesse’s daughter Sonia who is also 10. As Bea adapts to the changing relationships in her life, she makes several decisions that create discord among her family.

My Take: I found this book to be a strong middle grade realistic fiction read because Rebecca Stead captures the mix of feelings that many children of divorce experience. Instead of having Bea wallowing in hurt and grief over her parents split, Stead chooses the more interesting approach of allowing her to experience joy and excitement over the new lives that her parents are building. I also appreciated how Bea’s character changes in the reader’s mind over the arc of the story. We learn things about how her that make her more interesting. Stead should also be given credit for adeptly handling the issue of a gay parent without making it feel forced or contrived. The author nests the topic of gay marriage within the wider scope of the family and builds the book on believable characters. This credible presentation of a contemporary mixed family prevents “The List of Things That Will Not Change” from becoming simply an ‘issues’ book.

One Interesting Thing About The Author: According to her website, Rebecca Stead’s parents, much like Bea’s, were divorced when she was growing up and had separate residences. No doubt Stead drew on these experiences when writing this book.

“Brendan Buckley’s Universe And Everything In It” by Sundee T. Frazier

  Brendan Buckley is a ten year old boy interested in rocks and Tae Kwon Do.  He keeps a journal called  Brendan Buckley’s Book of Big Questions About Life, the Universe and Everthing In It.  Lately he’s had plenty of questions for that journal.  While at the mall looking at a rock collection, his grandmother vigorously drags him away from an old man.  Brendan realizes that the man is his estranged granfather of whom no one in his family speaks well.  Using his curious and scientific mind, Brendan questions his mother and other family members in an attempt to figure out what happened between his grandfather and the rest of the family.  He soon discovers that it might have something to do with his racially mixed family.

I found this book pretty slow going.  I just didn’t feel any real energy to the book, any real crisis that moved the plot along.  I would, however, recomend it to readers who are looking for a book involving rock collecting or Tae Kwon Do.  Ages 9-11  Corretta Scott King New Talent Author Award Winner 2007