Parents' Guide to

The List of Things That Will Not Change

By Joly Herman, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 9+

Pitch-perfect divorce tale speaks to modern family life.

The List of Things That Will Not Change Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

age 8+

Based on 1 parent review

age 8+

Funny, heartwarming novel enjoyable to both adults and kids

This was a page turner my wife and son both kept insisting I read another chapter and another chapter well past bedtime. My 9-year-old son kept saying, “Read on!” the whole way and my wife said it was one of her favorite novels and applauded at the end. The 12 year old girl narrator protagonist is an imperfect role model but someone you can relate to who sometimes makes mistakes, sometimes has big emotions, sometimes insightful, and ultimately someone you empathize with and cheer on. Her therapist, Miriam, is someone you wish all kids could have in their lives. I appreciated the way the author weaved together the story of a tween girl facing the challenge of navigating the divorce of her parents, and the creation of a new family with two gay dads and their respective previous families. I am thankful I was able to read my son a story about gay men and their families struggling against homophobia.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (1 ):
Kids say (1 ):

Poetic, heartfelt, courageous and bright, this story about changes in family expertly covers a lot of emotional acreage. Kids will relate to Bea's kid-wise yet innocent voice. She understands why her dad is in love with Jesse -- "The things Jesse brought never felt wrong. They felt like presents." But she can't control her annoyance at people like her teacher Mr. Home, who gives special lunch privileges to kids who get great grades on spelling tests, and Bea never gets great grades on spelling tests. Bea's emotions have all the color, intensity, and flavor of feelings that have never been felt before: the balloon-big feeling of elation, and the dark, itchy feeling of uncertainty.

Author Rebecca Stead crafts an intimate and unique story of loss, change, and hope with The List of Things That Will Not Change. She daubs New York City with a romantic glow, plunking a 10-year-old in the kitchen of her dad's restaurant while she nurses a cut foot, eating homemade butter sprinkled with sea salt on freshly made bread. She paints wonderful characters, like Jesse and Sheila, the sunny Southerners, who bring their love and tenderness to a child set adrift by changes. And she raises a quiet and powerful fist when Bea's dad gets married to the man he loves. The swirling splintering of a child's feelings of loss and love when a family goes through divorce has found a voice in this book.

Book Details

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