The List of Things That Will Not Change — Review

Thought for the Day:

“There’s no money in poetry, but then there’s no poetry in money, either.”
~ Robert Graves, poet and novelist ~

Gifts for My Writer Friends:

Sometimes in our writing (books, stories, or even blog posts) we lose sight of the problem of plagiarism. It’s important. John Peragine has a terrific post HERE on Writers in the Storm that explains the different types of plagiarism. Good reminders here.

Revisions are tough, so I am always interested in good posts on revision. HERE is a really good post from Connie J. Jasperson on Life in the Realm of Fantasy that will help you focus on Transitions as you revise.

Janice Hardy’s posts are always so, so good. The one HERE, Are You Showing or Telling Your Internalization?, is simply great and not to be missed.

This week’s meme says it all for me, so I will go on and talk about something else for a change. I want to mention a couple of books other than the one I will review today. I recently won a board book on Carol Baldwin’s Blog. (If you aren’t reading her blog, you are missing out on lots of great reviews and giveaways and more.) The book is Our World: First Book of Geography by Sue Lowell Gallion, illustrated by Lisk Feng. It is a shape book and when open, it is the shape of a globe. Youngest readers will love it and will learn a lot. The other book I want to mention is Peace Like a River by Leif Enger. This book has been around for a loooong time. I’m in a book club with a bunch of former teachers and this was our book last month. I had read it a very long time ago, but I had it on my list of books I would like to re-read if I ever found time. The book club made me find time. Oh, my, what a rich, complex, and beautiful book. It made me wish I were still teaching, because it would be a great novel to teach in high school. Great characters, great setting, and a terrific story. The writing is simply gorgeous. If you’ve never read it, I recommend it. If you have read it, read it again.

Last week, I offered a gently-read ARC of The Time of Green Magic by Hilary McKay to one of you. This week’s winner is Nancy. Congratulations, Nancy! I will get your book out to you soon.

The book I want to tell you about today is one I should have reviewed here long ago, but I gave my copy to the school and, as often happens to me, it fell off my radar. But it is never to late to review a good book. The List of Things that Will Not Change by Rebecca Stead is a really good book. I’ve read and loved three other books (Bob, Liar & Spy, and the stunning When You Reach Me) by Ms. Stead, so I was really looking forward to this one. I was not disappointed. Here is the review I wrote for the San Francisco Book Review.

Bea is ten and in fifth grade when her dad tells her that he and Jesse are going to get married. A couple of years earlier, Bea’s parents had told her that they were divorcing because Bea’s dad is gay, although certain things would never change. They made a list and kept that promise.

Now Bea not only has to get used to having Jesse as a parent, but also to the fact that he has a daughter, Sonia, who lives across the country. She will be coming to visit and she will be Bea’s sister! Bea loves that idea. But with the wedding coming soon, Bea discovers that not everyone is as happy about the marriage as she is. Some kids at school say mean things and act differently. Also, Bea finds out that Jesse has a brother whom he hasn’t seen in years. She decides to do something about that and learns some hard lessons about families.

Rebecca Stead

Author Rebecca Stead seems fully in touch with her inner child. This book is told from a first-person point of view. Bea’s telling of her story perfectly reflects a ten-year-old girl in terms of the language, feelings, frustrations, and more, which are all spot on. This is a moving story, an important story, and it deserves wide readership.

I have no giveaway this week. I have donated the nice hardback copy I got to the school. Don’t forget to check for other Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday posts at the Greg Pattridge’s blog HERE.

21 thoughts on “The List of Things That Will Not Change — Review”

  1. I vaguely remember reading Peace Like a River but having trouble jogging the cobwebs to my memory away. Ill have to find it again. Great post. Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oooo! Am I the Nancy that won??? I’m so excited! And, I’m also happy when the kids at your granddaughter’s school get a great book.

    I absolutely LOVE Peace Like a River. Now I have to dig it out of my library and re-read it, because I agree it’s definitely worth reading again.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Excellent review. I love Rebecca Stead’s work. Kids today have to deal with so many different family relationships. There will be many who will benefit from Bea’s story. I often wonder how I would have dealt with a situation like this — of course it was a very different time. No, I haven’t read “Peace Like a River.” The board book sounds like a great gift book. Thank you for the recommendations!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I think I read Peace Like a River years ago. (I just read a review of it to jog my memory, since the title was familiar, and parts of the story are familiar.) Stead’s current book sounds pertinent — we so need diversity in literature with diverse characters to help guide the young through some of the challenges they deal with today.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. A great story I enjoyed, though I still put Liar & Spy as my favorite from the author. Thanks for featr5uing on our Labor Day MMGM.
    Superb links as I am always revising and careful not to borrow other copyrighted material.
    2020 keeps delivering the hits: 90 degrees plus here today and snow tomorrow. I’m laboring more today than I should getting things disconnected and put away in anticipation of an overnight freeze.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I ADORED this book so much! I completely agree that Stead totally understands kids in a way few MG authors do. You should definitely read Goodbye Stranger—it’s one of her other books, and it’s fantastic! The other books you mention sound great! The meme is the best I’ve seen here yet, which is saying something! I love the quote as well. Thanks for the great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Thanks for recommending Peace like a River. I just downloaded it from the library and already know I’ll love it.
    Thanks for telling us about another wonderful middle grade book. The List of Things That Will Not Change sounds like a story that needs telling!


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