The List of Things That Will Not Change – Rebecca Stead – Wendy Lamb Books – Published 7 April 2020




After her parents’ divorce, Bea’s life became different in many ways. But she can always look back at the list she keeps in her green notebook to remember the things that will stay the same. The first and most important: Mom and Dad will always love Bea, and each other.

When Dad tells Bea that he and his boyfriend, Jesse, are getting married, Bea is thrilled. Bea loves Jesse, and when he and Dad get married, she’ll finally (finally!) have what she’s always wanted–a sister. Even though she’s never met Jesse’s daughter, Sonia, Bea is sure that they’ll be “just like sisters anywhere.”

As the wedding day approaches, Bea will learn that making a new family brings questions, surprises, and joy

My thoughts

List of Things That Will Not Change is a beautiful uplifting novel about acceptance and family of all shapes and sizes. Perfect for those looking for a middle-grade novel about LGBT families, step-siblings, divorce, making mistakes and growing up.

Bea keeps a notebook that contains the List of Things That Will Not Change. Ever since her parents’ divorce she knows that some things are now different and some things will stay the same. When her Dad announces his engagement to his boyfriend, Jesse, Bea couldn’t be happier. But the best news of all is that she will be getting a sister. Meeting Sonia, Jesse’s daughter, is exciting for Bea, but Sonia has a lot of changes in her life and she isn’t exactly sure how she feels about those changes. Bea is sure she can help, but Bea is hiding her own secrets.

It’s so easy to love Bea. She’s honest and makes lots of mistakes. Throughout the book, she must learn how to face the mistakes she made. Some are easy to face and others have serious consequences. Each time she makes a bad choice, she learns from it, but you can sense that she is still hiding something, something that is eating at her and causing a lot of anxiety and guilt. Bea visits a therapist once a week and I loved that this representation of therapy, anxiety and working through you thoughts and feelings is presented in such a positive way.

Bea is a friendly, devoted and caring young lady. For her, she just doesn’t see the differences between people, can’t understand why some people would chose to not accept the people she loves. In this way, and through her “difference blind” the book offers a timely and wholehearted message about seeing and valuing love. Themes of divorce, stepfamilies, mixed living arrangements, making this transition easier for children, and family acceptance is all explored in a gentle and understanding way.

The way the story is told, with Bea narrating, jumps around on the timeline a bit, with years in between and flicks backwards and forwards, so it is sometimes hard to distinguish what is happening now and what is a reflection.

List of Things That Will Not Change is a timely and beautiful middle-grade novel.

More information

Category: Middle grade fiction

Genre: Contemporary.

Themes: Family, divorce, LGBT relationships, parents, step-sisters, friendship, acceptance, anxiety, mistakes.

Reading age guide: Ages 8 and up.

Published: 7 April 2020 by Wendy Lamb Books

Format: Hardcover, paperback, ebook, audiobook. 224 pages.

ISBN: 9781101938096

Find it on Goodreads