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The List of Things That Will Not Change by Rebecca Stead, #74 review

Publication date : 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.

What is a list of things that will not change in our ever-changing lives? In “The List of Things that will not Change”, we follow Beatrice or Bea as she is to her friends and family in this short story of growth, family, mental health and love. Bea parents are divorce because they love each other differently. Her dad is gay. After the divorce, young Bea has to bounce from one parent’s home to the next, alternating each day. There are Mom days and Dad days. My parents divorced when I was four, I’ve been in Bea’s shoes before. Upon he parents announcing their divorce to her, Bea received a green notebook and a green pen from them (her favourite colour). In it, they wrote a list of things that will not change. There were six things on the list for her written in a simple way so a child will understand that she is loved even though her parents will not live together anymore. I won’t spoil it for you, they are things I wish an adult told me when I was four.

Reading this book felt very much like reading a parallel of my life in the past. Reading on how her parents’ separation seeded her worry at such a young age which slowly weeded itself into anxiety made me reflect on how MY parents had a domino effect in my head growing up. Having Asian parents, mental health was not something they understand, I didn’t receive any consultation, counsellor, therapy or anything related to caring for a child’s mental health. Looking back, had my parents took the initiative in their guts to send me to a professional’s care, I wouldn’t have a difficult time dealing with my anxiety now. I wouldn’t have been a “troublesome child”. This just goes into proving how Asian parents should really pay attention to their children’s mental health instead of ignoring the signs. They believe in ghosts when something spooky happens BUT not mental health? * questions *

When Bea’s dad and his partner, Jesse, decided to tie the knot. Bea’s biggest wish will come true – she will have a sister! Jesse’s daughter is ten like Bea! Sonia will come to NYC to live with Bea, her dad and Jesse for a week during Sonia’s school holiday. Bea is overly excited, she thinks that they will be the perfect sisters. However, as time stretches and the wedding day nears, Bea learns that making a new family is not as easy and it brings questions, the ugly past, unexpected surprises and immeasurable joy.

This Newbery Medalist Rebecca Stead middle grade read is a story that grew closer to my head with each turning of a page. It is written with such heartfelt words that tugged on my heartstrings. I adore all of the characters in the book, I love the growth and self-realisation, the discovery of how to own up to your mistakes and that there will always be people who love you in different ways. It is a book of love celebrating love. Heck, there’s even a wedding in it! Not to mention all the quotes that had me holding back tears.

Thank you to @definitely.books for sending this book to me. It is available in all good bookstores now. #pansing

The two moons in the book cover is a symbol for the role it plays in the book

By elysianbooksish

The Bookish Faerie who loves to read and write, and bake too

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