The List of Things That Will Not Change - book cover
Growing Up & Facts of Life
  • Publisher : Wendy Lamb Books
  • Published : 07 Apr 2020
  • Pages : 224
  • ISBN-10 : 1101938099
  • ISBN-13 : 9781101938096
  • Language : English

The List of Things That Will Not Change

EIGHT STARRED REVIEWS! The reassuring book kids and families need right now.

"An absolute original . . . a story that kids will love." --R. J. Palacio, bestselling author of Wonder

At a time when everything is changing for Bea and her family, the important things will always stay the same. A soon-to-be classic by the Newbery Award-winning author of When You Reach Me.

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, and readers will discover why the New York Times called Rebecca Stead a "writer of great feeling."

"An undeniably beautiful book." --The New York Times

"No author writing today observes young lives with more clarity, tenderness, and grace." --Newbery Medalist Katherine Applegate, author of The One and Only Ivan

"Stead truly understands the inner life of kids." --Newbery Medalist Erin Entrada Kelly, author of Hello, Universe and You Go First

Editorial Reviews

An NPR Best Book of the Year

Praise for The List of Things That Will Not Change:

"A fabric woven of exactly the right threads.... An undeniably beautiful book." -The New York Times

"Uplifting without sentimentality, timely not trendy, and utterly engaging." -Kirkus Reviews, starred review

"An emotional character journey from a middle-grade master." -Booklist, starred review

"An affecting story of significant middle grade change." -Publishers Weekly, starred review

"The angst and worries that middle grade readers experience are brought to life through Bea's authentic voice in this must-read title." -School Library Journal, starred review

"The strength of this novel lies in Stead's authentic, respectful, low-key approach to the emotional life of a ten-year-old as recalled from the perspective of her slightly older self." -The Horn Book, starred review

★ "Ultimately, Bea survives, thrives, and grows as love remains constant but her world gets bigger, and readers negotiating their own changing lives will relate to her challenge and applaud her triumph." -The Bulletin, starred review

★ "Stead masterfully explores the internal life of a girl going through both extraordinary and run-of-the-mill trials in a way that tells readers they are not alone in their complicated, contradictory feelings about the world." -Shelf Awareness, starred review

★ "A dazzling middle grade novel from Newbery Medalist Rebecca Stead." -BookPage, starred review

"An absolute original . . . a story that kids will love." -R. J. Palacio, bestselling author of Wonder

"No author writing today observes young lives with more clarity, tenderness, and grace than the one and only Rebecca Stead." -Newbery Medalist Katherine Applegate, author of The One and Only Ivan

"Stead truly understands the inner life of kids." -Newbery Medalist Erin Entrada Kelly, author of Hello, Universe and You Go First

"From the moon, the wedding, and the cake, to Bea's mind, Rebecca has captured everything so completely, so beautifully. Truly a wonderful work." -Patricia Reilly Giff, author of the Newbery Honor winners Lily's Crossing and Pictures of Hollis Woods

"This is a story of love that enlarges, even though it is not always easy. We cheer ...

Readers Top Reviews

This book is an LGBTQ book that I've always been looking for. Its a happy book but can also be really sad, 5\5 rating! -my child
MagiMary Gallagher
This is definitely for juveniles. I am an adult who loved the authors Newberry award winner (that book is on my all time best reads list) so I purchased this hoping for more of the same. Unfortunately this is not nearly as captivating. It’s mainly a “message” book. While I think the messages would be very worthwhile for the intended audience I was bored and unsatisfied.
Wonderfully loving story of humanity, both young and old. Love is definitely a part of the list of things...for us all. This book celebrates live and growth.
KJSarahNanci Turner
I bought this book for my daughter, age 11. Since the plot somewhat mirrors events in our family I read it before giving it to her. What a wonderful, approachable story it was. The characters all have depth and it addresses some really difficult life issues perfectly for the “tween” age group. My daughter is halfway through the book now and really enjoying it. We will be looking for other books by Rebecca Stead!

Short Excerpt Teaser


The summer I turned ten, my cousin Angelica fell from the sleeping loft at our family's lake cabin. Uncle Frank says her head missed the woodstove by four inches.

She hit the floor with a bad sound, a whump. Then we didn't hear anything. No crying. No yelling. Nothing.

Until, finally, there was the sound of Angelica trying to breathe.

Dad got to her first. Aunt Ess, Angelica's mom, called from her room. "What was that? Dan? What was that?"

He answered, "It's Angelica--she fell, but she's okay. She got the wind knocked out of her, but I think she's okay."

From the loft, I saw Angelica sit up, slowly. Dad was rubbing her back in circles. Uncle Frank and Aunt Ess came crashing in from their bedroom, and then Angelica started crying these short, jagged cries.

The next morning, Uncle Frank said that if her head had hit the woodstove, Angelica could have died. By that time, she looked normal. She was wearing her turquoise two-piece bathing suit and chewing her eggs with her lips sealed tight. No bruises, even--she landed on her back, Dad said, which is what knocked her wind out.

That summer, my parents had been divorced for two years already, but I still thought about when Mom used to come to the lake cabin with us. I could picture her red bathing suit on the clothesline. I remembered which end of the table she sat at for dinner. I remembered her, sitting on the dock with Aunt Ess, talking.

Mom and Dad told me about the divorce at a "family meeting." I had just turned eight. We'd never had a family meeting before. I sat on the couch, between them. They didn't look happy, and I suddenly got worried that something was wrong with our cat, Red. That they were going to tell me he was dying. A boy in my class that year had a cat who died. But that wasn't it.

Dad put his arm around me and said that some big things were going to change. Mom squeezed my hand. Then Dad said they were getting divorced. Soon he was going to move out of our apartment, into a different one.

I said, "But I'm staying here, right?" I looked at Mom.

Dad said I was going to have two homes, and two rooms, instead of one. I was going to live in both places.

I could think of only one person in my class whose parents were divorced: Carolyn Shattuck. Carolyn had a navy-blue sweatshirt with one big pocket in front. Until the family meeting, I had wanted one just like it.

I said, "What about Red?"

Mom said Red would be staying with her. "With us--you and me."

You and me. That made me feel awful. Because back then I couldn't think of Mom and me without Dad.

Dad said, "Things are changing, Bea. But there's still a lot you can count on. Okay? Things that won't ever change."

This was when they gave me the green spiral notebook and the green pen. (My favorite color is green.) In the notebook, they had made a list. The list was called Things That Will Not Change.

I started reading:

1. Mom loves you more than anything, always.

2. Dad loves you more than anything, always.

I skipped to the end, uncapped the green pen, and wrote:

7. Red will stay with me and Mom.

I said, "I want my rainbow to stay here, too. Over my bed." Dad painted that rainbow, right on the wall, when I was really little.

Mom said, "Yes, of course, sweetie. Your rainbow will stay right where it is."

I wrote that down, too. Number 8.

Dad moved into a different apartment a month later.

I go back and forth between them.

Here's how it works:

MONDAY is a DAD day.

TUESDAY is a MOM day.


THURSDAY is a MOM day.



THE WEEKEND alternates.



SUNDAY alternates.

Before Dad moved out, I thought of the weekend as Saturday and Sunday. Now I think of the weekend as Friday and Saturday. And I think of Sunday as SUNDAY.

Right after the family meeting, I found Red asleep in the laundry basket and carried him to my room, where I opened my new notebook. I looked at the list of Things That Will Not Change.

My parents had written:

1. Mom loves you more than anything, always.

2. Dad loves you more than anything, always.

3. Mom and Dad love each other, but in a different way.

4. You will always have a home with each of us.