A young girl overcomes some dark secrets from her past.
12-year-old Bea has a lot going on in her life. Her parents have separated and her Dad has come out as gay. It’s all good, though. He’s going to marry the love of his life, Jesse, whom Bea really likes. The best part of the impending marriage is the fact that Bea is going to get a sister. Jesse has a daughter, Sonia, who lives with her Mum in another state, but has come to visit. Once their Dads are married, they’ll be real sisters.
The future should be all rosy for Bea, but she has done some things in her past that she’s not proud of. She also has a few anger management issues and can often find life frustrating. One particular incident from her past continues to chip away at her soul.
There is much to enjoy in this story about the pains of growing and the shameful mistakes we make along the way. Author Rebecca Stead has a knack for capturing the troubled yet endearing voice of a young girl trying to navigate the constant challenges of school and family. Bea is a totally believable character and very likable, despite her faults. Readers will warm to her socially awkward ways and enjoy being taken along on her journey. Rebecca Stead also leavens the story with a lot of humour. Bea can be witty and deadpan, especially in her exchanges with her therapist, Miriam. These are some of the funniest scenes in the book.
A sweet story for young readers that deals with the dark subjects of shame and guilt. In Rebecca Stead’s capable hands these trials become a way to personal growth and ultimately something to celebrate.
The List of Things that Will Not Change, by Rebecca Stead. Published by Text. $16.99
Review by Chris Saliba
North Melbourne Books