Mom and Dad told me about the divorce at a ‘family meeting’. 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. But that wasn’t it.
When Bea’s parents got divorced, there were big changes for Bea, and also lots of things that stayed the same. But it’s not always easy living in two separate apartments.
When her dad announces that he and his boyfriend, Jesse, are getting married, Bea is excited that Jesse’s daughter will become the sister she’s always wanted. But as the wedding approaches, Bea’s joy is clouded by a terrible secret she has kept hidden since last summer.
Rebecca Stead’s delightful middle-grade novel about family and friendship will be loved by young readers.
Rebecca Stead is the author of First Light, When You Reach Me (a New York Times bestseller and Newbery Medal winner), Liar & Spy (Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize winner and New York Times bestseller) and Goodbye Stranger (a New York Times notable book). She lives in New York City with her family. Visit her online at rebeccasteadbooks.com and on Twitter @rebstead.
'A beautiful reminder of the importance of making mistakes, feeling feelings, and forgiving yourself.' Carly Nugent
'[Rebecca Stead] can see into the souls of young people.' Shelf Awareness
When eight-year-old Bea's father comes out as gay, her divorcing parents give her a notebook containing "The List of Things That Will Not Change," an accounting that helps the girl navigate her shifting family landscape. Two years later, Bea is thrilled when her restaurateur dad and his adored boyfriend, Jesse, announce their engagement; the only child has always wanted a sister, and she can't wait to welcome Jesse's daughter, Sonia, into the family. But Sonia, who lives in California, has complicated feelings about the situation that surface when she arrives in New York City. It's one of many interpersonal challenges that deeply sensitive Bea an eczema sufferer who wears her heart on her sleeve faces that year, contributing to growing feelings of guilt and worry. Newbery Medalist Stead's knack for authentic tween voices ("I didn't think I could live through that moment of everyone looking at me") shines through in a first-person narration that explores Bea's rich inner life as she learns, with help, to manage her anxiety. Bea's interactions with her loving community convey particularly well-drawn dynamics that support themes of building resilience and savoring joy; together, these insightful moments layer into an affecting story of significant middle grade change. Ages 8 12.