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Things Changeby Patrick Jones
Synopses & Reviews
Sometimes things change, and sometimes they don't...Johanna always feels like she has to be perfect-the perfect student and the perfect obedient daughter, which leads her to being the perfect outcast among her high school peers. They say opposites attract, and that could be the only explanation for her attraction to Paul. Always the life of the party, Paul won his seat on the student council by running on an apathy platform. Wherever Paul goes, laughter follows, and Johanna longs to be a part of his inner circle. And whenever Johanna wants something, she plans and works hard to achieve her goal. Getting Paul into her life turns out to be the easy part. Keeping Paul happy while juggling all her other responsibilities is tough even for an overachiever like Johanna. Soon Paul's happiness becomes more important to Johanna than her own. More important than her relationship with her parents and friends. More important than her grades, her safety, and her future.
"Alternating the perspectives of 16-year-old Johanna and her emotionally disturbed boyfriend, this psychologically involving first novel gives a frank, up-close look at a textbook case of dating violence. Johanna, a straight-A student, has always worked hard to please her controlling parents ('Love in our family was like a bad novel: all tell and no show') but has done little to make herself happy. Then she starts dating the boy least likely to win her parents' approval: ruggedly handsome, outspoken Paul, a senior and a kind of class clown who, Johanna soon learns, vents his anger by hurting himself and others. Predictably, Johanna's life changes drastically as she and Paul become involved. Johanna's passion for her new boyfriend is eclipsed only by her anxiety over hiding the bruises he leaves on her arms. Paul becomes increasingly possessive, insulting and aggressive. Meanwhile, Johanna loses her dignity, her parents' respect and her best friend's trust in order to keep Paul. Chapters told from Johanna's point of view convey a battle between heart and intellect. Paul's narrative reveals deep resentment caused by his father's abandonment and eventual death — especially Paul's letters to him, veiled in humor (they begin, 'Dear Dead Dad'). This dark, at times insightful book serves as a warning, depicting the teen scene as it is, rather than how adults would like it to be. The provocative conclusion may well send chills down readers' spines. Ages 14-up. (Apr.) " Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
They say opposites attract, and that could be the only explanation for Johanna's attraction to Paul. Wherever Paul goes, laughter follows, and Johanna longs to be a part of his inner circle. Getting Paul into her life turns out to be the easy part. Keeping Paul happy is tough, even for an overachiever like Johanna. And keeping Paul happy is a must, because when he's not, Johanna becomes his target. But can she find the strength to change her life when Paul's happiness becomes more important to Johanna than her family, her friends, and even her own safety?
Dating violence is an unfortunate, widespread reality, a problem that is coming more and more into the public's awareness. Nationally recognized librarian Patrick Jones's close work with teens shows in the realistic way he captures their actions and emotions in this novel.
About the Author
Patrick Jones is a nationally respected Young Adult librarian. He has written critically acclaimed books for YA specialists, articles for School Library Journal and VOYA, and has given seminars in 49 of our 50 states. He has just been invited to lecture in Arkansas, which was the one elusive state he was missing. This is Patrick's first novel for teens.
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