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Things Change
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Things Change

4.7 31
by Patrick Jones

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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


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.

Editorial Reviews

Washington Post Book World
Even as contemporary young adult novels push the raw and seamy edges of the literary envelope, the classic coming-of-age quest remains the heartbeat of the genre. In his first novel, Things Change, Patrick Jones addresses this durable theme by way of an abusive relationship between a pair of troubled teens. He tells the story from alternating viewpoints as the victim and her boyfriend struggle with the powerful forces that drive their actions....Jones, author of several books for librarians, writes with considerable passion. Though his approach is heavy-handed, readers will feel for Johanna and Paul as they try to make sense of their problems.
Deb Vanasse
Publishers Weekly
"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," wrote PW. Ages 13-up. (Apr.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Talk about a love story for the ages: Johanna is an insecure high school junior who opens the book with an uncharacteristic act of romantic pursuit. The object of her desire, Paul, is a class clown with a fear of abandonment and a tendency toward violence, making him total bad news wrapped up in an appealing package—a dangerous mix. In no time at all, Paul and Johanna have become each other's entire worlds, to the chagrin of her parents. Their story is a very tough one to read, primarily because the reader gets so frustrated with the choices Johanna makes to remain with Paul as long as she does. Fortunately Johanna ultimately realizes what she has gotten herself into. The question is, how will she get out? As aggravating and as stupid as Johanna appears here, there are young women—and adult women—in exactly the same situation. If just one of them reads this book and recognizes that she has hooked herself to a louse—albeit one with apparent redeeming traits such as a sense of humor or a tormented soul—and gets out of that relationship, then the book has done what the author obviously set out to do. VOYA Codes 4Q 3P J S (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Will appeal with pushing; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12). 2004, Walker, 224p., Ages 12 to 18.
—Matthew Weaver
Children's Literature
Johanna is dating the one guy about whom she has always dreamed. Paul, a senior with a gorgeous car, cool friends, and a rebel-without-a-cause attitude, is exactly what Johanna has wanted in her straight-laced, parent-controlled world. Their relationship starts out as a "dream come true" for Johanna, but things change. She finds herself trying to cover bruises where Paul has poked her a little too hard or pushed her into something; and long-sleeve shirts become a necessity to cover the "unintentional" damage. Unfortunately for Johanna, the abuse has a higher cost than just some bumps and bruises. After losing all of her friends and distancing herself from her parents, she feels alone in the world and imagines that she is carrying the weight of the abuse without help. Because of this, she clings to Paul and his promise that, "Everything is going to be okay." Through unexpected channels of friendship that arise among Paul's friends, Johanna discovers that she is not alone. She finds the support to be able to do what she needs to do and the hope that things really can change. This book gives insight to young adults about the dangers of physical abuse and the repercussions of being in abusive relationships. It also emphasizes the importance of recognizing abuse and getting out of the situation. It gives voice to a discussion that is difficult to bring up with younger people, and will help facilitate discussion on issues of abuse and the loss of parents. 2004, Walker and Company, Ages 12 to 17.
—Renee Pelton
School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up-Johanna, 16, is a straight-A student with near perfect SATs. She adores Paul, a handsome senior, from a shy, self-conscious distance. When he begins to return her affections, she's dumbfounded and ecstatic. Then he hits her. Scared, she leaves him. He promises to change. Her heart and fragile ego win over her brain and self-respect and she takes him back. All the while he drinks and writes maudlin, self-pitying letters to his dead dad. As Janet Tashjian did in Fault Line (Holt, 2003), Jones adds an abusive father to give his teenage abuser pathos. The great difference between the two stories is in the deftness with which Tashjian created a truly charming abuser. Jones states over and over that Paul is funny, but often fails to show this in his interactions with Johanna. His quips are so smarmy and ingratiating that readers doubt her intelligence just because she laughs. The characters often speak without contractions, so the dialogue can be more stiffly editorial than believably teenage. Images are repeated as motifs, but most are more tiresome than meaningful. The constant references to Bruce Springsteen, which may confuse or annoy a 2004 teen, fail to move the plot or establish mood; the music serves only as a cheap symbol of Paul's anger. Johanna's struggle, pain, and final liberation are more convincingly written, and the novel shines in her scenes with Kara, a popular girl who suspects Paul's abuse. An earnest though clumsily told story.-Johanna Lewis, New York Public Library Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Jones examines the neglected subject of dating violence. Sixteen-year-old Johanna struggles to live up to her parents' insistence that she be the perfect daughter. She earns top grades but fails socially. Her mother controls her entire existence, so it's no surprise that Johanna finds love with a boy who controls her as completely as her mother does. Both exhibit sudden attacks of anger, but Paul often descends into violence against both himself and Johanna. Jones tells both sides of the story, portraying Paul as a bright boy trapped by poverty and the product of his abusive father. Paul's quirky humor and obvious need for love explain Johanna's attraction to him, but as she changes and grows, she learns that some things don't change-especially abusive behavior. While Jones's writing needs sharpening, often straining to be hip especially in his dialogues, this is a decent effort from a first-time author that deserves a wide readership because of its subject. (Fiction. 12+)

Product Details

Walker & Company
Publication date:
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
5.47(w) x 8.24(h) x 0.65(d)
710L (what's this?)
Age Range:
14 - 18 Years

Meet the Author

PATRICK JONES received lifetime achievement awards from both the American Library Association and the Catholic Library Association for his work motivating young people to read. He is also the author of many teen novels, including The Tear Collector, Stolen Car, and Things Change. Patrick was born and raised in Flint, Michigan, and currently lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

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Things Change 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 31 reviews.
KatieP97 More than 1 year ago
This is one of the best books I have ever read. It is heart wrenching and makes you really think about the real world. What made me really love this book is that, it was very realistic. The challenges these characters went through are some of the same alot of people are going through now. I highly recommend this book to anyone. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
this book is about a girl who finds a guy who she thinks is perfect for her but turns out to be something totally different. i like this book because it teaches you that abusive bf/gf's are not okay. and that no matter how nice you think someone is they can be a totally different person once they have you where they want you. when i was in highschool i went through a realationship like this one and if it wernt for my friends i dont know what would have happened to me. i think that this book is good for any teenager/adault to read, and i hope you enjoy it as much as i did.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
David_Acevedo More than 1 year ago
Alternating the views 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 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. Johanna's life changes 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. This dark, at times alerting book serves as a warning, describing 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
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brittney14 More than 1 year ago
Want to read a heart stabbing book that focuses on the devastating reality of the world, and that will open your eyes? Things Change has it all: it is packed full of romance, drama, and true life tragedies that make you want to cry. Johanna is your ordinary high school girl. She gets outstanding grades and she is a typical bookworm who wants to find love. She takes a chance and asks the boy of her dreams, Paul, to kiss her. Johanna gets turned down but, that dose not keep Johanna from dreaming. She never imagined that Paul would pull up in the school parking lot and offer her a ride home. Being the girl who thinks that she really truly loved him, she got in the car. All Johanna wants is to have Paul like her the way she likes him. When he invites her to a party she is so happy, but when he changes his mind about the kiss she is so happy it is like she can not contain herself. That kiss really gets the story going because you really want to know if they become a couple or not. Johanna is a really innocent girl and Paul is the boy who gets into trouble at school, and dose not care what other people think. The way these characters were developed I thought they were real people. The major of the story is that Johanna's boyfriend Paul is abusive and she wants to leave. She tried but it did not last long, she just loves him so much that it hurts too much to be apart. Will she stay and put up with him and his abusiveness or leave him for good? The major theme is that it is a cruel world out there, and you have to be strong and make the right decisions. What I mean by that is that if your let people walk all over you then you will never be happy with your life, and it will just keep happening. You truly understand the theme when you're reading this book. It will really open your eyes too what is happening in the world today. Until I picked this book up I never liked reading. Every time I would have to read a book for school I would hate it and wait until the last minute to read it. This book has changed the way I look at reading. In the past few months I have read several different types of books. Out of all of them I have to say that Patrick Jones is my favorite next to Linda Howard. I give this book a thumbs up. Although it never happened to me, it happens to many girls or women of any age, especially teen girls. If this has or is still happening to you just know that you are not alone. This book will give you an inside look on what really happens. I would recommend this book to anyone.
LilSouljaFaSho123 More than 1 year ago
The Book things schange is a really good book to read. It shows you how important it is to protect yourself when you are dating someone. It especially shows the importance of making sure about the people thatyou date. The main character Johanna starts to date her real actual first boyfriend. It turns out that he isnt the best fit for her.She went through their relationship together sometimes on edge becauuse after the first time that he hit her. she isnt sure what little things will really set him off to an extreme level. She loses friends, and then hides from her new friends what her boyfriend is doing.Eventually her friends find out wha is going on, but she has to get out the realationship before things get way to worse. But she struggles to do so because she is truly in love with him. But one thing pushes her over the edge...read the book and figure it out
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
Paul offered Johanna a ride home, and suddenly shy, "good girl" Johanna is saying, "I want you to kiss me." A junior in high school, Johanna has long admired the handsome, fast-driving senior. Now things have changed. She has found the nerve to make a move.

Although nothing happens immediately, Paul eventually begins paying attention to Johanna. Little does she know it's because he and girlfriend Carla have split up, and he needs a replacement. Whatever the reason, Paul and Johanna become a couple.

Grades used to hold top priority for Johanna, but they've been moved to second place to make room for hours spent with Paul. Needless to say, her parents are not thrilled and neither is her best friend, Pam. Paul wants to spend so much time with Johanna that he demands she choose between her best friend and him. There is no choice - Paul is the love of her life.

As time passes, Johanna begins to notice that Paul's gentle caresses are becoming painful slaps, squeezes, and pinches. His loving words are now put downs said not only in private but also in front of their friends. Johanna doesn't know about Paul's hidden problems, but she's learning fast.

Paul's personality surfaces in the novel through letters written to "Dear Dead Dad." His father left when he was twelve, and news came later that he died in a car accident. His mother lost her husband, then her home, and then she "found" Jesus, and Paul began fending for himself. Anger issues and drinking problems begin complicating his relationships. He always apologizes and promises that "things will change," but doubt about their relationship haunts Johanna.

In THINGS CHANGE, Patrick Jones paints a chilling picture of physical and emotional abuse. People often question why the abused continues to "love" the abuser and refuses to seek help. Johanna's story attempts to show how loss of friendships and alienation of family keep the abused from reaching out. This emotion-packed novel tells a story that shouldn't be ignored.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was amazing. It keeps you reading where you cant put it down. It is just so good that I was sad when I got done reading it. People going through the same things should read this book. I think it would help. :)READ THIS BOOK!!!!!! (:
Guest More than 1 year ago
I had a choice of books to read for summer reading and I chose this one, after reasearching all of the books. This one got the best reviews and seemed like a quick read, which it was. This book was not my thing, but it was well writen, a quick read and enjoyable. This book had some violence in it, bad words and sex in it, so it's not for younger kids. But, overall, it was a good book, but nothing special.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I absolutely loved this book. I read it in one day nonstop. It tells you a lot about life and dealing with issues. I can honestly say this is a good book for teenage girls to read. I loved it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved reading this book, just like most of the books I read I never put it down, i liked the ending, because it showed that he never stoped doing what he was doing. Is there a sequal? Anyways it was an awsome and well written book, good job!!!!!!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book felt so real.It made me really feel how the character.You could feel the pain and you could feel the love she was feeling.Best book i EVER read...
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book made me really think about the world and what happiness is. A lot of people are in the same situation as Johanna and are completely stuck in an abusive relationship. It took me until reading this book to finally think more about this. People/couples look so happy on the outside and I always wonder if everything is just as great as they make it seem. Things Change taught me a lot about what to expect in a healthy relationship and what to avoid. I would recommend more teens read this story, as well as adults, too. The author used amazing terms that really created a mental picture in my head. I wish there were more books like this in my library. This is one of my favorite books and I didn't want to put it down. People/couples look so happy on the outside and I always wonder if everything is just as great as they make it seem. Things Change taught me a lot about what to expect in a healthy relationship and what to avoid. I would recommend more teens read this story, as well as adults, too. The author used amazing terms that really created a mental picture in my head. I wish there were more books like this in my library. This is one of my favorite books and I didn't want to put it down.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Things Change, by Patrick Jones is a great book. All readers would enjoy this book, but mainly teenage girls. Some teenagers can relate or feel the pain that Johanna, the main character in this book, went through. In Things Change, Johanna, a 16-year-old junior in high school, was a straight A student. Her parents pressured her to be the perfect daughter. Everything Johanna did she succeeded in. Johanna had a crush on this bad boy senior, Paul. She decides to tell him how she feels she did it in a strange way: she just blurted out, telling him to kiss her. Paul reacted surprised. Paul ended up telling her he didn¿t feel the same way about her. This embarrassed Johanna. Paul was actually crushing on this other girl for awhile, but that girl just saw him as a friend. This upset Paul. He didn¿t handle it to well. You see Paul is abusive. He has a problem. In his past relationship he would abusive his ex- girlfriend. Paul couldn¿t control himself he would get angry so easily and take his anger out on people. Probably because when he was young his dad abused his mom and left them. All he left was a note basically saying, ¿Paul, you¿ll be fine, bye.¿ After Paul was rejected, he decided to give Johanna a chance. They ended up falling in love with one another. The thing was Paul would be abusive to Johanna also. Paul couldn¿t help but hurt her. All Johanna wanted to do was make Paul happy, but something would always upset him. Every since Johanna started to be with Paul her grades were starting to slip, she would talk back to her parents and lie to people about her bruises that she got from Paul. Johanna even lost her best friend because all she did was hang around Paul she didn¿t care about anyone else. Johanna couldn¿t leave Paul because she loved him so much. This book gives you the perspective of what women go through when they¿re in an abusive relationship. Negative things about this book is that its over too fast when its over you just want to read more about Johanna¿s and Paul¿s lives. Also you might wish things ended differently I sure did to a certain extent. I strongly recommend this book. Once you start reading Things Change you won¿t be able to put it down you just want to keep reading it. This book is officially one of my favorite books.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I often watch shows like Murey and Montel, and there are women being abusied. I think why don't they just leave...but this book shows you why it is trully so hard to leave. Great book that is hard to put down!!! :)
Guest More than 1 year ago
'Things Change' by patrick jones was awesome.Each character is just as intense as the relationship, and subject matter itself.Teens all over america face this problem and i have never seen or heard anything that brings it soo too life and makes it such an important situation. johanna and paul have the most intense, even understandable love and passion for eachother. Paul is faced with loving or hating johanna, pleasing or beating her,being who he wants and can be for her or falling back into the only example of love he has ever seen-abuse.While johanna is faced simply with giving her relationship all she has got and bearing the bruises or saying goodbye to the love of her life,and possibly the truest,rawest, relationship she'll ever have.To be honest-i am a hopeless romantic so deep inside i wanted to believe paul would change for johanna.i wish they could have been a happy and safe couple in the ending,i dont want to believe that paul loved anyone but johanna,or ever would-but as intense as he is-i know thats probably very unlikely.This book is the best-i love it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Things change is an excellent book because it made me feel the pain, sadness and love of the characters. This book is the first one that made me cry, therefore I think it's my favorite book because I believe if a book has that impact in my feelings, it is definitively a great book. If you are like me, you should read it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
this is an amazing book. if you choose to read anything, read this one.
Guest More than 1 year ago
well ive read many young adult book such as ttyl,ttfn,zipped but they were nothing to compart to things change. if you read this book youll get addicted to finished it . i even stayed up past midnight wanting to finish this book. its so exciting! i even felt some hate and love towards these characters.