Things Change

Things Change

4.6 31
by Patrick Jones

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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

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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?

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+)

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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

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