Cover image for Things change
Things change
Jones, Patrick, 1961-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Walker & Co., [2004]

Physical Description:
216 pages ; 22 cm
Sixteen-year-old Johanna, one of the best students in her class, develops a passionate attachment for troubled seventeen-year-old Paul and finds her plans for the future changing in unexpected ways.
Reading Level:
710 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR UG 4.7 9.0 78784.

Reading Counts RC High School 3.9 15 Quiz: 39151 Guided reading level: NR.
Format :


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Y FICTION Young Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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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 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.

Author Notes

Patrick Jones is a former librarian for teenagers. He received lifetime achievement awards from the American Library Association and the Catholic Library Association in 2006. He is the author of numerous books including Things Change, Chasing Tail Lights, The Tear Collector, and The Gamble.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 8-11. Sixteen-year-old Johanna has always been daddy's perfect tough little Marine girl --a determined student who usually gets what she wants. Now she has her first boyfriend, Paul, the disturbing, anger-filled student body president. As Johanna and Paul become more involved, Johanna's grades drop, her relationships with her parents and best friend are compromised, and her life is jeopardized. From the opening sentence, I want you to kiss me, to the ominous conclusion, this is a compelling novel about teen dating, violence, and the tangled web of love and pain that permeates such dangerous relationships. Paul's pinning the blame on his violent father, who died long ago, may seem pat, and angry, poignant letters to his dad seem contrived, but readers will easily understand Johanna's excitement and attraction, as well as her need for love and security. Jones, the author of a number of professional materials for YA librarians, avoids didacticism in a debut novel that is both forceful and cautionary. For YAs wanting still another book on the subject, suggest Sarah Dessen's Dreamland (2000). --Frances Bradburn Copyright 2004 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

"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.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

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 (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.