the things that will not stand


Sebastian is at a university Open Day with his best friend Tolly when he meets a girl. THE WRONG GIRL. Her name is Frida, and she’s edgy, caustic and funny. She’s also a storyteller, but the stories she tells about herself don’t ring true, and as their surprising and eventful day together unfolds, Sebastian struggles to sort the fact from the fiction. But how much can he expect Frida to share in just one day?

And how much of himself and his own secrets will he be willing to reveal in return?

TEACHERS NOTES: Scholastic Australia


Sixteen-year-old Sebastian and his best friend Tolly are only two of many hundreds of school students who flock to the University Open Day. The idea was to get a glimpse into their future careers, but for Sebastian and his new friend Frida, what happens to them that one momentous day ends up being about far more than jobs and studies. Meeting by chance, Sebastian and Frida find themselves sharing parts of themselves, their pasts, and their hopes and dreams with each other in a way that neither of them could ever have predicted. Standing on the cusp of independence and adulthood, an unexpected connection emerges between them, and they encourage, push, and challenge each other to share with each other not only where they have come from, but also who they themselves really are. The value of stories and creativity, and the rewards that can come with summoning the bravery to share the truth about one’s past and current feelings with a chance-met friend, makes this one day in their lives a pivotal coming of age experience that neither of them will ever forget.

(From Scholastic Teachers Notes by Rachel Horsfield Carlyle)


As we know from Michael Bauer’s Don’t Call Me Ishmael and the award-winning and haunting The Running Man, Bauer can traverse the world of humour and heartbreak brilliantly. In The Things That Will Not Stand, one is juxtaposed against the other, and, while we laugh, just a few pages ahead the day darkens as the truth comes out about what Seb and Frida have both been concealing. Highly recommended for readers aged 12+. (Readings – Alexa Dretzke)

Absolutely amazing, I could not put this book down. Sincerely hope there is will be a series because I am just so in love with the characters. (Goodreads – Elyy French)

What a delight we have in Brisbane-based author Bauer, who I believe is Australia’s answer to John Green (Fault in Our Stars, Paper Towns) in terms of blending the humour and heart of YA in equal measure … If you are struggling to gwt your teen, especially your teenage boy to read, then this could do the trick. (QWeekend Magazine – Frances Whiting)

Bauer’s story’s are always a delight. He captures the terror and the beauty of the teenage years and wraps it up in a great deal of fun. We believe in his characters because they are not perfect, Some, like Frida, are damaged souls and some, like Sebastian, stumble along, meaning well and often getting it horribly wrong. As the story progresses, Bauer slowly peels back the layers, revealing new secrets and new depths about the characters. It keeps the reader emotionally hooked until the very end. (Goodreading Magazine – Wendy Noble)

This is both tender and hilarious. The compressed timeline of one day keeps the narrative moving and the one-liners flowing. We loved it because it didn’t just make us laugh, we also cried, and were challenged to re-think some of our preconceived assumptions about people and relationships. (Riverbend Standing Orders – Trisha Buckley)

Touching on a range of themes, Bauer’s coming-of-age novel explores the role friendship and trust play in the development of a relationship. It astutely deals with the teenage dichotomy of the longing for independence, while not yet being able to fill the shoes of an adult. Littered with film references (and most excellently, some from The Big Lebowski), The Things That Will Not Stand perfectly captures the uncertainty of those on the precipice of adulthood. (Reading Time – Fiona Miller-Stevens)

The kind of book I want to hug when I’ve finished. It’s a YA that will suit the younger end of the spectrum; short and easy to read (thankfully, because I couldn’t put it down -I read it in an afternoon/evening); humorous yet deep and an ode to creativity that helps us hope for and imagine a better future. So much love for this book. (Debra Tidball)

The action in this witty, thought-provoking novel takes place over the course of a single day, in which the readers catch glimpses of the two protagonists’ deeply scarred lives. With his knack for hilarious and at the same time utterly profound stories, Michael Gerard Bauer has created an intense read about grief, bullying, courage, and the power of storytelling. (White Ravens Review)


2019 CBCA Older Readers NOTABLE book.


2019 WHITE RAVENS SELECTION: The annual catalogue of book recommendations in the field of international children’s and youth literature.


GERMANY – Carl Hanser Verlag


Blog 111: On the setting of The Things That Will Not Stand


Sebastian: “See, that’s the problem I have with Life. It’s never just one type of thing, is it? Not like films. With films, you sort of know what you’re in for. If it’s a sci-fi film, you get space, the future, or aliens. If it’s action, you get gun fights and car chases. Horror, you get monsters and ghosts and basically shit-scared. Comedy, you get laughs and happy endings. Romance, you get the girl. Or the guy. Depending on your preference. See what I mean? But it’s not the same with life. With life it’s all over the place. One minute it’s tears. Next minute it’s laughter. Then, just when you think you’re headed for a happy ending, the monsters turn up. Or the aliens. Or someone with a gun. Or a car chase. With a crash. And sometimes people die. Yeah, films make a lot more sense to me than life. Plus, they’re a lot easier to walk out of or turn off.”  (The Things That Will Not Stand p168)

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The Big Lebowski: Are you employed, sir?

The Dude: Employed?

The Big Lebowski: You don’t go out looking for a job dressed like that? On a weekday?

The Dude: Is this a… what day is this?

The Big Lebowski: Well, I do work sir, so if you don’t mind…

The Dude: I do mind, the Dude minds. This will not stand, ya know, this aggression will not stand, man.

(From The Big Lebowski – Coen Brothers 1998 starring Jeff Bridges as The Dude.)