A powerful and moving debut novel about a school community in crisis from the bestselling author of Teacher.
'Gabbie Stroud is a teacher whose classroom has expanded to embrace an entire nation. First in non fiction and now in moving, powerful fiction, Stroud educates us all about the tender, excruciating burden on the hearts of teachers today.' – Annabel Crabb
'Lionel Merrick stumbled into my heart like a kid late for class, then the whole book swept in after him … gut-wrenching and important.' –Trent Dalton, bestselling author of Boy Swallows Universe
The staff of St Margaret's Primary School are hanging by a thread. There's serious litigation pending, the school is due for registration, and a powerful parent named Janet Bellevue has a lot to say about everything. As teachers they're trying to remain professional, as people they're unravelling fast.
There's Tyson, first year out of uni and nervous as hell, Derek the Assistant Principal who's dropped the ball on administration, Bev from the office who's confronting a serious diagnosis, and Sally-Ann who's desperate for a child of her own.
Thank goodness for kids like Lionel Merrick. Lionel is the student who steals your heart and makes the whole teaching gig worthwhile: he's cheerful, likeable, helpful - and devoted to his little sister Lacey. But Lionel has a secret of his own. As his future slides from vulnerable to dangerous, will someone from St Margaret's realise before it's too late?
As secrets threaten to be exposed and working demands increase, each staff member struggles to recall the things that matter most.
A moving and compelling novel about teachers and their students by the acclaimed author of the bestselling books Teacher and Dear Parents.
'A real page-turner and heartbreaker, it will leave you aching with appreciation for the work good teachers do.' – Alice Pung, author of One Hundred Days and Laurinda
'Gabbie Stroud has written a powerful novel that captures the raw, the real, the heart wrenching and the absolute beauty of teaching in a community … I couldn't put it down. Stroud captures the raw and real truth of the life changing challenges of teaching in today's test focused, document driven, schooling system.' –Maggie Dent, author, educator and parenting & resilience specialist
'In this emotionally charged debut, Gabbie Stroud gives us characters we care about, instantly drawing us into the school community of a tough farming town. We feel the pain of these characters as they each face their own challenges and they're unable to focus on what matters most. This heart-wrenching story made me laugh and it made me cry. Poignant and compelling. A riveting, thought-provoking debut.' – Petronella McGovern, author of Six Minutes and The Liars
'A bittersweet love song to those who educate and care for our children, The Things That Matter Most is a profoundly moving novel. Brimming with love and heartache and anger and hope, this is a raw and passionate work, its characters so vividly and tenderly drawn, I keep wondering how they are and hoping that life is good to them.' – Suzanne Leal, author of The Teacher's Secret
'A rollicking ride through the gamut of emotions - laughter, sorrow, rage, outrage, joy. The Things that Matter Most lifts the lid on social injustice and the unreasonable demands we make of teachers while we abdicate responsibility ourselves.' – Joanna Jenkins, author of How to Kill a Client
'An unflinching and deeply moving account of the complex tapestry of human lives woven into and around a school community.' – Brendan James Murray, author of The School