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
Gabbie Stroud is a freelance writer and novelist and recovering teacher. After years of juggling the demands of the primary classroom, she made the painful decision to leave the profession she had loved. In 2016, her critical commentary of
Australia's education system was published in Griffith Review's Edition 51 Fixing the System, which went on to be shortlisted for a Walkley Award. Gabbie's smash-hit memoir Teacher was shortlisted for Biography Book of the Year at the 2018 ABIA Awards and continues to contribute to the national dialogue on education. In 2020 her book, Dear Parents, offered a passionate call to arms for all parents. Gabbie's first novel, Young Adult fiction Measuring Up was published by Scribe in 2009. The Things That Matter Most is her debut fiction for adults. Gabbie lives on Yuin Nation on the far south coast of New South Wales with her totally awesome daughters, Olivia and Sophie.