The Listmaker is about twelve-year-old Sarah Radcliffe, an unpopular boarding school student who spends all her holidays with her eccentric aunts while her father travels around the world. But soon, Sarah's father will be coming home to marry the glamorous Piriel Starr, and Sarah thinks she will soon have loads of friends who'll be dying to visit her in her fabulous new apartment—she just has to survive one more summer living with the aunts.
Provides examples of:
- Calling the Old Man Out: Sarah overhears her Aunty Nat accusing her father of being neglecting and undeserving.
- Cloudcuckoolander: Sarah thinks that Aunty Dosh and Aunty Nat fit here.
- Daddy Didn't Show: Sarahs father rarely visits, despite promises, and often cuts short the times he does show up.
- Innocent Inaccurate: Sarah, determined to idolise Piriel, doesnt pick up on Piriels lack of interest in her.
- Jerkass: Sarah's dad. Piriel.
- Neat Freak: Sarah.
- Parent with New Paramour: Sarahs father is engaged to Piriel. Sarah adores Piriel and believes that when Piriel and her father are married, the three of them will be a family together.
- Parental Abandonment: Sarahs mother died when she was a baby, and her father neglects her, leaving her in the care of her great-aunts and rarely visits.
- Parental Substitute: Aunty Nat and Dorothy are parental substitutes for Sarah.
- The Complainer Is Always Wrong: Sarah.
- Wicked Stepmother: Piriel, while not exactly a wicked step-mother, is much closer to this than Sarah realises.