5 Families We Wish (Or Don't??) We Were a Part of
The best life lessons are those learned from families…in the YA books we read. Jk—don’t kill me mom. I’ve learned a thing or two about being a human from my parents, but there are also plenty of things I’ve picked up from my favorite families in books. And, you know, there’s plenty of things I’ve learned from not-so-healthy families as well… All of these families are creepy and they’re kooky (and even mysterious and spooky!), but most importantly they teach us how to be better family members ourselves. So here are 5 of my favorite families in YA right now!
The Bone Houses by Emily Lloyd-Jones
I would join Ryn, Ceri, and Gareth’s grave-digging, dessert-baking, bone-goat-wrangling family in a heartbeat! Even after their parents died, they stuck together and protected their home through thick and thin. Ryn is the best older sister—her willingness to do anything for her family and to protect her parents’ legacy is honorable and admirable. And, I cannot stress this enough, I would do anything for that bone goat. I want to be bone goat’s human mother.
The Revolution of Birdie Randolph by Brandy Colbert
It’s time for another episode of “Why BIRDIE RANDOLPH is the best and you need to read it right now.” Along with all the other issues Brandy so elegantly tackles, one of my favorites is the discussions about family. Dove, her mom, and her Aunt Carlene are all struggling to understand what it means to be a mother, a daughter, and a sister. Who deserves to be a mother? Is it something you have to earn? The Randolph’s have seen their fair share of heartache. Their family isn’t perfect, but their bond and love for each other is unflappable.
Dear Evan Hansen: The Novel by Val Emmich, Steven Levenson, Benj Pasek, Justin Paul
What’s so heartbreaking about the Murphy’s story is that we’re introduced to them when their family is crumbling apart. After Connor dies by suicide, Zoe and her parents don’t know how to move on from guilt and loss. I love, though, that despite their complicated relationship with Connor, and each other, it’s clear that they’re all on a road to healing, understanding, and finding a way to move forward.
The Folk of the Air series by Holly Black
…DID YOU GUESS THAT THIS WAS THE UNHEALTHY FAMILY I WAS TALKING ABOUT IN THE INTRO??? It’s safe to say that the Duarte’s are 1) entertaining, 2) complicated, and 3) really, REALLY freaking complicated. Between Jude, Taryn, Vivi, and Madoc, they have a fair share of secrets and lies that changes their relationships forever. And can’t forget Oriana who, you know, keeps THAT secret. You know the one. They all do things out of love (???) for each other that, um…other families wouldn’t do. Jude’s relationship with her family brings lots of questions about what love actually is, what we owe our siblings and parents, and how far we’ll go to keep them from harm’s way.
Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy by Rey Terciero, illustrated by Bre Indigo
“Hey Google, put ‘We Are Sisters’ from The Cheetah Girls on.” This one’s technically a middle grade, but it’s one of my favorite graphic novels about families. So I couldn’t help myself! This is a modern retelling of Little Women (did anyone else see the trailer for the new movie???) where Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy are sisters in a mixed family living in present-day New York. It’s the story we all know and love, but made fresh and relatable. And, of course, I’m a sucker for a great book about WOC, sisters, and growing up.