Rather Be Reading » A Blog by Two Busy Girls Who Always Find Time For a Each Other

Masthead header

Dive Into Diversity Family Series: Stepfamilies

Dive Into Diversity Reading Challenge

We’re continuing to delve into what exactly diversity is and I’ve really decided to hone in on family. Not everyone has a traditional family. The APA says that 40-50% of marriages will end in divorce. My mom’s first marriage did. It was just my mom and I for a little while until my dad (what I call my stepdad because I have never met, nor do I ever want to meet, my bio dad) unexpectedly popped into our lives. They married just before my second birthday. Four and six years later, my half-brother and half-sister were born.

I have blonde hair, blue eyes, lots of freckles, and fair skin. I’m curvy and have stocky legs. My brother and sister have my dad’s gorgeous olive skin tone, brown eyes, brown hair, and they inherited his chicken legs, too. I can only guess at what features I might have inherited from my bio dad’s genes. While this hasn’t ever bothered me, it’s caused some bumps along the way for us. (i.e. My school superintendent finding out about my bio dad my senior year in high school and publishing my name as the school valedictorian with his last name though it’s never been my given name. Oh, small town hate and politics.)

Magan

This is my crazy family! From l-to-r: Dad, Dustyn (husband), Justin (brother), Mom, Ashley (sister), and Jacob (Ashley’s boyfriend). They were throwing snowballs at me in Alaska where we celebrated my parent’s 25th wedding anniversary together.

Our nuclear, “traditional” families have evolved and changed so much. Through my upcoming Dive Into Diversity posts, I’ll be exploring books with these family types: stepparents/step-siblings, single-parent families, same-sex parents, and adoptive/foster families. To be quite honest with you, I don’t want the typical family. We’ve been foster parents; we hope to again do that. I want to adopt. I want a fluid family that is ever-changing and growing and giving people a place to call home. My closest friends are my family. In a nutshell: adios traditionalism.

Let’s take a peek at some of the recommendations I’ve corralled for you (with the help of a few twitter recommendations some of you sent to me). These are focused on stepfamilies; 15% of people under the age of 18 are living in a remarried family.

Stepfamily-Family-Units-in-Books---Dive-Into-Diversity

Wild Cards. Derek’s dad marries a younger woman after his mom passes away from cancer. His dad is in the army, frequently gone, so that leaves him in the care of his stepmom. She relocates them to Chicago to be closer to his family. He and his stepmom’s sister, Ashtyn, who are the same age have a crazy attraction. It’s complicated, but Wild Cards is a great example of a complex family unit. (Ashtyn’s dad is a single-parent, too.)

Even in Paradise. Charlotte’s dad remarried and she has two stepbrothers. For many reasons, Julia’s family is attractive to Charlotte. She loves their closeness and how protective they are of one another. Charlotte comes to love and appreciate her own family more as the illusion of perfectionism fades for Julia’s family. I really felt like this was a solid example of envying what we don’t have.

Open Road Summer. Reagan’s out on tour with Dee for the majority of ORS, but we get the sense that things aren’t so peachy with her stepmom and dad when she’s home. Things are downright tense, and I admire Lord for tackling this because truthfully, not everything is perfect all because two people fell in love.

Stepfamily-Family-Units-in-Books---Dive-Into-Diversity-02

Ink is Thicker Than Water. Woo! Spalding created an incredibly awesome blended family in this novel. Kellie has a bio mom, stepdad, adopted older sister, and a younger half-brother. (Kellie’s bio dad is also still involved, too.) This book is a great example of a complex family structure, but also a really great one because we see boundaries and exploration to understand adoption. I loved it!

Eleanor and Park. Let’s contrast a great non-traditional family with one that just broke my heart, Eleanor’s. Her stepdad is one of the nastiest creatures I’ve met in my reading. And her mom was spineless. But you know what? This is the truth for some and I’m so glad Rainbow wrote this. So glad.

Geek Girl. This book falls on the younger side of my reading, but it also seemed to explore the earlier days of Harriet’s stepmom being part of the family. I don’t recall how long it’s been since Harriet’s dad remarried, but I loved getting to see her develop such a strong affection for her stepmom and no longer seeing her as an outsider.

Stepfamily-Family-Units-in-Books---Dive-Into-Diversity-03

Recommendations from Twitter:

The Wrong Side of Right. — Jess, Gone With the Words: “Stepmothers get a bad rep, so it was refreshing to see the beautiful relationship that blossoms between Kate and her stepmom, as well as her half-siblings. Her father was a different story, but really touching in the end.”

Being Friends With Boys. — Estelle: “Lonely with her older sister away at college, we get a chance to see Char grow closer with her stepsisters. I loved that we didn’t get the usual evil dynamics here. They are all so different but there isn’t any hate between them.”

A Midsummer’s Nightmare. — Amber, YA Indulgences: “A Midsummer’s Nightmare by Kody Keplinger is a great family dynamic story involving an almost “stepfamily”. Throughout the story, the main character Whitley is thrust into this new suburban town the summer after graduating. It’s in this new town where she discovers her father is engaged. To a woman she’s never met. Whitley then has to deal with her soon to be stepmother and step-siblings. The family dynamics in this are spot on showing that family doesn’t have to be blood related and not all blood related family members are perfect.”

Along for the Ride. — Lauren Morrill, author

One Plus One. — Kelly, Belle of the Literati: “Regardless of blood relations, deep love, understanding, and acceptance can occur between step parents and children. Sometimes the best kind of family is the one you choose or are ‘forced’ into and OPO shows the lengths we go to for our family, blood related or not. It’s beautiful. And selfless and unassuming and poetic. Yet this book also shows how blood relations can mean nothing and how family is a choice based on love and acceptance…acceptance most of all :)”

Which stepfamily/step-sibling books would you recommend?
Share the book love and I’ll update the post with a comprehensive list!

Don’t forget to link up your Dive Into Diversity April posts below.
Any diversity post you write, add it so we can check it out and spread the love.
Use our special hashtag, #DiversityDive, to keep up with what’s happening!

Check out Rebecca’s April discussion post, too!

Mister Linky’s Magical Widgets

This plugin requires intervention by this site’s administrator.

To display the widget for this post, please click here.

July 14, 2015 - 8:00 am

Cousins Siblings Friends | Dive Into Diversity - […] Plus it fits in perfectly with Magan’s closer look at family varieties (reminder to check out her stepfamily post!). Feel free to leave comments below, and let us know what diverse reads you’ve been loving […]

May 1, 2015 - 1:33 pm

Stacking the Shelves & Wrappin’ It Up April 2015 | - […] Magan @ Rather Be Reading delves into Diversity with books about step-families and reading recommendations! […]

May 1, 2015 - 3:30 am

Julia Anne @ Peach Print - I just joined in on the Dive Into Diversity reading challenge fun today, but I was happy to realize I had already recently reviewed a book in the “diverse book” category, and it was one of the books you mentioned in your post, too. 🙂

Julia

April 30, 2015 - 10:44 pm

It's a Wrap • So Long, April • Rather Be Reading - […] Kids: Bedtime Stories Dive Into Diversity: Magan explores step-families Pub Date: First and […]

April 21, 2015 - 11:56 am

Alexa S. - I love that you’re focusing on non-traditional families for Dive Into Diversity, M! It’s a fantastic idea. My family is pretty traditional for the most part, but I love reading novels that celebrate ALL kinds of families. Great suggestions for the stepfamily reads! I think If You Find Me should be another on your list 🙂

April 20, 2015 - 10:01 pm

Crystal - It took me a while to think of books with step-families. Outside Beauty by Kadohata is one. I will have to think about it some more.

April 15, 2015 - 8:24 pm

Rebecca @ Reading Wishes - Love your post, Magan. I think it’s really important to showcase stepfamilies in books, especially since they’re so present and a part of life for a lot of YA readers. While of course I want to read and see authentic representation on the page, it’s nice to come across a book without the evil dynamics, like someone mentioned above. Great to hear The Wrong Side of Right showcases stepfamilies in a positive light. Now I have even more reason to want to read it!

April 15, 2015 - 7:12 pm

Rachel - Gahhh, thank you so so much for this post. I have never had a traditional family and I have a REALLY hard time connecting with books that are heavily focused on the nuclear family because that’s just so far from my personal experience. I’ve read a lot of these, but I definitely have some new ones to add to my TBR!

April 14, 2015 - 4:27 pm

Ellie @ Ellie Reads Fiction - I just shared my review of Trust the Focus by Megan Erickson – a sweet MM romance of two childhood friends on a road trip finally coming together.
The issue of complex family relations was strongly present in the story – one boy was the child of divorced parents and the other was adopted. There were interesting family dynamics involved which influenced their romance.
Overall, as a fan of contemporary romance, I very much appreciate it when the stories reflect the present world in all its complexity, including the family relations. Thank you for highlighting this aspect!

April 14, 2015 - 3:45 pm

Magan - Natalie, thank you so much for checking out the post. I’m so glad you could connect and find some books to add to your to-read list. Thank you for your thoughtful comment! <3

April 14, 2015 - 3:40 pm

Natalie @ Flowers in my Books - This was a great post! It was nice to hear about your family, as someone who has grown up with a bio dad who is a step-dad to my brother and sister and then having my parents separate I know how important it can be to read books about non-traditional families (especially ones that bring it into a positive light). Thanks for the recommendations, I will definitely be adding some of these to my reading list 🙂

Your email is never published or shared. Required fields are marked *

*

*

Back to Top|Subscribe via RSS|Subscribe by Email