Happy Tuesday, friends! Hopefully most of us are enjoying a shorter week since we had yesterday off! We’re back for another Top 10 Tuesday hosted by the Broke and the Bookish. We decided to put our own little twist on Favorite Characters in a Genre and show huge appreciation for some awesome families we have loved getting to know.
See… the thing about YA is that sometimes the home life/the family are pushed into the background and we never get to know them or they never affect the story. This is something that plagues us because in our lives, our families were always affecting our teenage lives — whether it was positive or negative. Family dynamics just add such a richness to a story, and help us to better understand our characters.
Hopefully you’ll check out a few of our picks!
1. Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally: I just reread this book last week, and one of my main takeaways was Jordan’s mom and brother. Jordan is kind of a tomboy who is always thinking about football and her opportunities to play in college. Her mom is at every single one of her games, supporting her, as well as subtly trying to get Jordan to embrace her girly and creative sides. Jordan’s brother, Mike, already plays football in college and is at home whenever he can, pushing Jordan to play her best. When she finally shows interest in a guy, he’s totally excited for her (protective too) and wants her to go for it. (Sidenote: even Jordan’s dad who doesn’t always act ideally adds dimension to this story.) (Our joint review.)
2. Also Known As by Robin Benway: A family of spies? Totally a different upbringing than I’m used to. (You are shocked, I know.) Maggie’s parents had a lot of faith in their daughter to go on a solo mission. (Not like they could have done it, but still.) I think the mom and dad were funny, sweet, protective + they formed quite a tight family unit because of their spy talents and their lifestyle. Definitely a highlight of the book. (My review.)
3. The Difference Between You + Me by Madeline George: This is an oldie but goodie from last year that flew under the radar. It’s the story of Jesse, a strong girl in high school, who came out to her parents a long time ago. This quote always stuck with me: “Once,” Fran says, settling against the worktable, folding her arms, “I knew this kid who very bravely and bossily came out of the closet when she was only fourteen years old. She told me then that we can’t choose who we love. We just love the people we love, no matter what anyone else might want for us. Wasn’t that you?” Fran is Jesse’s mom + I have not forgotten the acceptance and pure love I felt when I read that scene. (My review.)
4. Queen of Kentucky by Alicia Whitaker: There are many reasons I related to this book: the main character was hoping to obtain some kind of cool stamp when she started her new school. Clothes, boys, music, makeup — there was so much to learn. And what I loved about Ricki Jo’s mom is that she was so accepting of this change, and her daughter evolving into a young woman. She still set realistic boundaries for her daughter, and disciplined her… she wasn’t just her friend. I really enjoyed their mother/daughter relationship. (Goodreads)
5. Not Exactly a Love Story by Audrey Couloumbis: This was one of my favorites from the end of last year (go read it!) about a boy dealing with a move after the divorce of his parents. We get scenes with both his mom and his dad, and they honestly couldn’t be more different. It’s obvious how much Vinnie cares for these two people who grew apart, and who have so suddenly changed his life. While his mom sort of drove me nuts (she has bad habits!), I really did enjoy the scenes when he was spending time with him and they shared common hobbies. (And they say teenagers don’t care about their parents…) (My review.)
1. Geek Girl by Cindy C. Bennett: I’ve read quite a few books recently where characters are in the foster care system. Oftentimes, the bad, negative side is the focus, and as someone who cares very much about these kids, I couldn’t have been happier to see Jen find two foster parents (who had two biological children as well) fight for her. They tried so hard to make sure she knew how much she was loved. One of my favorite, favorite elements of Geek Girl was the strong sense of family. (My review.)
2. Audrey, Wait! by Robin Benway: How absurd that Estelle also chose one of Robin’s books. (That makes me ridiculously happy to see because now I’m 1000x even more excited for Also Known As!) I told my husband, Dustyn, that I wanted to be like the parents in Audrey, Wait. They were so down to earth, so much so that I found myself laughing out loud a ton at the interactions between Audrey and her parents. They were such an integral part of all the drama surround Audrey and her terrible break-up. I loved that they were so caring and actively participating in their daughter’s life. I feel in a lot of situations, the parents in YA books wouldn’t have had a clue their daughter was struggling. (Goodreads)
3. My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick: Okay, so sure Samantha’s mother is downright atrocious sometimes, but let’s focus on the Garrett family. They have tons of kids, everyone is super close, they all have their role, and they’re a bit chaotic, but somehow, they make things work. I kid you not, guys, I’ve never wanted a big family (well, this big), but after finishing the book, I seriously considered having seven kids. Fitzpatrick just did so, so well with the large-family dynamic! (My review.)
4. The Survival Kit by Donna Frietas: I will keep preaching about this book until all of you read it! Family is so, so integral for Rose’s story after the loss of her mom. Her family loses its footing after she passes. Sure they have some problems, but it’s figuring out how to come together and move past the grief that makes Rose’s family so strong. Of course I contemplated choosing Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson for my fifth book, but I didn’t want to choose two really sad books, so note: that book is very, very highly rated for me + another greaty family example. (My review.)
5. Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins: I just love, love, loved Lola’s dads. They were humorous, a bit overprotective, and super uplifting. They kept Lola grounded when she seemed to have trouble finding her way. Some of my favorite scenes took place when Cricket and Lola were helping out with the pie baking for the bakery. (Our joint review.)
We can’t wait to see what you’ve chosen for your Top Ten Tuesday post! Thanks for checking out our favorite families in contemporary YA books!