All about the fam: Types of families in YA // ft. lists and books

My family, is kind of infuriating.

(Sorry sis, you too.)

I love them, but they’re also the ones who get me the most angry/mad/sad/frustrated and sometimes it makes it really difficult to see the love part of the relationship!

But recently, my father got an injury after falling unconscious for a few minutes (thankfully he’s doing a lot better now) and it just made me remember how nuanced and complex familial relationships are?

I could claim my parents as super overprotective and that I don’t like them, but deep down a) only I can call them that and if it’s anyone else does, beware and b) I do love and appreciate my parents a lot and I would never want to lose them.

Which is why I love seeing family dynamics explored in books, because even if I can’t relate to it myself, there is probably someone who does, and there’s just so much you can do with it?

So that’s why, I’m talking all about different types of families + books that feature them especially in honour of Family Day here in Canada!!

If you’re still “meh” about family, well, let me just toss my casual mini-list at you and bribe you with chocolate.

    • You can get jealous be happy over how amazing the family is
    • You add to your character’s development (since family or the lack thereof can shape a lot of our character?)
    • You add tension! Do the siblings seriously hate each other because one betrayed the other? Do the siblings have differing values that one has to sacrifice for? Do you have a rebellious teen with conservative parents? USE THE TENSION.
    • Good families are as great as having 100 chocolate bars –> THIS IS A FACT.
    • Having bad families but ones that are nuanced and not just bad is good too!! (Because (sadly) not everyone has good families!)
    • Um, it’s more realistic?? Most people generally don’t just have… NO family at all? So you know, having some sort of family member might be a good start if you’re aiming for relatability*?
    • Cause I said so
    • Bye

*WHY ISN’T RELATABILITY A WORD. It should totally be a word. Also my font size isn’t changing and I’m disgruntled @ WP.

1. The loving Weasleys

Yes, the Weasley’s have now become a type. And I mostly define it as the supportive (and loud) family! It doesn’t necessarily have to be as large as the Weasleys (it could be) but generally they’re just super loving and caring and the sweetest!

  • Features a Molly Weasley, aka the caring and protective elder who will allow no harm to their children
  • Can be an actual mom or just the person taking care of the whole family (JULIAN 😭)
  • They’re amazing
  • Also features the Weasley children: more than 2 kids I’ll say?
Well, sweet when you’re not on Molly Weasley’s bad side.

Obviously Harry Potter, but apart from that, some other books are:

         

Click on the covers to be taken to Goodreads!

HI I LOVE JULIAN

AND STARR

AND SIMON

AND I FORGET THE LAST BOOK BUT IT HAD A GOOD FAMILY

Also shoutout to May on showing how to centre multiple images!!

2. The single parent dad syndrome

Soooo many YA novels have single parents!! Which, to an extent is totally fine, because we’ve gotten some AMAZING single parents in YA lit that I adoreeeee. (Namely, Lara Jean’s dad) Some characteristics of this family:

  • Dad usually ends up being super awesome dad or a not-so-great-dad
  • Parent may or may not improve over time in the eye of the teen as a mutual understanding develops
  • Features either a MIA or dead mother or possibly divorced parents
  • Can also be a single mother but I was too lazy to find books that apply

         

3. The good vs bad/evil sibling contrast

I just finished a book and am currently reading a book that both features this sort of relationship, so this one really stuck out to me! When done well, this is actually quite interesting. (Though I recommend not reading two books back to back with this trope hahahahaha)

Some of its characteristics:

  • Usually seems to be Good Brother vs Bad Brother but isn’t always (can also be Good Sister vs Bad Sister or Good Brother vs Bad Sister or vice versa; many options!)
  • The main character falls for the Good Brother/Sister or has to choose between both
  • (Not much of a hard decision, but hey, maybe evil people just aren’t my type)
  • “Bad” can be the “I am a roguish troublemaker who wants to seduce you” type or the “I’m plotting to murder you in your sleep” type
  • Or both?

         

Most of those books feature the evil type of brother but there’s also Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare or Tiger’s Curse series by Colleen Houck for the bad-boy/good-boy sibling love triangle aspect!

4. Abusive parents 😦

Where’s my heart, you ask? Oh, just smashed into pieces on the floor there, no biggie.

But seriously, abusive parents or parents with (untreated) mental illness who mistreat their children breaks my heart SO MUCH, especially knowing how it could very well be the reality for many people in real life. I CRY.

Listen, if anyone reading this is an abuse survivor: YOU ROCK and you’re amazing and I love you. And I wish I could send you all the love and support you deserve. ❤❤❤

         

Bad Romance: Tw for abusive romantic relationship (emotional), verbal abuse –> there may be more that I missed so please be careful! This is not an easy read. Stay safe. ❤

A List of Cages: TW for very graphic physical/sexual/child abuse (I legit want to sob)

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue: Not as graphic or present as the other two books, but Monty has an abusive father

The Young Elites: Not as present as the first two books either, but Adelina’s father was horribly cruel to her.

I’ve also heard Starfish deals with an abusive household, but I haven’t read it yet and don’t know too much about it?

5. All about siblings

Ah, siblings. What an annoying intricate relationship they have.

I have a younger sister, okay. She’s tiny and fierce and very very annoying!! But I love her.

Seriously, sibling relationships have my absolute HEART okay. They can be so precious and equally vicious and that is amazing. Who else can hurt/love you as much as a sibling? A book NO ONE.

  • Both biologically related siblings or otherwise (step-siblings, foster siblings, etc)
  • Low-key my favourite out of the different familial relationships here
  • SO MANY OPTIONS
  • Also see the good and evil sibling
  • It pulls at your heart so much seeing siblings either sacrifice for one another or stand up for each other???
  • Also younger siblings wrecking havoc
  • So precious in books
  • (But annoying irl)

         

Fact #1: Lara Jean, Margot and Kitty are the best sisters ever ❤

Fact #2: Kell and Rhy aren’t related by blood but they’re the most amazing brothers ever

Opinion #1: I didn’t particularly like L&L as much as I’d hoped but YES to diversity and sister-brother relationships

Opinion #2: Vanishing Girls was so good???? Hi, sibling rivalry but also SISTERS. I have a younger sister and I love reading books about sisters okay

6. The “means-well-but…” parent(s)

I think I identify the most with this one haha.

These are the parents who you know have their heart in the right place, but there’s always that “but” where their intentions don’t always work great with their actions. Unfortunately.

More mini-lists!

  • Featuring a teen who disagrees with the parents’ values/opinions (gasp! teens forming their own opinions!)
  • Sadly this is a reality for me
  • Also occasionally ft. parents you feel bad for because the teen is so mean to them but you know the parents are only trying to help
  • Also ft. parents you dislike because they’re being super unreasonable (ughhghghgh)
  • They’re not horrible parents but they’re not always completely good ones either?

         

GUYS AMERICAN PANDA AND REIGN OF THE FALLEN ARE SO GOOD FKSJFKLJSFSD *shoves books into your face*

Hahaha I was planning to get to 10 buuuuut I’m hungry and I want to go eat lunch sooooo I’m going to end it there!! :))) That’s a good 24 books for you guys to read, right?? GO READ THEM. *chases you down with a chocolate bar*

What other types of familial relationships have you come across in books? Have you read any of the books I listed? What are your thoughts? What’s your favourite type of family explored in books? Any other book recommendations?

LET US DISCUSS!

(Also happy Family Day to those celebrating!)

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