This was actually a really tough one, so I’m sure it will be super interesting. I look forward to checking out other responses sometime later this evening. (Work is so busy right now, I definitely won’t be able to sneak a peak at lunchtime like I usually do!)
Top FIVE YA Books which feature characters who have active parents
Ever notice how many YA books–especially YA fantasy books–have lead characters with dead or absent parents? I set out to make a list of books where the character’s relationship with his/her parent is a major plot point. Bonus points if the lead character was involved with something magical or paranormal and the parent is more of a muggle but loves/supports their children anyway. I didn’t want to pepper this list with watered down versions of the kind of relationship I was going for, so I shortened it to five:
1. The Lynburn Legacy Trilogy (Unspoken, Untold, Unmade) by Sarah Rees Brennan
The kids are at the center of this story, but the whole town is involved and the parents have to fight the good fight as well, even sometimes stepping aside and letting their more powerful children lead the way.
2. The Young Wizards series by Diane Duane
Kit and Nita’s parents aren’t the type to let their 11-13 year old kids stay out long past their curfew without giving them some grief about it, even if they are just trying to save the known universe from destruction and decay. And, later, when the cat’s out of the bag about their magic and their important missions, they have an even harder task: coming to grips with their pre-teens putting themselves in mortal danger.
3. The Archived by Victoria (V.E.) Schwab
MacKenzie’s relationship with her parents comes into play in this series as the entire family mourns the loss of a child. It would have been easy to make the relationship completely distant, but instead its strained anyway, made even more strained by her constant absence and sneaking out. If it weren’t for the library of the dead, this has many of the makings of a contemporary YA family drama
4. The Raven Cycle by Maggie Steifvater
I love a lot of things about The Raven Cycle, but one of the things I love most is the various family dynamics. Blue and the boys make their own family in a way, but everyone is centered in where they come from. Ronan Lynch wouldn’t be Ronan Lynch if his parents weren’t who they are. Blue grew up in a quirky, female-rich household and relies heavily on her mother and aunts as the adventure progresses. Gansey and Adam have absent parents, but the trappings of their disparate raisings are evident in their outlook.
5. The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkowski
A little less strong of a parent presence in this one than some of the others, but the first volume of this series in particular struck me with it’s complex father/daughter relationship. It gets paralleled in book 2, between the emperor and his heir, but Kestral’s love for her father is evident even as she struggles to define her own course of action so very different from everything he stands for and the book would be much weaker without that conflict.
So to make this top ten a true top ten, let’s list some topic ideas that I came up with and really wanted to do, but had to reject because I could only come up with one or two books. Please, please, please, leave a comment and give me some recommendations of books that fall into these categories that I missed
Top FIVE lists I wanted to do, but I haven’t read enough diverse stuff yet
Top ten books which feature characters who are transgendered
- Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan
Top ten books which feature characters who are asexual
Top ten books which feature characters who are not as perfectly nice looking (too tall, too short, ugly, fat, etc.)
- A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin
- Dark Triumph by Robin LeFevers
Top ten books which feature characters who are “incidentally” people of color
This one is hard to title. Basically, I mean, books where the characters are POCs, but that fact isn’t completely central to their story. Some examples:
- Legend by Marie Lu
- The Lynburn Legacy by Sarah Rees Brennan
Top Ten books which feature (main) characters who are not romantically linked at all
- The Chronicles of Narnia (?-I’m pretty sure, but can’t remember)
Leave your recommendations; I’m in desperate need and would love it if we could come up with a list of ten for each. Some of you maybe even did on your own. If so, most definitely leave a link. And, of course, I’m fascinated to see what everyone else choose to list that I didn’t even fathom.