8 YA Books that feature characters with families who are alive and important to the plot

It’s common knowledge that YA books largely lack familial relationships the parents are often dead or absent and the characters often don’t have any adult figures in their lives at all. Even in contemporary YA the parents or guardians don’t tend to play a important role in the story, I’ve wanted to do a post for a while about YA books that have families who are a active part of the plot and with fathers day right around the corner now seems like the perfect time.

Second Chance Summer

Taylor and her family go to their summer house that they haven’t been to in years, and soon Taylor realizes that she has a second chance after making some mistakes in the past. I found the familial relationships to be heartwarming and realistic. This is the heaviest Morgan Matson novel, Taylor is grieving, but it’s also a story about hope and growth.

Girl Out of Water

One of the main themes of Girl Out of Water is family. Surfergirl Anise’s summer plans are interrupted when she has to go to Nebraska with her dad to assist her injured aunt who is a single mom to three, Aniese looks after her three cousins while coming to terms with her mom’s absence. She also meets a boy named Lincoln who further complicates her summer, teaches her how to skate, and helps her to find the joy in her current situation.


This is a Beauty and the Beast retelling, my favorite one actually, just like the original tale the main character Yeva has two sisters and she has a single father. I don’t remember Yeva’s family having all that much page time, but I know they are really important to Yeva and influence her choices, including her decision to stay at the beast’s castle in order to save her father. This book is so magical, and Yeva is an amazing main character who’s story really resonated with me.

Girl on a Wire

Jules has two parents who are alive, and together which is such a rarity in YA. She also lives with her brother and grandmother and is close to both. This is an underrated gem it’s set in a circus and has a little bit of magic, it’s delightful and deserves more attention.

Love and Gelato

This actually does have one dead parent, but it’s central to the story. It’s about a girl who travels to Italy to meet her dad after losing her mother. She of course meets a cute boy but it’s mainly about her getting to know her dad. It made me want to go to Italy and eat an absurd amount of Gelato.

The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender

This book is one of the most beautiful books I’ve ever read, it’s one of my all time favorites. It is vastly different in tone than all the other books on this list, it’s darker and has moments of that are heart wrenching, but the ending is hopeful and empowering in a way. This is a generational tale it cranologs the lives of multiple women in the Roux family who are all magical in some way, and who all have love lives. It focuses the most on Ava who was born with wings and is mistaken for an angle.

With the Fire on High

Emoni is a high school senior who lives with her grandmother and is a teen mom who is really just trying her best, she’s supper responsible and I think it would be impossible not to root for her. This book is full of charm, deliciously described food, it’s a quick read and I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it.

A Thousand Pieces of You

It has been a few years since I read this, I remember being pleasantly surprised by how active Marguerite’s parents are, and you she also has an aunt and a sister. I’m not the bigest sci fi fan, but I had a lot of fun with this trilogy, the different universes were all imaginative and you never really know what’s going to happen next.

3 thoughts on “8 YA Books that feature characters with families who are alive and important to the plot

  1. I’m currently reading With the Fire on High and I’m loving it! And Second Chance Summer and Love and Gelato are both on my shelf, but I’ve put them off because of the possible sadness factor. 😃 I need to give them a chance soon.

    Liked by 1 person

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