Reading List: Family Stories
Families are anything but perfect, but the stories they share are what makes the world beautiful and vibrant. Under the right circumstances, family members confide deep-rooted truths in one another, allowing them to connect more deeply than they could have done before. Often, these connections grow between adult caregivers and their wards, but sometimes they occur between siblings, as well. This book list includes titles for teens ages 13-18 and highlights various family relationships in several unique circumstances. Through these novels, readers can learn more about themselves and the world around them.
Contributed by: Mary Lanni
|13 Little Blue Envelopes
By: Maureen Johnson
When seventeen-year-old Ginny receives a packet of mysterious envelopes from her favorite aunt, she leaves New Jersey to criss-cross Europe on a sort of scavenger hunt that transforms her life.
|I Rode a Horse of Milk White Jade
By: Diane Lee Wilson
In early fourteenth-century China, Oyuna tells her granddaughter of her girlhood in Mongolia and how love for her horse enabled her to win an important race and bring good luck to her family.
|Lock and Key
By: Sarah Dessen
When her alcoholic mother abandons her, high school senior Ruby winds up living with Cora, the sister she has not seen for ten years. There, Ruby learns about Cora’s new life, what makes a family, how to allow people to help her when she needs it, and that she too has something to offer others.
By: Tanita S. Davis
Teens Octavia and Tali learn about strength, independence, and courage when they are forced to take a car trip with their grandmother, who tells about growing up Black in 1940s Alabama and serving in Europe during World War II as a member of the Women’s Army Corps.
By: Sandra Belton
In 1948, while spending the summer with her aunt in West Virginia to find her family roots, Tilara begins visiting the “colored” old folks’ home called McKendree, makes new friends, and learns to love herself.
|Our Wayward Fate
By: Gloria Chao
Seventeen-year-old Ali is simultaneously swept up in a whirlwind romance and down a rabbit hole of family secrets when another Taiwanese family moves into tiny, predominantly-white, Plainhart, Indiana.
|Secrets of the Casa Rosada
By: Alex Temblador
Sixteen-year-old Martha’s life is transformed when her mother leaves her in Laredo, Texas, in 1990 with a grandmother she never knew, who is a revered curandera.
|Shadows on the Sea
By: Joan Hiatt Harlow
In 1942, fourteen-year-old Jill goes to stay with her grandmother on the coast of Maine, where she is introduced to the often gossipy nature of small-town life and discovers that the war is closer than she thought.
|We Walked the Sky
By: Lisa Fiedler
Seventeen-year-old Victoria escapes an abusive father by joining the VanDrexel Family Circus in 1965. Fifty years later, her writings guide her granddaughter, sixteen-year-old Callie, in facing the uncharted waters of public high school.
|What the Moon Saw
By: Laura Resau
Fourteen-year-old Clara Luna spends the summer with her grandparents in the tiny, remote village of Yucuyoo, Mexico, learning about her grandmother’s life as a healer, her father’s decision to leave home for the United States, and her own place in the world.
|Witch & Curse
By: Nancy Holder and Debbie Viguié
Holly Cather is sent to her aunt’s home in Seattle after the death of her parents, and there she and her twin cousins, Amanda and Nicole, become caught up in an intergenerational feud between rival clans of witches.
|You Can Pick Me Up at Peggy’s Cove
By: Brian Doyle
When Ryan’s father leaves the family during a midlife crisis, his mother sends him to spend the summer with his aunt in Peggy’s Cove, Nova Scotia, where he learns to fish and gets into trouble.