Hello friends! Recently, I had the idea to share my favorite books that use the found family tropes and as I was working on that post, I realized that there are so many bookish families in general – i.e. books where the characters are related to each other – that I’d love to scream about. That’s how today’s post – which, in the end, is going up before the found family one – was born.
I’ve said it many times that for me, the characters can make or break a book, and I think that a great family is something that can add a lot to the characterization. I love seeing how much the characters care for their families, how they banter with them and how they handle conflicts within the family.
Only Mostly Devastated by Sophie Gonzales
Only Mostly Devastated has one of the most gorgeous families I’ve ever read about. Ollie, the main character, and his parents decide to uproot their lives and move close to his aunt and her family, as she is currently battling cancer. Ollie’s family is so loving and supportive, and I especially adored his relationship with his little cousins who he had to babysit when his aunt and uncle couldn’t be with them. At the same time, Ollie’s love interest – Will – is someone who is not out to his family and who dreads coming out to them, because he is unsure if they’ll accept him. So there too, we have a really well-written family, albeit a lot less wholesome than Ollie’s family is.
You Had Me at Hola by Alexis Daria
Ashton, the hero in You Had Me at Hola – an actor currently playing one of the leading roles in a bilingual rom-com, opposite the heroine – has a son he is raising alone… and in secret. See, he knows just how intrusive the media and the fans can be, and he doesn’t want his son to suffer because of them. While Ashton spends a lot of time away from his son, their relationship is nonetheless very powerful and I loved seeing what an important part Ashton’s son played in his life. At the same time, Jasmine too has a pretty great – and massive – family, so I had fun reading about them, too. I especially loved the ending where Jasmine and Ashton’s families met for the first time.
The Ravenels by Lisa Kleypas
I think one of the main strengths of Lisa Kleypases historical romances are the families and the friend-groups she creates. Their love and support for each other is always crystal clear, which is the case in The Ravenels series, as well. Each book follows a different member of the family and each one shows how much these characters love and care for each other. The Ravenel family’s motto translates to “loyalty binds us,” and they certainly follow that very closely. I love them.
Psy-Changeling by Nalini Singh
Most of those who have been with us for a while will not be surprised to see me mention Psy-Changeling.. after all, I push this series into most posts I write. 😅 But listen, it fits here too! While some of the Psy families are fantastic and their members would literally die for each other – I’m looking at the Laurens here! – I had originally thought of the series because of the changeling packs. Some are smaller, others bigger, but all of them are filled with laughter and love. When it comes to bigger packs / communities, these might not function like a big family, but it’s close enough, I think, so if you like big families, this series is a must-read.
Darius the Great Is Not Okay by Adib Khorram
When I started to think about which books I could include in this post, I already knew that I wouldn’t want to fill it with only perfect families, as I think that families with issues can be just as valuable to read about. Darius, the protagonist, is about to take his first ever trip to his mom’s home-country, Iran, to visit his grandparents, and he is worried, to say the least. He has only seen his grandparents through video chat, doesn’t really speak Farsi and in general he doesn’t know as much about his culture as he thinks he should. It takes time for Darius and his grandparents to find common ground and it takes even longer for him and his dad to sit down and have a talk over how their relationship went wrong. Such a well-written novel and one you shouldn’t miss out on.
I Wish You All the Best by Mason Deaver
As the novel follows Ben, a nonbinary teen who is thrown out of their house after they come out to their parents, I obviously don’t mean Ben’s parents when I talk about their family. After Ben is thrown out, they are forced to reach out to their estranged sister, Hannah, who accepts Ben with open arms into her and her husband’s home. However, the siblings haven’t talked to each other in years and they struggle to communicate their feelings, thus their relationship is not exactly smooth at first. Even so – or exactly because of that – it was fantastic to see how Hannah and Ben’s relationship developed and how they became a real family by the end of the novel.
Hidden Legacy by Ilona Andrews
So far, I’ve only read the first three books in the series, but boy, do I love Nevada’s family. They are incredibly loving and supportive, and they wouldn’t just help each other hide a body.. they would genuinely kill for each other. At the same time, all of their interactions are so entertaining and are filled with banter and teasing. They’re just a really good combination of comic relief and giving the readers some love-filled scenes in-between all the action. I can’t wait to continue on with the series – Nevada’s story has more or less come to a close, but her sister’s is just beginning.
Act Like It by Lucy Parker
I feel like this one has less of a focus on family than the others I mentioned, but I love Laini’s family so much and I wanted to give them a shout out. I loved that Laini had a really incredible bond with her parents as well as with her siblings and their many-many offspring. I also adored how Laini was able to form such a close friendship with one of her sisters in law. Now that I think about it, nearly all the books in the London Celebrities series feature – maybe all? – the main characters’ families, although if I remember correctly, none of those relationships is particularly healthy or good. But they are all written with care, in my opinion.
Are there any bookish families you adore? Do you prefer to read about found families or families where the characters are related by blood? (I like them equally, if you are wondering, and consider them equal in every way.) Have you read any of my picks?