Hello friends! One of my most recent reads – not going to spoil which one just yet, you’ll see soon enough – featured a wholesome, beautiful found family, which has prompted me to write a post where I can share some of my favorite examples of this trope. This trope always makes me so soft and happy, so I can’t wait to share my favorite examples with you and hopefully sprinkle your day with some cuteness in the process. 😊
But before we get into the post – my original idea for this made me think of bookish families in general, including families where the characters are related to each other, so I’ve also posted a list of those, which you can read by clicking here.
The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune
I’m not going to keep you all in suspense – it was The House in the Cerulean Sea that made me want to write this post, aka my favorite novels of 2020, and one of the best books I’ve ever read. The novel follows Linus, a perfectly ordinary man whose life becomes unexpectedly adventurous when he is assigned to investigate an orphanage of magical and “dangerous” children. There he meets six extraordinary – and extremely lovable children – as well as Arthur, the master of the orphanage. The found family aspect comes from how close the children and Arthur are, but also from the way Linus is slowly but surely pulled into their little family. 🥺
Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas
Cemetery Boys is another excellent 2020 release, though the focus on the found family is less prevalent here. The novel follows Yadriel who, in an attempt to prove himself to his family, ended up summoning the wrong ghost, a boy named Julian from high school. Julian lives with his brother, but the found family aspect comes from his friends, who are as close to each other as family, as some of them have no family at all. Seeing how much these teens cared about was beautiful, so this was one of my favorite aspects of the novel.
Wallflowers Series by Lisa Kleypas
Despite the fact that this series has some problematic / questionable aspects with regards to consent, I still wanted to mention it here, because I love the relationship between the heroines of the series, also known as the wallflowers. These four women are deemed undesirable in the eye of society, thus they stand on the sidelines at every event of the season. That is, until one evening, one of them suggests that they should team up and help each other find husbands, which leads to lots of mischief and the forming of one lovely found family.
The Diviners by Libba Bray
While I love how intricately plotted The Diviners novels are, I think what makes this series stand out – as well as one of my all time favorite pieces of media – is the beautiful relationship between its characters. The diviners are people – teens – with extraordinary abilities, such as invisibility, who find themselves mixing up in increasingly dangerous situations throughout the series. I loved the way Bray slowly brought the characters together, and I especially adored how, by the end of the series, they formed a very strong friend group that reminded me of a family.
A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
A Man Called Ove is, yet again, an excellent novel I read last year. It follows Ove, an elderly man who has felt adrift and alone since the death of his beloved wife. During the course of the novel, Ove’s new neighbors manage to properly shake up Ove’s world, making him slowly open up to them, as well as to other people around the neighborhood. Ove is essentially adopted into their family, which was an absolute pleasure to see and made my heart melt. The strength of Backman’s books lies in his ability to write complex characters with convincing relationships, which is something you can see in A Man Called Ove.
The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
There’s a reason why there are multiple series on this list – there’s so much place to build the characters’ relationship throughout the course of multiple books. That is especially true for The Naturals. The series starts off with the characters – teens with special, non-supernatural abilities that are being trained by the FBI – having many conflicts in their house. It’s like this – they are forced to live together and essentially play at being a family, but in all honesty, it takes some time for that kind of relationship to develop. However, by the end of the series the characters have resolved most of their conflicts and managed to form a strong family unit.
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
As you probably know by now, The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo follows multiple LGBT+ characters, including Evelyn – who is bisexual – and her close friend Harry – who is gay. These two are the characters I think of when I think of found family in the novel, as their relationship grows incredibly strong throughout the decades they know each other. Those who’ve read the novel will also know that Evelyn and Harry are able to build a family with each other and their respective partners later in the novel, as they try to make the best of a bad situation, i.e. being unable to come out.
The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken
Ah, I love this series so much, and while the fast-paced, entertaining plot plays a part in that, it is mostly due to the characters Bracken created that I have such fondness for The Darkest Minds. Due to circumstances, the protagonists of the series can only rely on each other as they are trying to flee for their lives and survive in a world that captures and exploits children and teens with special abilities… which just so happens to be all children born after a certain date. I loved the little family the characters created and I especially loved all the emotional scenes between them, such as when they shared their trauma or struggles with each other. I was so glad to see they had each other no matter what. 🥰
Do you enjoy found families in books? What are your favorite examples of this trope? Do we have any in common? Would you like to see part two of this post? I have a lot more recommendations to give.