Family Month: YA Fiction

In addition to being Pride Month, June is also Family Month. I wanted to take the opportunity to showcase YA fiction that celebrates families in their many wonderful forms. I’m happy to share one of my favorite YA books, The Other F-Word by Natasha Friend: the story of four teens who share the same sperm donor. Milo Robinson-Clark has serious food allergies; after yet another doctor visit, he makes the decision to track down his sperm donor in hopes of finding medical information. Along with his one known half-sibling, Hollis Darby-Barnes, he embarks on a quest to find genetic relatives. They’re surprised to find three other half-siblings, who all contribute to the search for their donor. The author paints a respectful and nuanced picture of each teen’s family dynamics and their perspective on the donor, although I do wish she had portrayed some of the relationships with non-biological parents differently. While this book isn’t perfect, it truly captures the surreality and nerve-wracking exhilaration of the teens’ search, and the bond they develop along the way.

The Other F-Word by Natasha Friend
Grades 8 and up
OverDrive: eBook

More family-oriented reads:
Far From the Tree by Robin Benway
Grades 8 and up
OverDrive: eBook and digital audiobook
Hoopla: eBook
Freading: eBook
“Only child Grace was adopted at birth; when she finds herself placing her own daughter up for adoption, she begins searching for the bio family she's never known. She quickly discovers that she is a middle child, sandwiched between loudmouth younger sister Maya and older brother Joaquin, who has spent nearly his entire life in the foster care system.”—School Library Journal

Tiffany Sly Lives Here Now by Dana L. Davis
Grades 8 and up
Hoopla: eBook
Freading: eBook
“African American 16-year-old Tiffany Sly's mother has just passed away from cancer, and Tiffany's world is in upheaval. Her mother had arranged for her to move from Chicago to California to live with a father she has never met. While she is somewhat prepared for her wealthy father (though not how light his skin color is), she is not equipped for the white stepmother and the four new half sisters with whom she would now be living.”—School Library Journal

See No Color by Shannon Gibney
Grades 9 and up
Hoopla: eBook
“Biracial adoptee Alex Kirtridge’s life revolves around baseball. Her adoptive father, a former pro ballplayer and high-school coach, glories in her athletic aptitude, far superior to that of his birth children…. But when Alex meets Reggie, a sweet and sexy black ballplayer from another team, and discovers a trove of letters from her birth father, she is faced with a classic teen conundrum: who is she, really, and what is she going to do about it?”—Booklist Reviews

Don’t Fail Me Now by Una LaMarche
Grades 9 and up
OverDrive: eBook
“Michelle, Cass, and Denny find themselves under the care of their Aunt Sam while their mother serves time in jail for possession…. Michelle learns that her biological father is dying in California and that her half-sister, Leah, has been living in the same city all these years. Michelle, Cass, Denny, Leah, and Tim (Leah's stepbrother) ultimately end up piling into a dilapidated station wagon and driving across the country on an unbelievable journey to see their lowest common denominator—Buck Devereaux.”—School Library Journal

The Inexplicable Logic of My Life by Benjamin Alire Saenz
Grades 9 and up
OverDrive: eBook
“It is the first day of senior year, and Sal feels as if his life is exactly as it should be. He has always been certain of his place with his adoptive gay father and their loving Mexican American extended family. Sal's best friend, Samantha, is almost like his sister. She really gets him, and more often than not, she finishes his sentences and knows exactly what he is thinking, even when he won't admit it…. Sal's history unexpectedly haunts him, and life-changing events force him and Samantha to confront serious issues of faith, loss, and grief.”—School Library Journal

Little & Lion by Brandy Colbert
Grades 10 and up
OverDrive: eBook
“Suzette has been devoted to Lionel from an early age, and vice versa. At first glance, they don't look like siblings—a black girl and white boy barely a year apart in age—but their blended family is closely knit. At her parents' insistence, Suzette has been away at boarding school since Lionel's mental health began to deteriorate and he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Now she's back in L.A. for the summer, and she finds more complications waiting.”—School Library Journal

With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo
Grades 9 and up
OverDrive: eBook and digital audiobook
Hoopla: eBook and digital audiobook
Freading: eBook
“Emoni is many things, most notably a high school senior, a gifted cook, and a single mother. Her grandmother raised her in north Philly after Emoni’s mother died in childbirth and her father fled to his native Puerto Rico to escape his grief. Senior year brings multiple changes for Emoni: a challenging culinary arts class, a chance to travel to Spain, a wonderful new boy in her life, and a need to figure out how to achieve her dreams of becoming an executive chef and still providing for her daughter without being a burden to her grandmother.”—VOYA Reviews

You Don’t Know Me But I Know You by Rebecca Barrow
Grades 9 and up
OverDrive: eBook
Freading: eBook
“Audrey is a black 17-year-old artist who has just found out that she's pregnant. Her best friend Rose is strangely emotionally unavailable, and Audrey is ashamed of her current situation. Her boyfriend Julian is supportive, but he's a musician with an opportunity to attend a music academy…. A recent letter from the protagonist's birth mother shines a different light on her adoption and her birth mother's life after adoption.”—School Library Journal

The Way the Light Bends by Cordelia Jensen
Grades 7 and up
OverDrive: eBook
“Artistically gifted, academically challenged Linc is the biological child of white professional parents who wish Linc could be more like her black, transracially adopted sister, Holly—smart, athletic, popular. Holly's adoption from a Ghanaian orphanage was underway when Linc, four months younger, was conceived. Once close, the sisters' paths have diverged.”—Kirkus Reviews

Categories: Authors & Books, eNewsletter, Library News, and Teens.

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