I am often reading between 3 and 5 books at the same time, and occasionally there’s a theme that might not be remarkable in one book… but when I see it in three books, I take notice.
I’ve become accustomed to YA books that heavily rely on romance. So YA books that do not have a romance as the central theme stand out to me, and within the past month and a half, I read three such books, and they all focused on sibling relationships.
Cuckoo Song, which I wrote about in my last 3 on a theme post, focuses on the relationship between two sisters. Ha – you might have thought it would be the relationship between a brother and a sister, since my last 3 on a theme post was about brothers. But the actual plot of Cuckoo Song is about Tris, a changeling, who her little sister Pen realizes is not the real Tris. Fake Tris and Pen’s relationship develops in a positive way, even improving the relationship between Pen and Real Tris.
Daughters Unto Devils by Amy Lukavics starts out like it’s going to involve romance – Amanda sneaks out of the cabin to be with Henry, and lies to her sister Emily about it. Amanda also lied to Emily about seeing a demon last winter, so Emily doesn’t really trust her. But after their family moves to the prairie and Amanda miscarries her baby, Emily pulls through for Amanda. In the end, it’s all about Amanda and Emily fighting to survive and save their family.
In A List of Cages, which I just finished last night (a book you will be hearing about a lot because I loved it so much), the focus is on two foster brothers. Julian and Adam are both only children, but Adam’s used to the foster kids his mom brings home, but Julian is different, especially because Adam keeps finding himself in Julian’s life. While this book has a little bit of a romance between Adam and his girlfriend, the story alternates between Adam and Julian’s voices and is most definitely about their relationship and how it saves Julian’s life.
When I think back to my teen years, I’d have to say that my relationships with my brothers and sister were far more important than any romantic relationship I had. Really, they knew me best, both because they lived with me and because my friends at school only saw a little part of me, the one I wanted to show them. With siblings we can usually fight loudly and make up easily, annoy each other to no end yet still be there for each other to play with. It makes me happy to see that sibling relationships are continuing to be important in YA novels.