Give Mom the Gift of YA Lit
If you are hanging around The Hub, chances are you’re a reader. And if you love to read, statistically speaking, you probably had a mom, or some other motherly figure, who read to you when you were small. (I know, I know, lots of you are screaming that it was your dad. This is Mother’s Day. Wait your turn.) So if you are still looking for a last-minute Mother’s Day gift, why not show your appreciation by introducing her to a YA mom as fabulous as she is? Just match Mom’s style to one of the titles below, each with one of the best mothers in YA and plenty of adult appeal. You may need to include a box of tissues!
For the Mess-with-My-Kid-and-I’ll-Take-You-Down mom—Divergent by Veronica Roth (2012 Teens’ Top Ten winner). It’s no secret that adults everywhere are devouring this series, especially since the movie came out, but fierce mothers will have a particular appreciation for Natalie Prior. But…but…Tris’s mom is Abnegation, isn’t she? The picture of selflessness, she supports her children’s choices and wants what is best for them, even if it means watching them walk out of her life. But threaten one of her kids, and…let’s just say a whole other side of her comes out.
For the Quiet-Strength mom—Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys (2012 Morris Award finalist). There are so many things to love about this book, not the least of which is Lina’s mother. Elena Vilkas is one of my favorite moms in all of YA. When she and her children are taken from their home in the middle of the night and deported, her example gives Lina the will to survive the horrors of a Siberian work camp—and eventually the grace to see good in the world again. Moms will love this beautiful historical novel that shines a light on the often-overlooked tragedy of the Soviet occupation of Lithuania.
For the Awesome Adoptive Mom—Hope was Here by Joan Bauer. Some of the best moms in YA aren’t even “real” moms. Being abandoned at birth was the best thing that ever happened to Hope—whose biological mom named her Tulip, of all things—because that meant she got to be raised by her Aunt Addie, the “number-one constant” in Hope’s life. A no-nonsense businesswoman and a brilliant cook, Addie travels the country rescuing diners that are about to go under. Equal parts funny and sweet, this is one of those books that made me laugh and cry at the same time. Added bonus for moms: Aunt Addie gets her own romance!
For the Unconventional Mom—The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater (2013 Top Ten Best Fiction for Young Adults, 2013 Teens’ Top Ten winner). Most of us have probably suspected our mom of having eyes in the back of her head, but try being Blue Sargent. Her mom is psychic– literally. Warm, quirky, and wonderful, Maura Sargent exudes girl power. And you’ve got to love the way she trusts her daughter to be the person she raised her to be. Stiefvater has serious crossover potential anyway, but this series will especially appeal to tough, smart ladies who love a strong heroine and a healthy dose of magic.
For the Mom who Knows How to Hold on and When to Let Go—The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (2012 Teens’ Top Ten winner). This is the other book this year that I am so glad has found a wider adult audience due to all the movie buzz. Yet, I almost did not put it on this list because A) Hasn’t everyone on the planet read it already? and B) As much as I adore this book, I have to turn off the mom part of my brain to be able to think about it without throwing up. Because no mom wants to even entertain the idea of being in Hazel’s mom’s shoes. And ultimately that is why I ended up including it, because Hazel’s mom deserves to be on this list. Does she cringe at the thought of taking a kid with cancer on a plane to Amsterdam, thousands of miles from her doctors? Of course she does. She’s a mom. Yet she goes for it because she knows it’s what Hazel needs. That is what makes her a great mom.
For the Mom who Accepts Her Kids Just Like They Are—Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz (2013 Printz Honor book). Ari’s mom is the mother I wish more kids had. She knows her son better than he knows himself and is always right there with unconditional love and support. Actually, all the parents in this books are pretty great, and the writing has a poetic simplicity to it that will appeal to gentle-spirited moms.
For the Mom who Is Everyone’s Mom—Boxed set of the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling. I think we all have a Molly Weasley in our lives, that mom who is not only the ultimate mom to her own kids, but also compulsively mothers every stray who walks through her door. If yours is as awesome as mine, spring for the special edition hardcovers in the trunk thingy. She deserves it.
For the Perfectly Imperfect Mom—The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen (2005 Teens’ Top Ten winner). Macy’s mom is…human. After her husband’s death, she copes with her grief by burying herself so deep in her job that she does not notice what her daughter is going through. She even alienates Macy from the new friends who are teaching her to open her heart again. Basically, she makes a lot of mistakes, like all of us real-life moms. But ultimately she recognizes those mistakes and has the opportunity to forge a new relationship with her daughter. This book landed on the list partly because it is my mom’s favorite YA!
Happy Mother’s Day and happy reading!
—Wendy Daughdrill, currently re-reading the Harry Potter series. I’m on Prisoner of Azkaban.