When Friends Become Family

As we draw close to Thanskgiving, we often turn our thoughts and plans to family. While there are YA characters who have strong families, astomorrow Jessica’s 2012 post  and Kelly’s post from last week shows, there are also lots of YA books where the protagonists have either lost family members, been separated from them, or never had a proper family to begin with. This doesn’t mean these characters have no family relationships, though. Lots of YA characters, when faced with a lack of a regular family, create their own. Here are some of my favorites:

  • Ellie and her friends in the Tomorrow series by John Marsden (the movie version was chosen as a Fabulous Film for Young Adults 2013). This action packed series, which starts with Tomorrow, When the War Began follows a group of Australian teenagers who go away for a camping trip and come back to find their country has been invaded. As the plot unfolds, the friends rely on each other more and more to be both fellow soldiers determined to take back their homes and a family that both provides emotional support and takes on the everyday tasks of making a place to live. I especially like that the last book in the series, The Other Side of Dawn, deals with the difficulty of reintegrating with their parents after the enforced separation and self-sufficiency, and the companion series, The Ellie Chronicles, continues to explore the toll that war takes on families, both given and self-made. Although I haven’t yet read them, I think Emmy Laybourne’s Monument 14 series (2014 Teens’ Top Ten) covers some of the same ground in terms of a family forged out of necessity.  Continue reading When Friends Become Family

Book Review: Her and Me and You

Her and Me and You by Lauren Strasnick

After Alex’s dad has an affair, she moves with her mess of a mother to the town her mom grew up in.  When Alex isn’t taking care of her mother, she is trying to find a place to fit in at her new school while desperately missing her best friend Evie.  She has a ready-made friend in the daughter of her mom’s high school best friend, but Alex is drawn to Fred and his twin sister Adina.

Saying that Fred and Adina have a close relationship is putting it mildly.  There is something slightly off about their relationship and Alex finds herself caught up in their dynamic.  A saner person would have run away screaming, but Alex is drawn to the enigmatic Fred.  Adina runs hot and cold to Alex.  One minute she hates her and the next she is almost flirting with her. To make matters worse, Evie has fallen in love for the first time and isn’t very supportive of Alex and her weird (and getting weirder by the minute) relationship with the twins.

This book is a very quick read. I finished it in an hour and a half.  There is a lot of dialogue.  When I first finished it, I thought I liked it, but now…I’m not so sure. As I was reading, I was very interested in the character of Adina and wanted to know what made her act the way she does over the course of the story.  It was never really explored and the book ended almost immediately after the climax of the story. I really liked the way the story was written, but I could have used another 100 pages or so to find out even more about the characters.