Monday, November 26, 2018

TTT: Parents and Teens

With the delightful bloggers at The Broke and the Bookish moving on to other things, TTT is now hosted by just one of their contingent, That Artsy Reader Girl .  If you want to quadruple the size of your TBR AND find a bunch of great book blogs to follow head on over and check it out!

The topic this week is platonic relationships--friends, siblings, etc. And while I love a good friendship novel, I find that as a middle-aged mom reading MG and YA novels about characters who are my kids' ages or just slightly older, I focus a lot on those parent-child relationships. The following books contain some of my favorite and some of my least favorite parents (and parent figures) in MG/YA literature! Favorites get their covers included. Bad parents don't.

The Good
The Inexplicable Logic of My Life by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
Sáenz writes great parents, and Sal's dad takes the cake. He is kind, honest, and wise. No wonder he becomes a de facto dad to Sal's friends. He even comments on it himself: 
"Some people collect stamps. Me? I collect seventeen-year-old kids." (p. 283)

The Bad
The Dinner by Herman Koch
This book is about two families whose sons have committed a terrible, brutal crime. One of the moms ends up totally making excuses and lying for her son. I get family loyalty, but I don't think it trumps human decency. I hated the mom in Mystic River for much the same reason. Don't justify your loved ones committing senseless murders, okay? Just don't.

The Good
House Arrest by K. A. Holt
This is very much Timothy's book, but boy do I admire his mom. Deadbeat ex, medically fragile infant, and tween who's in trouble with the law. She works her ass off, loves her kids, and does not give up. 

The Bad
A Thousand Perfect Notes by C. G. Drews
Have I told you about the time my 10th graders were supposed to be preparing persuasive essay theses, and when one group said "Child abuse is wrong," I told them, "Guys, you can't use that in a persuasive essay, because there's not two sides. Only assholes would disagree with that." Whoops! But I was right, and they knew it, and at least it wasn't a seventh grade classroom. Beck's mom is pure evil.

The Good
Beyond the Bright Sea by Lauren Wolk
Crow is an orphan, which almost made me disqualify her, since "dead parents" are such an overdone trope. BUT not only are her "found" parent figures wonderful, but her dead parents really DID love her enough to give her up, quite literally. 

The Bad
Chime by Franny Billingsley
If I can count Crow's parental figures, then I can count Briony's stepmother, who gaslit her into assuming guilt for things she didn't do. What a bitch.

The Good
Born a Crime by Trevor Noah
A nonfiction mom who rocks! I was so surprised when I read his memoir to discover that it's really about his childhood, not about his ascent to stardom, and that his mom is the actual hero of the story. 

The Bad

I Hunt Killers (series) by Barry Lyga
Jazz's dad is the world's most "successful" serial killer. Jazz's biggest fear is that he will follow in his footsteps. After all, once his mom disappeared under mysterious circumstances, little Jazz started a sort of apprenticeship to his dad. Now that his dad is finally caught and in jail, Jazz is trying to overcome the brainwashing and training he received. 

The Good/The Bad
The War that Saved My Life / The War I Finally Won by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
This one is special, because it has the worst possible mother, as well as a reluctant mother figure who grows fully into her role. Ada's mother is physically abusive, but that's the least of it. She's emotionally cruel, intensely neglectful, and entirely self centered. Susan is prickly, not particularly warm or maternal, and prone to depression, yet by virtue of actually having a f*cking heart, actually demonstrates unconditional love to Ada and her brother. 

I know there are other great parents in novels, as well as terrible ones. Who comes to your mind? 


  1. I love good parental relationships in books! So nice to see it when its positive. I haven't read any of these unfortunately, but I'm curious about C.G. Drews' even though it's a bad parent example haha. Cool classroom anecdote too. :)

  2. I loved The War That Saved My Life. I still need to read the sequel. The Inexplicable Logic is on my TBR list. I’ll get to it eventually. Great list!

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

  3. I like how you did the bad and the good. Nice. You and Nicole have put House Arrest on my radar. I am going to work that into my next MGs binge.

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  6. I love this list and I plan to check out some of the books you've mentioned here! I really love both Ben and Arthur's parents in What If It's Us. I was frustrated by the parents in To Be Honest, though the MC's relationship with them weren't all bad, just incredibly flawed and thus toxic in some ways.


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