Tuesday, August 11, 2015

The Summer of Siblings

Whenever I hear talk about things missing in young adult books, absent parents always comes up. Missing Parents in YA is a problem, yes, but so is the lack of siblings in young adult books. Whether the main character is an only child or has a sibling in the background there are far less books with siblings that are present in the lives of the main character(s). It’s been something I’ve been thinking about for a while this summer and when I decided to write more about my own relationship with my siblings, I thought I’d tie it into books (after all, the majority of this blog is about books).

But I should probably talk about what made me think of this topic. This summer has been a quiet one. I didn't do much at all and on a very boring day, I decided to watch Merlin again. My brother had never seen it and I thought it was about time he was introduced to British television. So we began Merlin to see how he would like it. My brother quickly fell in love with the show so we binge watched the entire series within weeks. I fell back in love with the world, the characters, and the show and watching it with my brother, seeing him love a show I already did was wonderful. Afterwards, we decided to watch a few episodes of Psych which quickly turned into a binge watch of the entire series as well. Watching these two shows, my brother and I started to get close.

It's not to say that we haven't always been close, however. Since we moved the U.S., it has just been my brother and me (until our sister joined us four years after we moved) so we are relatively close. But this was different. This time, my brother and I were spending more time together and falling in love with characters who weren’t real but we wished them to be was something I always wanted to share with my brother though books. But he isn’t the biggest reader so I never had that connection with him until now.

Since then, my brother and I went to Washington, D.C. for about three days. Navigating an unknown city with my fourteen year old brother seemed impossible and my mother was worried sick. But we found that it was probably the most enjoyable time of the summer for us. It was just the two of us, talking and laughing and seeing a new city we both fell in love with. My brother, I learned, is excellent with a map and is also very patient. Going to D.C. I’ve come to realize would not have been as much as without my brother.

And it’s moments like these, when all we’re doing is watching TV or walking the streets of a city, where I am incredibly grateful for my brother (both of my siblings, frankly, but this is more about my brother than sister). What would my life be like if I didn’t have him in it? This summer is going to be one of the most memorable summers of my life and I didn’t go anywhere extremely special or do something crazy. The people I was with, the time I spent with them, made this summer one for the record books. It’s the little moments, the little conversations, the laughters that I believe we remember for the rest of our lives.

Whenever we think of siblings in books, Young Adult or otherwise, either they’re not there or are evil and I hate that. My relationship with my siblings is far from perfect but it’s perfect in its imperfections. Why don’t more characters in books have moments like this? Why don’t they have siblings that get mad at them or annoy them or help them get their shit together? Siblings can help you get through hard times or they can cause you grief. I’m not trying to paint a beautiful, utopian, there-are-never-bad-days kind of siblings relationship but there many, many benefits to having siblings. I only wish books showed that.

**All images link to the Goodreads page for the book.

Young Adult

These are just a few of the books I could think of that had siblings mentioned in different capacities. Saint Anything has a complicated sibling relationship but I appreciated how the relationship developed. Just Visiting's sibling relationship was always there even though neither of the siblings were together. To All the Boy's I've Love Before (and the sequel) has a strong, central sibling relationship which I think everyone loves! Who can forget Katniss and Prim's relationship in The Hunger Games? One of the most known, appreciated sibling relationships in the young adult world (just a hunch) shows just how important having a sibling can be. I LOVED the sisters relationships between April, May and June in The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May & June


The Kincaid siblings in this new series were fabulous and I LOVED reading about them! While they argue and torment each other, the love each of these siblings has for the others is so palpable and I probably loved Second Chance Summer for that very reason. Aline's relationship with her brother and sister and they support they show each other in Again the Magic made the biggest difference in the lives of our main character. Nowhere but Home features a sisterhood that made me so thankful for my own big sister. Queenie and her sister have such a strong relationship and no matter what they've been though, they're always there for each other. Arranged might not be about siblings but I loved Anne's relationship with her brother Gilbert! They make fun of each other but at the end of the day, they're always there for each other. 

What do you all think? Do wish more siblings were in books, YA or otherwise? What have been the most memorable experiences with your siblings?

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