Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.
This week’s prompt was: Top Ten Books Which Feature Characters Who _____ (are musically inclined, have lost someone, have depression, who grow up poor, etc.)
I stared at my bookshelves all weekend until a random thought popped into my head: a YA protagonist is often an only child. Sometimes they have siblings, but if they do, most of the time those siblings are tragically killed/sacrificed/missing for half the novel or are kept secret until the BIG CLIMACTIC SCENE (I’m not mocking the “secret sibling” plot line, I’m totally guilty of doing it in my own writing). So, as the youngest of four children myself, I thought I’d look at books where the characters have siblings who play an important role. Because family is important.
1) The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May, & June – Robin Benway
First of all – heck yeah to the Oxford (or serial) comma in the title. This is my second favourite Robin Benway book, and I absolutely love the relationships between these three very different sisters. May is my preferred sister because she’s sassy/snarky, but the other two have their own sass-filled moments too.
2) A Series of Unfortunate Events – Lemony Snicket
Obviously the Baudelaire orphans are on this list. They’re loyal and supportive and genuinely loving toward each other. Even when they have moments of frustration, they would never think of betraying/leaving each other. They’re the true definition of “ohana” (nobody gets left behind or forgotten).
3) Every series – Ellie Marney
Come for the ridiculous chemistry between Rachel Watts and James Mycroft, stay for the best brother-sister relationship ever between Rachel and Mike. Mike quickly became one of my favourite secondary characters; he constantly has Rachel’s back, even when he thinks she’s about to do something stupid/crazy (i.e. when she flies to London in Every Word). He’s also great comedic relief and you can’t help getting attached to him.
4) The Dispossessed series – Page Morgan
Okay, fine, I’m more than a little obsessed with this series right now, but since it revolves around twins (Grayson and Ingrid), and their younger sister (Gabby), it makes sense for them to be on this list. The relationship between Grayson and Ingrid is the reason I cried while reading the third book.
5) Flavia de Luce series – Alan Bradley
I’ve read the first three books so far (I’m working on the fourth), and Flavia’s relationship with her older sisters (Ophelia and Daphne) is the stuff of legends. While Feely and Daffy tend to be absolutely horrid and Flavia spends a lot of time plotting her revenge, there’s still a certain amount of love behind all their actions. Plus they’re just hilarious in general.
6) Vampirates series – Justin Somper
I realize that saying “vampire pirates” makes people go “WHAAAAT?” but seriously, this was such a good series. Again, it focused on twins – Connor and Grace – who, even though they are separated for at least the first book (I can’t remember when they meet up again), their affection for each other literally spans across the seas.
7) Sisterhood series – Ann Brashares
On the one hand, these books are about the bonds of friendship. On the other, if Lena didn’t have a slightly jealous younger sister (Effie), the last half of the fourth book would not have happened. It’s also interesting to see how Lena interacts with her sister-like friends compared to her relationship with Effie (sometimes you feel sorry for Effie, who was often pushed aside in favour of Bridget/Carmen/Tibby).
8) The Reluctant Journal of Henry K. Larsen – Susin Nielsen
Technically this falls into the “sibling who tragically dies” category, but since the plot is based on Jessie’s death, it’s fascinating (and so sad) to see how his actions affected his younger brother, Henry. I’ve now read all of Susin Nielsen’s books, and I’d have to say this one is my favourite. It’s also the most emotionally draining.
9) The Two Princesses of Bamarre – Gail Carson Levine
I desperately need to re-read this one (my niece just read it for the first time and every time she mentioned it, I was like “AWW, SUCH A GOOD BOOK”), but Addie and Meryl’s dependence on each other is so sweet, especially once Meryl gets sick. I remember being heartbroken near the end, but it all wrapped up so beautifully. They were like the original Anna and Elsa – self-sacrificing and all.
10) Harry Potter series – J.K. Rowling
Did you really think I could make a list like this and not mention the Weasleys? They’re one of the best fictional families to ever exist!! And while they may have their own problems (i.e. lack of money), they were nothing but loving toward each other (for the most part…*cough PERCY cough*) and always made sure to include Harry. I love how in later books, the boys all recognize that Ginny is more powerful/talented than they are, but they continue to treat her like their baby sister.
Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
Because the Bennet sisters are surprisingly well-rounded, considering most of them are supporting characters.
Who makes it on your list of favourite fictional siblings?