The Square Root of Summer by Harriet Reuter Hapgood is a book about love, grief and family.
Although shifted off balance by the loss of her grandfather Grey, there’s no doubt that Gottie and her family are very close – and Gottie’s relationship with Grey – and her interactions with her father and brother Ned in the wake of his death – are integral to her story.
Inspired by the close family connections in The Square Root of Summer, we’ve picked out five of our top YA titles which you should check out if you’re looking for supportive parents and loving families!
(Warning: some of these reviews might contain spoilers!)
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
Hazel’s mother is emotionally strong and supportive, and has totally made it her life to look after Hazel in any way she needs it. Her father might be at work quite a bit, but there’s no doubt he cares for her greatly. They support Hazel as she spends time with Augustus, and struggles against the boundaries laid down on her by her illness – and her mother has even secretly been taking classes to become a social worker whilst offering this unwavering care. I’m not crying, it’s just raining on my face.
Underwater by Marisa Reichardt
Morgan’s struggles with anxiety have left her trapped in the apartment she shares with her mother and brother. But instead of making her feel guilty about her inability to leave, Morgan’s mother offers her quiet support – both through her lack of blame or pressure, and her agreement with letting Morgan study at home and step back so Morgan can work with Brenda, her therapist, to overcome her fears.
Morgan’s brother Ben offers her love and affection and the motivation to fight for a world lived in the outside world again. Although there are so many characters that inspire Morgan’s hard work toward overcoming her fears in the pages of Underwater, and her mother and Ben are right there at the top of the list.
The Art of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson
Family is a key aspect of this novel, with the two main characters being placed in very different family dynamics. David has parents that love him – and when his secret is revealed, their reaction is exactly what a child would hope for. The love they have for him is unconditional and heartwarming.
And although Leo’s family life is very different to David’s, lacking the reassuring parent figures and stable environment, he has a twin sister called Amber and a younger sister called Tia who are a constant, positive force in his life so he’s not left alone to fight his battles.
Fans of the Impossible Life by Kate Scelsa
All through Fans of the Impossible Life, Jeremy’s parents are behind him 100%. Approachable and loving, they don’t push Jeremy to reveal what’s bothering him, but make it very clear that they’ll be there when he needs to talk. This slow hum of support in the background helps Jeremy grow through the novel – and take a chance with Sebby and Mira, and the amazing friendship they build between them.
Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan
Paul’s family are accepting and all kinds of wonderful – as are all the families in the utopian town he grew up in. By contrast, Tony grew up outside of their community and so faced a very different relationship with his parents. Where Paul’s were supportive, Tony’s rejected him for his sexuality.
In this novel, we learn that families can also be made – with Paul and Joni and Noah and Infinite Darleen bringing Tony into their world and relationships, and buoying him up with their love and friendship. You can’t choose our parents, but you sure as hell can choose your family!
Don't miss this episode of Book Break for more of the best families in literature: