Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Mother/Child Relationships in YA Books

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week there is a new topic for bloggers to choose and list their top ten. This week’s theme is a Mother’s Day related freebie, so I picked Top Ten Mother/Child Relationships in YA Books.

I love seeing strong familial relationships in books, unfortunately in fantasy stories that’s an aspect that seems to be missing. I guess it’s hard to risk your life saving the world when you have a loving family at home worrying for you. Not all of the mother/child relationships I featured this week are happy, loving and perfect, but they were all amazingly written.


Top Ten Tuesday #66

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Starr finds herself in a very dangerous situation in The Hate U Give, but throughout it all her mother is by her side. She offers her daughter endless love and support no matter where Starr’s decisions take her. Starr’s mother only wants the best for all her children, and she works hard to convince her husband that Garden Heights isn’t a place that can offer that.


A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab

In the first two books the Queen was always a distant character, and it is only in A Conjuring of Light that we see parts of the story from her point of view and see beyond the surface of her character. She feared being a mother but loves Rhy, and it was that love that made her sacrifice one son to protect the other.


More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera

Aaron’s mother seems to be struggling after the death of his father. She spends all her time at work and doesn’t have any left for either of her sons. However it is only after you reach the twist halfway through More Happy Than Not that you realise what Aaron’s mother has done, what she has sacrificed, for her younger son and you see the level of devotion she has for him.


The Last Beginning by Lauren James

Clove may not be Jen’s daughter but she always believed she was. The two have a close mother-daughter relationship and the turmoil of finding out she was adopted is a big part of Clove’s story and her development throughout The Last Beginning. While Clove isn’t Jen’s daughter the two have a close relationship, and it just goes to show it isn’t blood that makes a family.


Timekeeper by Tara Sim

The relationship between Danny and his mother is a cold one. After his father was trapped in Maldon the two stopped talking, unable to cope with the loss of someone who is still alive but unreachable. They each made small attempts to reach out to the other but it never seemed to be enough and made their interactions heartbreaking to read at times.


When the Moon Was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore

Like More Happy Than Not the relationship we see between Sam and his mother shows a woman who is willing to do anything, go to any lengths necessary, for her son. No matter the decision he makes, who he decides to be at the end of the day, Sam’s mother supports his every choice and makes sure he knows he’s loved no matter what.


Highly Illogical Behaviour by John Corey Whaley

Solomon has agoraphobia and hasn’t left his house in three years. He spends a lot of time with his parents as a result and the relationship the three of them have is an incredibly close-knit one. His mother wants him to get better, to be able to walk out of the house again, but she doesn’t push him. She accepts everything about her son and does everything in her power to try and help him.


I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

Jandy Nelson tells two stories in I’ll Give You the Sun; Noah’s relationship with his mother before she died, and Jude’s relationship with her mother after she died. This book is all about the relationships the family have with one another, and while the sibling relationship between Jude and Noah takes the centre stage the relationship they both had with their mother is important as well.


A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

Take away the monster, its stories and its lessons, and this book is about Conor and his mother. With his mother ill and getting worse Conor needs to try and accept the inevitable, but when it’s only ever been the two of them against the world it’s hard for Conor. A Monster Calls is a heartbreaking book for so many reasons, but it’s also an incredibly beautiful story.


The Love That Split the World by Emily Henry

Natalie is adopted, but like Clove and Jen from The Last Beginning this doesn’t mean she’s any less loved by her mother than either of her siblings who weren’t adopted. It’s obvious from the amount of care Natalie’s mother puts into making sure her daughter is in touch with her culture and heritage that she loves Natalie.


So what do you think? Did you take part in this week’s Top Ten Tuesday, if so let me know what you picked for this week’s themed free-for-all, or what your favourite mother/child relationships in YA are.

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50 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Mother/Child Relationships in YA Books

  1. I haven’t read all of these books but the ones I have I definitely agree with and the others I plan to read as well! They all sound incredible. Starr’s mother is SO GREAT oh my gosh I loved their relationship so much. And A Conjuring of Light revealed so much about the Queen! I didn’t like her very much in the earlier books but the third book did shine a light on her love for Rhy, at least. Rhy standing up for Kell when talking to her was the BEST though haha. ❤ Aghhhhh I just love that series so much I MISS IT. I'll Give You the Sun has such beautiful and heartbreaking relationships! I loved the perspective on the mother's different relationships with her two children. Love this list!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha, that’s good to hear, hopefully when you get around to the books you haven’t read yet you’ll agree with those as well! 😀
      She really is, the whole family dynamic in The Hate U Give was beyond brilliant. The development of the King and Queen in A Conjuring of Light was one of my favourite parts of that book. It added a different dimension to their relationships with Kell and Rhy. Yes, I loved that part, just shows how much Kell does mean to Rhy. ❤
      I'll Give You the Sun was brilliant, then again it's by Jandy Nelson so what else could people expect right? 😀 Thanks so much Analee.

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      1. I hope so! 😀 Oh my gosh yes. One of my top favourite familial relationships for sure! Ahhhh so many feels thinking of ACOL and all the characters omg. ❤ ❤ Haha definitely! I can't wait to read her upcoming works.

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  2. Oh my god Beth!

    I think John Corey Whaley is one of my favorite authors so far! I have read Where Things Come Back and Nogging. I really want to read Highly Illogical Behavior. Hopefully will be as good as the rest!

    I like your list! I’ll Give You the Sun is just ethereal and makes me feel so in love of life and everything!

    You should read “Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe”. The Mother/Father relation on this YA book is one of the best that I have seen!

    (PS: I have made a review of all those books :3)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well I haven’t read any of John Corey Whaley’s books other than Highly Illogical Behaviour but I thought it was an amazing one so I hope you agree as well. I really should add his other releases onto my to-read list too! 🙂
      I’ll Give You the Sun is one of my favourite contemporary books, and I actually have read Aristotle and Dante. It was a while ago now that I picked up that book but I do agree it has an amazing parent/child relationship in it. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh I see, I will recommend you to read first Where Things Come Back :3
        The audiobook is amazing too!

        I am in love of Aristotle and Dante, and I am really happy that you have read it ❤

        Liked by 1 person

      2. You can have a 30 trial with Audible.com haha and get the book and maybe others 🙂 it is a whole different world 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  3. It’s pretty true that the whole family dynamic in YA titles seems to be less present; would be nice if they tried to incorporate more especially when we’re talking about YOUNG adults. Does the Hunger Game have a little bit of mother-child bond thing in it? I didn’t read the books but I have this vague memory, from the movies, that her mother was present or something.

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    1. Yes it really is, especially in fantasy books. I see a lot of amazing family dynamics in contemporary books but there are much less of those relationships in fantasy books. In a way yes The Hunger Games does have that but I don’t think it was a close relationship, the mother was more absent than not from what I remember.

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  4. So many of these are books I’ve yet to read but need to get around to! Part of me actually wants to read More Happy Than Not next as I’m on a mini contemporary binge at the moment and you have me more intrigued but I’ve heard it’s also a book that will break your heart. Not sure if I’m in the mood for a sad book at the moment. 🙈 Anyway! The two that I’ve read on your list are ACOL and I’ll Give You The Sun, both definitely well written mother/child relationships. One of my favorite parts of ACOL was finally getting to learn more about the Queen and her relationship with Rhy and Kell. Although, I’ll admit she isn’t one of my favorites getting to learn about her past and her fears helped me understand her more as a character. And underneath it all you really learn that she cared a lot for both Rhy and Kell and it was how much that scared her enough to push Kell away. Then the relationship between Jude and Noah and their mom in I’ll Give You The Sun was definitely complicated, I feel. It’s been a while since I’ve read it but I remember lots of jealousy between the siblings as far as their mother went. I just love how Jandy Nelson writes family dynamics in general. She does a fantastic job. Great picks for this week, Beth!! 😊♥

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    1. In that case the ones you haven’t read are all ones I’d highly recommend Melissa. More Happy Than Not is definitely a book that will break your heart, and if you do read it next and enjoy it don’t immediately go onto Adam Silvera’s other book because reading both one after the other is what put me in my contemporary slump a couple of months ago. They’re both amazing but both heartbreaking and it’s hard to read them next to one another. I’ll Give You the Sun is an amazing book for family dynamics and not just between Noah, Jude and their mother. ACOL really ran with the character development and took it further than I expected. Yeah I can’t say she was one of my favourites either but I loved getting that depth into her character and her motivations because it gave more depth to her relationship with Rhy and Kell. She did care for them both, I think she just tried too hard to protect one son and forgot that Kell was still just a child as well the first time Rhy was kidnapped. He needed someone as well which is what Rhy eventually became for him.
      It was very complicated and yeah I remember a lot of jealousy as well which only became more complicated when their mother died. She really does, when it comes to family dynamics I think Jandy Nelson is one of the best YA contemporary authors! 😀 Thanks so much Melissa. 🙂 ❤

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      1. I ended up deciding to give into my urge to reread Lady Midnight in lieu of jumping into a contemporary that would break my heart because I have a feeling LoS is going to be doing enough heartbreak for me. 😂 But I definitely plan on reading More Happy Than Not sometime this year and I remember you telling that reading both of his books one after another sent you into a contemporary slump. I’m keeping that in mind and am not going to binge read them. Isn’t his second novel even more heartbreaking than the first? Seems like books you need to be in the mood for.
        It really was! All of the family dynamics in I’ll Give You The Sun were incredible. I loved seeing their relationship with their dad grow too. I don’t think he played as big a role as the mom but he was still a great character. I agree about ACOL! It took the character development further than I expected too and in a good way. I didn’t expect all of the extra POVs either which might have thrown me off for five seconds at first but then I loved it. But yeah getting more depth as far as the Queen goes was awesome. And I agree it was like she ended up forgetting about Kell and the fact that he needed protection too but also incredible that it strengthened that bond between Rhy and Kell. Those two will forever be my favorite fantasy siblings. 😊
        Definitely! In my opinion, she is one of the queens of writing family dynamics in YA and because of that I need more books by her.
        You’re welcome, Beth!! 😁♥

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      2. I guess given you’re going to be reading LoS soon re-reading Lady Midnight may have been the best bet! I feel like LoS will break your heart. You’ll have to let me know how bad it is because depending on your answer will be whether I push back my read of Lady Midnight until just before the third book in the series is released!
        They’re both books you need to be in the mood for. I think they’re both very heartbreaking reads but HIAYLM had a more hopeful ending than MHTN did, at least that’s what I thought, you may disagree.
        No he didn’t, which is kind of weird seeing as he was the parent that survived, but yeah he still had development in the story which was nice to see. I think the extra POVs threw me off a little as well when I first read it but it wasn’t hard to get into the story at all, and because it added so much to the characters it made it even more amazing. Kell and Rhy are my favourite fantasy siblings, I seriously don’t think there are ever going to be two characters that beat them because they had beyond amazing development! 😀
        Here’s hoping her next book is in the works and will be released soon! 😀

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      3. I finished rereading it in a few days. I swear I’m racing through books this month. It’s like since I read ACOWAR I can’t stop jumping into new books. Either that or I’m preparing for the inevitable slump LoS puts me in by reading as much as I can now. 😂 But I will definitely let you know about LoS because I’m almost 100% that book will break my heart completely.
        Oh okay! I’ll let you know what I end up thinking whenever I do read both of his books.
        Honestly I think it’s one of those weird thing where we didn’t have all of those extra POVs in ADSOM and AGOS so whenever it came up in ACOL it felt odd for like five seconds. It always throws me off whenever authors suddenly add more POVs but the fact that it added so much to the characters and the story made me love that she decided to do that. I don’t think anyone is going to top Rhy and Kell for me either! Mostly because it’s so rare that we get close sibling relationships in fantasy. Definitely something I wish we saw more. 😊

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      4. You really seem to be, I guess that’s what happens when it’s a series you’re completely addicted to and there’s a new book being released in a couple of days! 😀 I’m almost a little scared for LoS as well despite the fact I’m not reading it. I need to start being prepared for it right now.
        I guess, if I remember correctly we only had two in the first two books right, Kell and Lila, so having more would have been a little jarring. I just didn’t notice it much because it had been a while since I read ADSOM and AGOS. It is rare, but it makes the relationship between Rhy and Kell all the better in my opinion! 😀

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      5. Probably. But I am shocked that I read LoS in 3 days. I couldn’t put it down because it was so good! Oh you definitely need to start preparing now. I will say nothing more because I don’t want to spoil it but yeah. 🙈
        Yeah, I think we only had two in the first book with the occasional other POV for characters being taken over by the stone. And then in AGOS I can’t remember if it was still Kell and Lila or if there was more. I completely agree! Aside from them my favorite fantasy siblings are always from Cassandra Clare’s books because she writes great sibling relationships too.

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      6. Wow that was a fast read then wasn’t it?! I guess that’s a sign you must have really enjoyed the book. OK in that case I’ll start preparing for the book now and hopefully by the time I go get around to it I’ll be somewhat emotionally ready! 😀

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    1. Ohh, in that case I’m interested in seeing what take you did end up going with. That’s great to hear, I really hope you enjoy The Love That Split the World, it’s one of my favourite books!
      Thanks for the link, I’ll definitely check out your TTT! 😀

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  5. OH yes, I loved how the family aspect was more and more developed as the Shades of Magic series went on, first with the two brothers and in the last book with both parents. I loved discovering the Queen’s thoughts and everything she struggled with, it was such a great addition to the series.
    Also, so glad to hear the Hate U Give has such a supportive mother/daughter relationship. Can’t wait to read this book, hopefully soon!

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    1. It was amazing wasn’t it? One of my favourite things about V.E. Schwab’s writing is the way she develops her character so it was wonderful to see a different side to the Queen. I thought her struggle, especially her thoughts back on discovering she was pregnant with Rhy, was really interesting to read.
      Oh the whole family dynamic in THUG was brilliant to read, and it really added to the story as well the way Starr’s parents supported her no matter what. I hope you enjoy it when you get around to it Marie! 😀

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  6. I’ve only read one of these (ACOL) but they all seem to be great reads! I’ll have to check them out soon. Also, love that you mentioned the Queen and Rhys. Though she wasn’t really my favorite character, it was still nice to know her perspective in ACOL 🙂

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    1. Well I think of all the books on my list this week ACOL is my all-time favourite, so even though you’ve only read one you’ve read the best one in my opinion. Hopefully you’ll enjoy the others you still need to check out Azia. 😀
      Yeah the development of the Queen in this book was amazing, there was a lot more depth to her character which made her relationship with Rhy and Kell much more developed as well. 🙂

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      1. I hope so, too!
        And I was so glad to see what she really thought about her situation in life and her family. It was so well-done. The SOM trilogy is just fantastic

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    1. Definitely tough to read but it felt so real at the same time, and it was really well written so even though it was a positive mother/child relationship in some aspects it needed to go on my list this week. Thanks so much Sarah, I hope you enjoy the others on this list you’ve yet to get around to. 🙂

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  7. GASP. HOW DARE YOU, BETH. It’s RHY, not RHYS. XDD Just kidding! 😛

    But yes, I agree! I’m ALMOST done with ACOL (and I passed all those HORRIBLE DEATHS *cries*) but we definitely get to see more of Emira’s background and relationship with Rhy. I’m super excited to read When the Moon Was Ours ( 😉 ), and THUG, I’ll Give You The Sun, and Highly Illogical Behavior are all on my TBR!

    Another book I’d add on this list is Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe. Both of their parents are my absolute FAVORITES and I want them to be my parents. XD I still love my own parents though! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. NOOOO!!! I’m always doing that, nine times out of ten I do manage to catch it before I publish a post but it’s just natural for me to add an S on the end of Rhy’s name to make it Rhys. I will go back and change it so thanks for pointing it out. 🙂
      Oh god some of the deaths were heartbreaking, and depending on where you are there’s likely more to come that will hurt even more, but yeah Emira’s character was so much more explored in the last book and I just love it! When the Moon Was Ours is an all-time favourite of mine so I can’t wait for you to read it, and I really hope you enjoy THUG, I’ll Give You the Sun and Highly Illogical Behaviour.
      Oh I’ve read Aristotle and Dante and I definitely agree about both sets of parents, another example of parent/child relationships done well in YA. Yeah, our own parents are always going to be the best aren’t they? 🙂 ❤

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      1. Rhys is like the common name! But that’s part of why Rhy is just so cool because HIS NAME IS AWESOME. (Also I need to know if I’ve been pronouncing it wrong??? I’ve been saying it as “ree”, but I guess it could be “ry”…)

        Like I get that as a writer, killing off characters is fun and/or bittersweet, but as a reader, IT’S HORRIBLE. *sobs* I really wish we could’ve known more of Lila’s backstory though! And while I’d love to know more about Kell as well, I appreciate that he burned the note thing from Maris, with the spell to unlock his memories.

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      2. Yeah I know someone called Rhys. It’s just become instinct to me that once I write Rhy I have to add the S on the end. Honestly I normally pronounce it Rhys, just because that’s how I read it (again because it’s instinct to me to see the S at the end) but now I’d say Ry more than Ree.
        There is so much more I need from this world, I definitely would love to learn more about Kell’s backstory. Yeah I guess it was good he burnt the note for himself but again as readers it’s horrible having such a huge mystery unanswered!

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      3. Yeah, I get you! I type out Rhy and I feel like I need to press on “s” too. XD Hmm… I’m going to look up the right pronunciation. Honestly I mispronounce 70% of character names. XD

        I KNOOOOOOW. And I need to know about Lila’s father??? What happened??? I want to read a murder scene too, of when Lila killed him. XDD

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      4. So do I. In fact a lot of the time I’ve given up pronouncing them correctly and just go with whatever I call them in my head. Even if you come back and say it is Ree I’ll still pronounce it Ry. I’m stubborn and stick to my choices to the very end! 😀
        Anything from Lila’s past would be amazing, I would be interested in seeing what happened to her eye, more about how she lost it and how it was replaced with a glass one. You know because of what she is she would have been born with a black eye. 🙂

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      5. Well I looked it up and there were only pronunciations for “Rhys”. XD And SAAAAME. I pronounced Jacin from The Lunar Chronicles as “Juh-SIN”, where it’s actually “JAY-sin”. BUT I CAN’T PRONOUNCE IT ANY OTHER WAY. XD

        And yes! I bet her dad cut it out (that was him right???) because it was black, and they probably thought she was possessed or something. AND HOW DID SHE GET TO GREY LONDON.

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      6. Well I guess when it comes to Rhy we can stick with whatever pronunciations we were using and we can both be right! 😀 Ha, when it comes to Jacin I actually pronounced it “Jack-In”. Can’t pronounce it any other way either! 😀
        Possibly, but see there’s so many questions about Lila’s past, and we don’t know any of them for sure. I feel there could literally be a whole novel for Lila’s life in Grey London before she ever met Kell.

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  8. I’ve been wanting to read A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness… I read others of his books first and wasn’t really a fan but I hold out hope for this book… your thoughts emphasized that I need to really read it! A great list of mothers, probably the best I’ve read so far!

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