When I write, I spend a lot of time exploring brother-sister relationships — perhaps because I couldn’t have gotten through my teen years without my own brother. I love reading about brother-sister relationships, too, even if they’re in the periphery of a book instead of the central focus. Following are six just-or-almost-out, MG and YA books that are sure to hit me where I live.
1. Hannah Barnaby, SOME OF THE PARTS, YA: I’ve been excited about this one since I heard Hannah read a short excerpt at a Highlights retreat a couple of years ago. The brother may have died here, but that doesn’t mean the relationship goes away. The plot: Tallie McGovern has been pretending to cope with the death of her older brother. She knows he’s gone. But when she finds out that he was an organ donor, she wonders if tracking down the organ recipients might somehow bring him back. February.
2. Jo Knowles, STILL A WORK IN PROGRESS, MG: If you’ve read SEE YOU AT HARRY’S you will clearly want to read anything else that Jo Knowles writes. Told from a boy’s point of view, the main character is overshadowed by his older sister. There are other shadows here, too, of course. An August release date.
3. Karen Rivers, GIRL IN THE WELL, Upper MG. Kammie’s in a new town with a new life. When she ends up trapped after a so-called initiation, she has lots of time to consider the life she’s lived so far. Who’s keeping her company? Wait, is that a French-speaking coyote? A zombie goat? March.
4. Elana K. Arnold, FAR FROM FAIR, MG. Odette Zyskowski has a list of Things That Aren’t Fair, and taking a road trip in an RV to visit her grandmother is currently at the top. Sharing the back seat on this trip is Odette’s exasperating younger brother. While the relationship isn’t at the center of the story, it’s certainly important to it, as is the exploration of life and death. March.
5. Miranda Kenneally, DEFENDING TAYLOR, YA. A lie to defend her boyfriend gets Taylor kicked out of her private school. She’s under lots of pressure when she switches to Hundred Oaks High — plus she has to play on a soccer team that used to be her rival. The person who seems to understand her best is her brother’s best friend. I’m interested to see how the brother weighs in on all of this. The soccer element also gives it extra appeal for me. July.
6. Holly Black, THE DARKEST PART OF THE FOREST, YA. This one came out last year, but the paperback was just released for 2016, and since I haven’t read it yet, I’m counting it. Hazel and her brother, Ben, are in a town where humans and Faerie folks live side by side. The siblings grew up telling each other stories — like the one about the horned boy in the glass coffin. Hazel knows he’ll never wake. And then one day, he does.
BONUS: Also worth a mention is SQUISH, POD VS. POD, the eighth book in the Squish series. It’s by brother-sister team Jennifer and Matthew Holm, and whether a sibling relationship is at the core of the book or not (in this case, I believe it’s a not), I sort of figure all of their books explore brother-sister relationships, one way or another.
Excited about a brother-sister book due out in 2016? If so, please share in the comments.
Interested in other books about siblings? Melanie Crowder has a post about middle-grade novels featuring sisterly bonds right here.