Oh, Mom! Young Adult Books Featuring a Mother/Daughter Relationship

shelved under Parenting and Young Adult & Teen

Think of Young Adult novels, and you think of angst-filled, hormone-tormented teen protagonists. Who better to guide such teens than their own mothers? With that in mind, I asked a number of bloggers who focus on Young Adult novels to name their favorite YA title that focuses on a mother/daughter relationship.

Imagine my surprise when one by one, the majority of this usually quick-to-contribute lot came forward saying they couldn't think of an appropriate title. Fortunately, just enough of them scrounged up a Flashlight Worthy contribution that I was able to piece together the list below. Thank you to those who contributed and enjoy the list.


The Unwritten Rule

by Elizabeth Scott

Irish from Ticket to Anywhere says:

I found that once I started to read The Unwritten Rule I couldn't put it down. So I was very glad that I had started it on a 3 hour train ride so I didn't have to! The writing was just amazing, which is something I've come to expect from Scott. The relationships are all pretty dynamic but I loved the relationship between Sarah and her mother. Not only were parents an integral part of the book but they were kind and supportive. There were several wonderful conversations between Sarah and her mother about the behavior of Sarah's friend Brianna — who was the queen of backhanded compliments. Sarah's mother was always there for her, ready to listen and offer up advice and to support Sarah even when she might not agree with her decisions. All in all, it was a real peek into a normal household. So much of YA is filled with absentee or abusive parents that I always find it refreshing to have a stable parent/child relationship.


Blue Plate Special

by Michelle D. Kwasney

Alea from Pop Culture Junkie says:

Blue Plate Special is best if you go into it knowing nothing more than what you read on the jacket flap. It will reveal itself to you bit by bit until you're left sitting there stunned and extremely impressed — at least I think so. In four words? It's heartbreaking, honest, raw and real.


Saving Francesca

by Melina Marchetta

Alexa from Not Enough Bookshelves says:

Saving Francesca is one of my favorite YA books of all time and it has a brilliant portrayal of the mother/daughter bond. Francesca refers to her mother, Mia, as the Queen of the Limitation Placers. When Mia takes to her bed with depression though, Francesca is left lost and alone and struggling to make sense of the world without her mother to guide her. I love Francesca and Mia's relationship in this book. In YA parents are often completely out of the picture, in the background or absolutely ghastly. But in real life young adults love, rail against and look up to their parents. Melina Marchetta shows us all those moments between Francesca and Mia and their bond rings so true... which is why it would be my perfect pick for Mothers' Day.


For Keeps

by Natasha Friend

Steph Su from Steph Su Reads says:

The premise of this is a lot like Gilmore Girls, only with the "Rory" character being stronger than the "Lorelei" character. While it's partially a story of a changing single-mother-and-daughter relationship as their cozy little two-person world begins opening up to new loves and new-found old ones, it's also a celebration of the various aspects that make adolescence so crazy, miserable, AND great: best friends, romance, sportsmanship, and more. The protagonist, Josie, has a great voice that's a perfect balance of sarcastic and vulnerable. For Keeps deftly explores the long-term impact of growing up with only one parent, but it is also so much more.


Along for the Ride

by Sarah Dessen

Steph Su from Steph Su Reads says:

Sarah Dessen always writes the most wonderfully complex characters: her parent-teen relationships in particular are almost painfully accurate renditions of reality. In Along for the Ride, Dessen's latest novel, Auden has structured her life around academics, encouraged — or, rather, pushed — by her mother to follow an extremely regimented path. It takes a summer at the shore for Auden to realize how constricting her relationship with her mother is, and how they can both change and let go slightly to make it better. Auden's mother's actions will make readers rage, but Dessen writes in such a way that both Auden and her mother's beliefs are justified, though conflicting. It takes great skill to write a mother-daughter relationship that's not black and white, and Sarah Dessen consistently shows that she can do just this.


Bleeding Violet

by Dia Reeves

Doret from happynappybookseller says:

If you are looking for a sweet mother/daughter story this is not the book for you. 16-year-old Hanna is in her mom's home town of Portero, Texas for the first time. The two have never met. After an incident with her aunt, Hanna needs a new place to call home. Hanna's mother, Rosalee does her best to discourage her daughter but it doesn't work. Hanna quickly learns Portero is far from normal town. Students are turned into statues, and monsters can take people right off the streets. Hanna has conversations with her dead father and fits right in. This story is strange, gorgeous and beautifully written. Reeves explores the relationship of mother and daughter, and in their own way, their love for one another is apparent.