Book List

Where Did the Parents Go?: 5 Books with Missing Parents

March 28, 2017
Jill Hacking
Riveted Editorial Board

Being a teenager means sometimes wanting to get as far away from your parents as possible…but it also means realizing how much you need them. After all, they may not be the coolest humans, but they’re the ones that always have your back. If your parent were to go missing, you’d want to find them right? In Tom Levine’s Hellworld, Abby finds herself in just that situation. Five years ago, Abby Booth’s mom, cohost of a ghost hunting reality show, went missing while filming in a ‘haunted’ cave in Arizona. Now she’s determined to go back to the cave and find out, once and for all, what really happened to her mom.

If you’re intrigued and want to know more about Abby’s story, we’re featuring an extended excerpt of Hellworld through April 3rd. Go check it out! If you finish that and find yourself itching for more of the parent-searching narrative (or if you feel like you could use some reads that will help you appreciate your parents more), you’re in luck! I’ve compiled a list of books with protagonists who are missing (in a variety of ways) a parent. Happy reading!

Hellworldby Tom Leveen

Abby’s mom, a famous ghost hunter went missing 5 years ago while filming in a mysterious cave. Propelled by her dad’s depression and her need for answers, Abby returns to the same cave, but what she finds may change everything.

City of Bonesby Cassandra Clare

Clary Fray's life is upended when her mother goes missing. Thrust into a mysterious new world, Clary must rely on new friends and newly discovered abilities to save her mother from evil she is just beginning to understand.

Armadaby Ernest Cline

Zack Lightman knows his dad is dead. That is, until he’s recruited for the Earth Defense Alliance, and he discovers that everything he knew about his dad is wrong.

The Other F Wordby Natasha Friend

Milo and Hollis are strangers who were conceived using the same sperm donor. Together they set out to find their donor to find answers about themselves, and along the way they meet other donor siblings and learn what it means to be family.

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Closeby Jonathan Safran Foer

Oskar is going on a secret mission through the five boroughs of New York to find the lock that matches a key that belonged to his dad. His dad died on September 11th, but Oskar’s journey helps him—and the survivors he meets—make sense of and find peace in the aftermath.

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