Families can be difficult. They can be frustrating and complicated and messy. No one’s family is perfect, but the families in these books will remind you just how difficult relatives can be, and in some cases, just how much worse life would be without them.
7 Books to Read With Complicated Family Dynamics
1. Five Feet Apart by Rachael Lippincott
This book follows a young girl struggling with cystic fibrosis. While the main focus of the narrative is the love story between her and another CF patient, there is no shortage of family drama in this emotion-inducing tale. Dealing with a recent unnamed tragedy that has put a wedge between her parents, Stella must fight to find joy in her limited life while holding her damaged family together.
2. Crown of Feathers by Nicki Pau Preto
This fantastical novel is centered around betrayal, lies, secrets, and even a war between two sisters. Talk about a dysfunctional family rivalry… After the betrayal of a lifetime from her own sister, Veronyka sets out on her own for the first time in her life, fighting to become a Phoenix rider. As she unravels the secrets and lies that came between her and her sister in the first place, she finds herself hiding secrets of her own.
3. The Cold Is in Her Bones by Peternelle van Arsdale
In this novel, we have a main character who knows nothing but her family’s farm. Her only friend is her older brother, and she suffers a painful loneliness day after day. Her idea of family expands when a girl from a nearby village comes to life on their farm, but the girl has a terrible secret: she carries with her a demonic possession. Milla leaves the only place she’s ever known in order to find the truth and hopefully break the curse.
4. Slayer by Kiersten White
This complicated family dynamic comes from the legacy that main character Nina must carry on. She comes from a long line of Watchers, sworn to protect the Slayer of their generation. Nina wants nothing to do with it, so of course she ends up chosen as the new Slayer. Now she has to face the responsibility of carrying on the legacy she never wanted, and protect her family from a new and sinister threat.
5. Starry Eyes by Jenn Bennett
This teen coming-of-age story is a rollercoaster of complicated relationships. An enemies-turned-lovers tale, and friends-turned-enemies angle, and at the heart of it all, a broken family unsure of how to heal. Zorie finds out her dad is cheating on her step-mom, but how could she tell, when her step-mom is the closest thing she’s had to a real parent since her mom passed? Zorie’s troubles spiral as the novel goes on, but in the end, she finds a new meaning of family.
6. Broken Lands by Jonathan Maberry
Gabriella Gomez has to face her mother turned zombie in this thrilling tale. While zombies are finding their way into her well protected town, how can she continue to hide in the background? Everything changes when her zombie mom shows up – and Gabriella has to face all the terror that she’s been avoiding for years.
7. To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han
Lara Jean’s family dynamic is much tamer than the other titles on this list. While family relationships are simply an undertone of this novel, it is a true ode to the statement “no family is perfect.” Still feeling the loss of their mother and harboring a crush on her older sister’s boyfriend, Lara Jean certainly faces some family complications. But love for family conquers all in a heartwarming end that’s sure to make you crave a hug from your mom, dad, sisters, brothers, grandparents, and all the rest.