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3 YA Books About Cousins

Tirzah Price

Senior Contributing Editor

Most of Tirzah Price's life decisions have been motivated by a desire to read as many books as humanly possible. Tirzah holds an MFA in Writing for Children & Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts, and has worked as an independent bookseller and librarian. She’s also the author of the Jane Austen Murder Mysteries, published by HarperTeen, and Bibliologist at TBR: Tailored Book Recommendations. Follow her on Twitter @TirzahPrice.


Charming, charismatic, and effortlessly popular, Conrad Stewart seems to have it all…but in reality, he’s scrambling to keep his life from tumbling out of control. Brilliant, guarded, and endlessly driven, Alden Roth may as well be the poster boy for perfection…but even he can’t help but feel a little broken inside. When these mortal enemies are stuck together on a cross-country road trip to the biggest gaming convention ever, an unexpected connection is forged. Will they duel to the death? Or will they let their infamous rivalry take a backseat to the most important game of all: LOVE.

One TV show I’ve enjoyed watching recently (and a great one for YA fans) is Derry Girls. It’s about five teens growing up in Northern Ireland in the 1990s, and the group is comprised of two sets of cousins. It got me thinking about how cousin relationships can be pretty unique—you’re not siblings, but you’re still family, and that comes with its own hangups and joys. I began brainstorming YA books about cousins, and came up with three must-read books!

Not Not, Not EverNow Now, Not Ever by Lily Anderson

Ellie’s summer options are not the greatest—stick around and get conscripted in her step-mom’s production of The Importance of Being Earnest, mock trial camp at UCLA, or head to her mom’s air base in Colorado. What she really wants to do is go to the summer camp for nerds to study Octavia Butler, her hero. So she comes up with a rather clever and devious plan to circumvent her parents, reinvents herself as Ever, and heads out…only to have her carefully laid plans thwarted by her cousin Isaiah. In order to keep up the ruse, they have to make a quick deal to cover for each other and pose as twins—but when family drama catches up to them, it’ll take all of Ever’s scheming to keep them out of trouble.

Dig by A.S. King

This powerful book is this year’s Michael L. Printz medal winner, and it’s about five estranged cousins who are all suffering from the effects of their grandparents’ choices. Gottfried and Marla Hemmings are potato farmers turned real estate developers who have decided to hold on to their wealth rather than share with their adult children and teenage grandchildren, and the result is poverty and need, until the teens find their way back to each other and decide to confront their toxic roots.

Wild Beauty by Anna-Marie McLemoreWild Beauty by Anna-Marie McLemore

The Nomeolvides women have always tended the gardens of La Pradera, enchanting visitors with their gardening magic. But what no one else knows is that they are cursed. If they fall in love, the object of their affections disappears. Now the five cousins are in an especially tight bind, because they’ve all fallen in love with the same girl. And when she disappears and a mysterious boy appears in the gardens, Estrella must unravel the mystery in order to solve this family curse for her cousins and aunts once and for all.

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