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!
Now 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 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.
What are some of your favorite YA cousin stories? Let us know on our YA Instagram page!
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