I just took a DNA test, turns out I’m 100% into books about family secrets. (I’m sorry, I had to.) But for real: With the rise in popularity of at-home DNA test kits, there have also been some surprising revelations lurking in our DNA. For some people, it might be as simple as learning that you’re 3% Irish…but for others, those test results are revealing some life-changing and shocking secrets about their families and their genes. I am endlessly fascinated about the potential use (and misuse) of these accessible DNA tests, and we’re starting to see some of these real-life stories spill over into YA books! Here are three books about family secrets and DNA tests.
You Have a Match by Emma Lord
Abby only completed the at-home DNA test to make her best friends Leo and Connie happy…and she definitely wants to make Leo happy to make up for an embarrassing incident that has made things awkward between them lately. But when Abby’s results reveal a sister she didn’t know she had, Abby’s entire world is turned upside down. Her sister Savvy is just a year and a half older, and much more glamorous than her. They hatch a plot to attend the same summer camp and get to know one another, and figure out why exactly Savvy was adopted before Abby was born — and why Abby’s parents kept it a secret.
The Truth Project by Dante Medema
In this novel in verse, Cordelia has a plan to make her senior project extra simple — she’ll copy her older sister’s idea of using a DNA test to get her own genetic results and then put her own spin on them by presenting them in poetry. But when the DNA test reveals that her dad isn’t her biological father, and her mom has kept secrets from her, Cordelia’s life begins to spin out. She turns to her crush and project partner Kodiak to help her make sense of her DNA results and even help her track down her biological father.
Tiffany Sly Lives Here Now by Dana L. Davis
Although the first two books start out with a DNA test, this book is about building up to one. Tiffany Sly’s mom died of cancer, and now she’s forced to leave everything and go live with her dad, a man she doesn’t know. His fancy home and four other daughters are completely unfamiliar to her, but she makes friends with a boy who lives on their street and that friendship sustains her. Except, Tiffany has a secret: Another man is claiming to be her father. She has no idea what she should do, but he’s coming to demand a DNA test in a week. And Tiffany is about to learn a lot more about herself, her mom, and her family.
I would love to see more YA books that feature these storylines, especially by authors of color! I imagine it won’t be long before more hit the shelves.
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