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5 YA Books With Crucial Sibling Relationships by Authors of Colors

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Mariela Santos Muñiz

Staff Writer

An avid reader and lover of words, Mariela Santos-Muniz currently works as a freelance journalist and writer. Bilingual in English and Spanish, she holds an M.A. from Boston University in International Relations and International Communications. While she learned a lot during her time in Boston and had some really cool experiences there, she's happy to now be back in warm Puerto Rico.

Young adult books are some of my favorites. Without a doubt, I know many readers feel the same way, even if they’re no longer young adults. That’s the case with me. Luckily, there’s no age limit when it comes to enjoying YA books, and a lot of them are adapted to the screen, too, since they’re so popular. All of these YA books about siblings explore these relationships. As a reader, it’s possible to analyze the relationships in these stories, and apply them to your own life. You can ask yourself questions like, what do I think makes a good sibling? How do these characters communicate, and can I see that reflected in my own life? Or to think, my sibling(s) are I are like this too! Maybe life imitates art, or the other way around.

These books are fiction, yes, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t explore parts of real life. Relationships are often complicated, both on the page and in the real world.

One of the Good Ones by Maika Moulite and Maritza Moulite

Not only is the sibling relationship really important in this book, the authors as siblings as well. There are three sisters in this story: Kezi, Happi, and Genny.

Kezi, a social activist, is killed, and Happi and Genny go on a trip together after the tragic event. New information is revealed about Kezi’s murder, which changes things in a major way.

The Moulite sisters also wrote Dear Haiti, Love Elaine.

To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

Main character Lara Jean Covey explores love and self-discovery in this book, the first in a trilogy. Her older and younger sisters play an important role throughout her journey, even though sometimes they might not get along.

The books were adapted into wildly popular movies on Netflix, starring actors Lana Condor and Noah Centineo.

Deadline recently reported that a spinoff series focused on the youngest Covey sister is being developed. In addition, Han’s book The Summer I Turned Pretty is also being adapted, and includes a love triangle with two brothers.

Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds

In this gripping story, Will’s brother Shawn is murdered and Will wants revenge. But there’s a twist to the story, as Will gets on an elevator and people continue to show up, adding depth to the story. There are even people that are supposed to be dead.

Will starts to question what he thought he knew, and readers are along for the ride. This book has also been made into a graphic novel.

Jason Reynolds has also published books like Look Both Ways and All American Boys. Reynolds is currently the Library of Congress National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature.

Summer Bird Blue by Akemi Dawn Bowman

Author Akemi Dawn Bowman has written both young adult and middle grade books. Her YA roster includes Starfish, and The Infinity Courts; her debut MG, Generation Misfits, is slated to be published in the summer of 2021.

In this story, Rumi Seto loses her younger sister and partner in music, which changes her life in many ways. Strong emotions are explored like depression, grief, and love, in addition to the importance of music. There’s no easy way to deal with such a loss, and Rumi’s working to pick up the pieces.

I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika L. Sánchez

A child of immigrants, Julia is not like her older sister — who’s more of a perfect Mexican daughter. Their world is turned upside down with her sister Olga’s death, however. As Julia looks for answers about her sister’s death, she finds out more about her family — and herself. Prepare yourself for some twists and turns in this book.

The book is being adapted into a movie, with America Ferrera set to direct.

If you’re interested in more books by this author, you can check out her poetry book, Lessons on Expulsion.