Finding the “good” parents: My list

Read about the original challenge here

View the Master List

My list:

  1. Suite Scarlett (and its sequel Scarlett Fever) by Maureen Johnson: Scarlett Martin and her family have nothing but affection for each other aside from the occasional bout of sibling disagreement. They might not know much about running a hotel, but the Martins know lots about good parenting.
  2. Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy by Gary D. Schmidt: Turner Buckminster’s mother is a regular moral compass, she always knows the right path and tries to show her husband where it is while encouraging young Turner to follow his own path which, eventually, might set his own father back on the straight and narrow.
  3. Incarceron by Catherine Fisher: No one is going to agree with me on this. The Warden might be ruthless and cold and scary, but by the end of the story I defy you to tell me he did not have his child’s best interests at heart in a weird, ruthless, cold and scary kind of way.
  4. Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta: Trevanion went to prison for his son! And rescued him! And lots of other awesome things!
  5. Holes by Louis Sachar: Cursed, probably. Bad parents, no way. The Yelnatses are nothing but loving and supportive–even if they couldn’t stop Stanley’s dirty-rotten-no-good-pig-stealing ancestor from causing trouble.
  6. Love, Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli: Stargirl is a free spirit and her parents are cool enough to let her. This book is filled with delightfully odd yet authentic adult characters besides parents.
  7. City of Bones by Cassandra Clare: Nothing speaks more to parental involvement and engagement like not telling your daughter she has the Sight. Lies aside, Jocelyn has Clary’s best interests at heart. And as a father figure it doesn’t get much more realistic than Luke–even when he’s swinging a knife fighting monsters.
  8. The Year My Sister Got Lucky by Aimee Friedman: Sometimes being a responsible parent is just standing back while your daughters decide to pursue their own dreams instead of yours.
  9. The Sweetheart of Prosper County by Jill S. Alexander: Austin knows exactly what she wants. And her mom knows it might not end exactly as Austin plans. But she also knows that Austin needs to learn that lesson on her own. A realistic and often amusing depiction of a single mother at her best.
  10. The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl by Barry Lyga: I include this one to point out that sometimes the best parental characters are the ones that teens think they hate. The Step-Fascist is one of my favorite parents in YA because Fanboy hates him (thus the nickname) but the Step-Fascist still steps up repeatedly as a parent with no expectations of gratitude–totally real and totally awesome–because it takes a man to be a dad.

Finding the “good” parents: A master book list for a challenge

This is the master list of all blog links and suggestions submitted via comments for my Finding the “Good” Parents in YA Lit challenge.

The Master List:

*Denotes book submitted via comment

  1. The Sweetheart of Prosper County by Jill S. Alexander
  2. How Tia Lola Came to (Visit) Stay by Julia Alvarez*
  3. Return to Sender by Julia Alvarez*
  4. Audrey, Wait! by Robin Benway*
  5. City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
  6. The Total Tragedy of a Girl Named Hamlet by Erin Dionne*
  7. The Lonely Hearts Club by Elizabeth Eulberg*
  8. Exploits of a Reluctant (but Extremely Good Looking) Hero by Maureen Fergus*
  9. Incarceron by Catherine Fisher
  10. If I Stay by Gayle Forman*
  11. The Year My Sister Got Lucky by Aimee Friedman
  12. Inkheart by Cornelia Funke*
  13. Hoot by Carl Hiaasan
  14. To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  15. Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan*
  16. Confetti Girl by Diana Lopez*
  17. Suite Scarlett by Maureen Johnson
  18. Scarlett Fever by Maureen Johnson
  19. The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl by Barry Lyga
  20. Flash Burnout by L.K. Madigan*
  21. Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta
  22. The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson
  23. The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan*
  24. Holes by Louis Sachar
  25. Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy by Gary D. Schmidt
  26. Chasing Brooklyn by Lisa Schroeder*
  27. Love, Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli
  28. Marcelo In The Real World by Francisco X. Stork*

Blog List Links:

  1. Miss Print’s List
  2. The Book Bandit’s List

Finding the “good” parents in YA Lit: A Challenge of sorts

On April 1* found an essay in The New York Times called “The Parent Problem in YA Lit” by Julie Just who apparently is the children’s books editor of The Times which just makes the article more frustrating. (I heard about it from Leila from Bookshelves of Doom** who linked me to Liz B’s post about it at A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy.)

Like a lot of readers, I don’t really understand what Just was trying to tell the world with her essay. I didn’t really see a point to it but Liz B’s theory that Just was more wondering about the real parents of today than the book ones makes more sense than anything else I could come up with.

Whatever the point, I had a real problem with the essay because no matter what she was trying to convey part of that message was that parents in YA novels are not always absent (allowing young people to rise triumphantly as Just notes in the essay) and not always realistic or “good”*** and instead tend to be losers compared to the teens presented.**** I don’t think that is a fair claim and I don’t think it’s an accurate one. Like any other genre there’s a cross-section–the good and the bad are presented.

Suffice it to say the article got under my skin and I want to prove Just wrong.

I want a list of “good” parents, “real” parents, parents who could be role models instead of horrible examples, parents readers will like as characters even if they might not identify with them (because, hey, YA books are written for teens not parents).

And I want your help!

Continue reading Finding the “good” parents in YA Lit: A Challenge of sorts