One of the many great things about contemporary YA is that it focuses on real issues that many teens are facing. These can range from romantic troubles and firsts, to the tumultuous social scenes of high school, to the often dramatic and strange ways our relationships to our families change as we get older. But sometimes that familial change is out of our control — sometimes there’s a massive event that affects our family and dramatically alters both our relationships and the way we thought our lives were going to go. I love that even when we’re experiencing these difficult times, we don’t have to cope with them alone. Literature is here to help. Sickness, divorce, sudden death — all of these are devices used to explore the ways our families both disappoint and uplift us, and how our close (or not close) connections to our families affect us as we grow up. In honor of the 5th anniversary of Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson (which is available as a featured free read until May 22nd), one of the best family upheaval narratives out there, I’ve rounded up a list of some of my favorite books that feature a sudden and dramatic change in the family dynamic. Check it out, and let me know what you think in the comments below!
In Morgan Matson’s second novel Second Chance Summer Taylor Edwards’ mostly normal family is devastated by the news that her father has cancer — and only three or so months to live. Facing the diagnosis head on, her dad decides the family ought to spend the summer at their old beach house. Tight quarters means that this overscheduled and extremely busy family has to finally spend real time together, and get to know one another again. Not to mention the beach house resides in the town where Taylor’s old best friend and first ever boyfriend live. Second Chance Summer explores the difficultly of connecting and reconnecting with family, as well as friends and first loves. FULL BOOK — READ IT NOW >