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!