Best Book Ever: Parents

Welcome to Best Book Ever here at Short and Sweet Reviews! 

This week, we're talking about books that involve parents.  YA books are sort of notorious for disappearing parents -- our leads take off on their own adventures without a parent to be found.  So we're looking at our favorite books that have parents who act unusual, are noticeably absent, or, best yet, where the parents were actually involved in the story.

The best book that includes parents in the action is probably Freaky Friday by Mary Rogers, in which the young protagonist actually becomes her own parent. You've probably seen one of the films based on it already, so you know how this works: A girl, Annabel Andrews, inexplicably switches bodies with her mother, leading the two of them to gain a new appreciation of the other's life. This premise has been revisited many times in various books, films, and television shows, including one of Rogers' sequels, Summer Switch, in which Annabel's brother, Ben, switches places with their dad. Though these books might come off as a bit didactic, there's no denying the appeal of getting to be an adult for a day, and they handle the parent-child relationship head on instead of brushing it under the carpet, killing the parents off, or resorting to stereotypes. A recent sequel that Rogers co-wrote with Heather Hach explores the same idea with a student and teacher exchanging places.

E.C. Myers, debut author of Fair Coin (2012 Prometheus Books)

Parents in fairy tales often get the short end of the stick - as in, normally it's an evil stepmother causing lots of problems. But in EAST - Edith Pattou's novelization of my favorite-of-all-favorite fairy tales "East o' the Sun, West o' the Moon," the parents play a more direct role in the story. In this retelling of the story, Rose's mother "changes" her name to try and shift her destiny. Her father is more supportive, but can only do so much to help Rose discover the secrets about her birth - Mom's a pretty tough, superstitious lady. Mom also manages to get Rose in a heap of trouble with The Bear and Troll Queen - but it's okay, because in the process, Rose does learn who she really is - and what her heart needs. A beautiful story, retold in a way that took my breath and stole my heart.

Rebecca @ A Word's Worth

As for us....

The first book that came to mind for this theme was Neal Gaiman's Coraline.  It's been several years since I've read it, but I remember it being pretty creepy for what's a YA/children's book.  It's a book for younger readers but one that doesn't underestimate them or what they can handle.  After discovering a mysterious passageway in her house, young Coraline goes through it to discover the Other Mother.  She's stepped into an alternate world where everything is perfect: the alternate parents are just right, permissive and attentive, and she has other-worldly toys that she never had back in her real world.  All is not as it seems, though, and it soon falls to Coraline to save her real parents from the Other Mother, and learns a few lessons along the way.


How about you? What's your favorite book about parents?

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