Monthly Recommendations: Family Focus

Finally! A Monthly Recommendations theme that I can actually provide good recommendations for ;) Over the past few months I've enjoyed the link-up but it just hasn't been my wheelhouse.

I almost forgot, Monthly Recommendations is a Goodreads group from Kayla  [Kayla Rayne] and Trina [Between Chapters]. They pick monthly topics and we all's fun and you should do it too!

Family Focus

I've only read the first 2 books of The Lunar Chronicles, Cinder and Scarlet. These are sci-fi, steampunk-y stories but contains complex characters and family relationships. As a retelling of Cinderella, Cinder obviously deals with step-family relations. But there is also the relationship of Prince Kai and his father, which includes a royal legacy and responsibility. Scarlet is a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood- there is a wonderful relationship with her grandmother, plus an interesting dynamic between the pack of "wolves" she ends up with.

On basically the exact opposite end of the spectrum, Delirum involves a society where they have developed a "cure" for love. People are matched with a future spouse in their early teens, shortly after receiving the serum. The cure prevents them from loving not only their spouse, but their parents/siblings/and even children. Any sign of love or basically happiness at all is frowned upon, even criminal. It's not implicitly stated, but basically apathy is the goal. Apathetic people don't fight or fuss or rebel or care.

This book is one of my favorites that I've read this year. It follows different family members surrounding an adopted baby girl- the child, her birth mother, her adoptive mother, her adoptive examines culture and love and family and I just love love love love it.

This is almost similar to Secret Daughter...but with some big differences. It made me cry and think and my heart bled for two families, but mostly for a little girl caught in the middle. To be perfectly honest, I did not like the ending...but overall it did a great job of showing emotional gray areas.

 This was such a cute book. It involves a teenage girl and her unusual aunt...I like that it examined an important relationship with someone outside the immediate nuclear family. It's important to realize the importance of having someone to vent to.

Another one of my favorites for the year. Alice wakes up one day thinking she is 29, newly married, and pregnant with her first child. Turns out she hit her head and is actually 39, in the middle of a divorce, and has 3 kids. It's wonderful and heartbreaking and wonderful again.

Lola has two gay dads. They are great parents...but the real reason I like this book is because she has a very awkward and uncomfortable relationship with her birth mom. The birth mom is NOT made out to be a hero...which I like.

For the same reason, plus what it's like to love someone with mental illness, try Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell.


This series is a little cheesy at times (Christian fiction) but involves a desperate mother's love and the duty of friendship.

I just love Pat Conroy. This is a dark story (trigger warnings for abuse, child & sexual) but so good.

I believe families are messy, because people are messy. And it's love and commitment and time and shared experience that make a family- these stories reflect that.

What are your favorite family-centered stories?


  1. I've considered reading both the Cinder and Delirium series, but just haven't made that final determination yet.

    What Alice Forgot remains one of my favorite books of the last 3 years.

  2. I read the first couple of chapters of Cinder. While I liked it, I wasn't super pulled into it. Perhaps I should give it another chance?

    I really want to read What Alice Forgot and all of Liane Moriarty's other books. I've only read The Last Anniversary, which a lot of people have said isn't her best, and I absolutely loved it.

    I couldn't get through The Prince of Tides. I liked the story line, but Conroy irks me as a writer. His writing just seems very pretentious and like he is intentionally showing off how good of a writer he is by explaining everything to the nth degree. I don't know. Perhaps that's a silly complaint, but it just felt so indulgent.