This is a compelling look at the aftermath of a tour of duty in a war zone. The nervous awkwardness his family feels around him makes sense—he left them as a high school graduate and returns as a war-hardened Marine. While the relationship between him and Harper is meant to be the story’s focus, it is Travis’s relationship with his mom that gives depth to his character. His annoyance at her nervous chatter as they leave the airport evolves into real appreciation for her vigilance during his tour of duty and seething anger at his father for his disrespectful treatment of his mom.
And it got me thinking about other great familiar relationships in YA. So often parents or siblings are just foils for the main characters, someone for them to act out against, or argue with, or fight with, that it’s a real breath of fresh air to find a relationship between family members that feels loving. I think Scarlett and Spencer Martin in Maureen Johnson‘s Suite Scarlett and Scarlett Fever are another great example, and to call out a non-client, the entire Casson family in any of Hilary McKay’s Series about them, including Indigo’s Star and Saffy’s Angel. What are some of your favorite family relationships in YA or MG?