Yesterday, we celebrated Mother's Day by looking at books where the Mother/Child relationship was a major part of the story. But, many YA characters are also dealing with missing their mothers, and that's what we'll look at today.
Under the Mesquite by Guadalupe Garcia McCall. Freshman year, Lupita's mother gets uterine cancer. Despite the fact that she's the oldest of eight, Lupita and her mother have a close relationship and it grieves her to see her vibrant and wonderful mother struggle with the disease. This verse novel follows Lupita through high school and beyond, and we see her and her family deal with her mother's illness and eventual death.
Chopsticks by Jessica Anthony and Rodrigo Corral. Glory is a piano prodigy known for mixing classical pieces with pop culture themes, motifs, and musical references. Frankie is the boy next door, whose family just moved from Argentina. Frankie is all Glory has outside of piano and her over-bearing father/teacher. Glory is all Frankie has in this country he hates and doesn't fit into. But soon, Glory is falling, all she can play are variations on the Chopsticks waltz over and over and over and over and over again. As she unravels, we start to see another side and have to wonder how much is true, or even real. Told almost entirely in photographs and almost wordless, it's a fast, but lingering, read.
Two Moons in August by Martha Brooks. One of my most favorite books of all time. After her mother died last summer, Sidonie's family fragmented--her sister went off to Uni and her father threw himself into his work. This summer, she tries to bring them back together, while also letting herself open up to the new boy across the street.
One of Those Hideous Books Where the Mother Dies by Sonya Sones. Ruby's parents divorced before she was born and all she knows of her famous father is what she reads in the papers. But, when her mother suddenly dies, she's forced to leave her Boston home, friends, and family, to move to LA to live with him.
My Most Excellent Year: A Novel of Love, Mary Poppins, and Fenway Park by Steve Kluger. TC and his father have a very close relationship, especially since his mother died. While the thrust of this story focuses on TC's freshman year, his best friend, and the girl he's in love with, the scene where Augie tells Al why TC didn't ride a bike for years gets me every time.
Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta. There are two stories going on--one of a group of kids surviving a horrific car crash and their friends, and one of Taylor who has been chosen to lead the Jellicoe School in the annual Territory Wars against the Cadets and Townies. Her heart's not in it though, as Hannah, the closest thing she has to a mother, has disappeared. Also, the head of the Cadets happens to be a boy she hasn't seen this they ran away together 6 years ago, the last time Taylor tried to look for her actual mother. You know the two storylines connect, and you have an idea how, but you're not sure until it happens and it's 3 am and you're sobbing in the middle of your kitchen.
Crazy by Han Nolan. After Jason's mother dies, his father's mental illness spirals even more out of control. Jason does everything he can to hide the truth from the world, but his own mental state is questionable.
Starting From Here by Lisa Jean Bigelow. Colby's mother died two years ago and her trucker father's always gone. When the girl she likes gets a boyfriend, it seems like the last straw. But then an injured dog enters her life-- will Colby let it enter her heart, too? or will she seal herself off to save herself from further pain?
As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner. After their mother dies, the Bundren family must travel to her hometown, where she wanted to be buried. Everyone has different reactions to her dying and different reasons for traveling. Told in multiple voices, this is my favorite piece of literature, having discovered it in a high school English class. It also contains the line my mother is a fish, which, in context, is both the most hilarious and most heart-breaking line in American literature.
What are your favorite books with a missing mother?
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