Parents have it pretty rough in YA. Sure, plenty of real-life parents are absent or negligent, but finding a solid, caring, and awesome parental unit in YA can feel a lot like searching for meaning in a Pauly Shore movie. But in honor of Mother’s Day, I did a little digging, and I’m pleased to note that there are at least 5 moms in YA who’ve definitely earned breakfast in bed.
Lucy Whitticomb (Dark Star, by Bethany Frenette)
Plenty of moms are superheros in their own right, but Audrey Whitticomb’s is the real literal deal—a bonafide bad-guy-fighting powerhouse. Oh, and she’s raising Audrey on her own, and doing a pretty darn good job. The bond between Lucy and Audrey is of a type rarely seen in YA, and if you’re at all a fan of paranormal or fantasy, I highly recommend Dark Star. Plus, you can get even more of the Whitticombs in the recently released sequel, Burn Bright.
Reece Malcolm (The Reece Malcolm List, by Amy Spalding)
Okay, so Reece Malcolm isn’t a good mom, per se…yeah, no, she’s actually a terrible one. But she’s trying, sort of, and more importantly, she’s hilarious. Spalding’s follow-up, Ink is Thicker Than Water, has far more traditionally great parents (she’s generally the author I tout as being the best writer of parents in YA), but Reece and this debut are the ones with a special place in my heart.
Mrs. Garrett (My Life Next Door, by Huntley Fitzpatrick)
The Garretts are contemporary YA’s most charming huge family, and at its heart is this warm, proud, welcoming matriarch. Any woman who can wrangle eight kids with that much sweetness and humor deserves whipped cream on those Mother’s Day waffles.
Cate (Life By Committee, by Corey Ann Haydu)
Rare is the YA about teen mothers (How to Love, by Katie Cotugno, is a great one), but even rarer is one where the main character’s mother gave birth to her when she was a teen herself. Cate was 16 when Tabitha was born, and now that Tab’s reached the same age, her mom’s got the friend/parent balance down pat. Not that Tab’s dad, Paul, is too shabby either…but Cate’s the half of the couple that doesn’t routinely smell like a Phish concert.
Kat Hall (If I Stay, by Gayle Forman)
Kat may meet a tragic end early in the book, but there’s plenty of flashbacks to make clear she was one of the coolest moms ever. I mean, the woman makes a joke about a Yo-Yo Ma mosh pit and sneaks her daughter into a casino. If that doesn’t make you want to draw up an “I love you” card with your best crayons for her to proudly hang on the fridge, nothing will.
Who’s your favorite mom in YA?