10 Fantastic Novels About Different Kinds of Families

By
Wed, 14 Nov 2018

Not all families are the same. Sometimes a single parent is left to raise children alone, sometimes children become estranged from both their parents, and some families aren't related by blood at all. The novels on this list explore a wide range of relationships that will expand your perspective on what it means to be a family. When you click links from this website, we may receive advertising revenue to support our research. This video was made with Ezvid Wikimaker.

10 Fantastic Novels About Different Kinds of Families

Title Author More by the Author
1. Refuge Dina Nayeri A Teaspoon of Earth and Sea
2. Bury What We Cannot Take Kirstin Chen Soy Sauce for Beginners
3. Orhan's Inheritance Aline Ohanesian
4. The Guineveres Sarah Domet 90 Days to Your Novel
5. Closed Doors Lisa O'Donnell The Death of Bees
6. Our Short History Lauren Grodstein A Friend of the Family
7. The Nix Nathan Hill
8. Remember Me Like This Bret Anthony Johnston Corpus Christi
9. The Far End of Happy Kathryn Craft The Art of Falling
10. Lookaway, Lookaway Wilton Barnhardt Show World

5 Fun Family Activities

If you want to bring your own family closer together, here are a few activities that could help you create lasting memories:

  1. Go on a camping trip
  2. Cook a meal with your kids
  3. Read a nightly bedtime story
  4. Have a board game night
  5. Sing karaoke together

Nonprofits That Support Families

If family is important to you, check out these non-profits that specialize in everything from advising new parents to providing assistance to poor children to helping families get through the loss of a parent

The Philosophy of Family Obligations

In Depth

Our relationships with our parents and siblings are often the ones we cherish the most, but unfortunately, this isn't the case for some people. There are a lot of novels out there that feature all sorts of dysfunctional families, and they typically show how each member learns to cope with and overcome whatever they're going through. With that in mind, we've compiled a list of ten fantastic novels about different kinds of families. Take note that this list is done in no particular order.

First up, at #1, is "Refuge" by Dina Nayeri. When Niloo was a kid, she and her family had to escape Iran and take refuge in America, but her father chose to stay behind. Over the years, Niloo has only met her father a handful of times, and she's always found his traditional ways embarrassing. When she befriends a group of fellow Iranian refugees, she realizes what she's lost and gains a sense of belonging. It's an emotional story that highlights the relationship between estranged family members, and it also shows the hardships that refugees have to endure.

At #2 is "Bury What We Cannot Take" by Kirstin Chen. Set during the early days of Maoist China, it revolves around a family that's faced with a lot of tough decisions and their consequences. After Ah Liam reports his grandmother for smashing a portrait of Mao Zedong, his entire family flees the country. San San, his sister, is left behind when their mother is forced to leave one of her children as proof of their intention to return, and she's left to fend for herself.

San San, his sister, is left behind when their mother is forced to leave one of her children as proof of their intention to return, and she's left to fend for herself.

Next up, at #3, we have "Orhan's Inheritance" by Aline Ohanesian. Orhan's family is left confused when his recently deceased grandfather's will states that their home should be given to Seda, an Armenian woman they've never heard of. When he flies to Los Angeles to seek out Seda, he learns about the horrifying history of his family and his country, Turkey. It's a touching tale that deals with the tragic Armenian Genocide.

Next, at #4, is "The Guineveres" by Sarah Domet. It revolves around four girls named Guinevere who were all abandoned by their parents and left at the Sisters of the Supreme Adoration convent. The eponymous girls only have each other, and they all want to escape to the outside world. When four comatose soldiers turn up at the convent, the Guineveres see this as an opportunity to finally leave.

At #5 is "Closed Doors" by Lisa O'Donnell. When eleven-year-old Michael's mother returns home bruised and crying, he's determined to find out what happened to her. His parents tell him that she fell on the way home, but by eavesdropping on their conversations, he starts piecing together the truth. Told from the perspective of a child, it's a novel that deals with the sensitive topic of rape and how it affects the victim and everyone around them.

His parents tell him that she fell on the way home, but by eavesdropping on their conversations, he starts piecing together the truth.

Next, at #6, is "Our Short History" by Lauren Grodstein. It's about Karen Neulander, a single mother who is struggling with stage 4 ovarian cancer. After telling her six-year-old son Jake about her condition, he tells her that he wants to meet his biological father, who walked away from their relationship when she was pregnant. When her ex finds out, he's surprisingly happy to meet the son he never knew he had, but Karen isn't sure if she's ready to let him be a part of Jake's life yet.

At #7 is "The Nix" by Nathan Hill. Samuel Andresen-Anderson is a writer whose mother walked away from their family when he was younger. One day, she suddenly returns with newfound notoriety after throwing rocks at a politician. The novel follows Sam as he uncovers the truth about his mother's past, and it's packed with a lot of dark humor and social commentary.

Next up, at #8, we have "Remember Me Like This" by Bret Anthony Johnston. Four years after the disappearance of Justin Campbell, his family is surprised to learn that he's alive and has been living in a nearby town. Unfortunately for the Campbells, Justin's miraculous return only adds to their suffering as they try to figure out what happened to him while he was gone.

Unfortunately for the Campbells, Justin's miraculous return only adds to their suffering as they try to figure out what happened to him while he was gone.

Next, at #9, is "The Far End of Happy" by Kathryn Craft. Based on a tragic true story, the novel mainly focuses on Ronnie Farnham, whose husband's unhealthy behavior has fractured their marriage. On the day that he's supposed to move out, Ronnie's husband instead locks himself in the barn with a shotgun in his hands. The story, spanning only twelve hours, deals with a lot of harsh and sensitive topics, such as alcoholism and suicide.

Finally, at #10, we have "Lookaway, Lookaway" by Wilton Barnhardt. It revolves around the Johnstons, a dysfunctional high-class family residing in Charlotte, North Carolina. The Johnstons have a very dark history that they try to sweep under the rug, and each member of the family holds a secret that can potentially tear them apart. It's a satirical novel that explores Southern culture, and it provides a lot of commentary on the South's history.