Hi everyone, this week’s post has for your reading pleasure a booklist of contemporary reads featuring tween girls of today with their fathers. Hope you all find something here that speaks to all lovers of fiction…
Most of the titles selected for this booklist are ones that I had read sometime ago, but I had really enjoyed the story in them.
Starting with a road trip story in Sway: a novel by Amber McRee Turner, we’re taken into the world of a ten-year-old girl. Cass had been dreaming of the day her mom returned home but disaster strikes and she’s stuck with her dad. Instead of staying home for the summer, Cass finds herself on the road with her dad in an old RV named the Roast, and is introduced to the amazing power of Sway. According to her dad, Sway is a magical force that can bring inspiration and joy to those in need of help. Although this sounds a bit magical it’s actually a really cute and quirky read of growing up and acceptance. What I loved the most were the descriptions of Cass’s growing relationship with her dad, who by the end of the book is much more interesting!!
Family stories always make for heartwarming reads. One such award-winner is Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine. This kept popping up in book lists on most websites I’d read so I thought I’d see what it was about. Young Caitlin is struggling with her brother’s death and has no one to explain the world to her. The world is confusing for Caitlin as she has Asperger’s and finds understanding emotions and people difficult. This poignant read had me grabbing for the tissues at almost every page. I couldn’t imagine how a young person with Asperger’s could make sense of grief and find closure, but the lyrical narrative used by Erskine did the job. Caitlin’s relationship with her father, who is also grieving, was one I felt that stood out over all the other themes in this read. A really good story with an ending that even brought closure to us readers!
The next two are the first in a series.
Set in New York we meet twelve-year-old Evie Brooks and her Uncle Scott. Yes, he’s not her father, but as the ‘father-figure’ in her life, I included these delightful reads. Although she’s reluctant to live in New York, the first book, Marooned in Manhattan, tells of the many ways Evie finds friends and falls in love with the Big Apple. By the time you start Central Park Showdown, Evie has managed to start school and even caught the eye of a young admirer. Evie seems to be one of those kids who finds herself tangled up in mysteries and all sorts of mad-cap adventure, mostly with a diverse range of animals as her uncle is a vet!! If you’re after humour and a dash of strong family themes, then these are definitely for you!!
If you are after an unforgettable read on neurodiversity, then award-winning Fish in a tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt is a title you should try. Our young protagonist Ally tries her best to hide her inability to read by creating clever distractions when she lands in a new school. However, her newest teacher sees the bright, creative kid beneath the troublemaker and helps shine a light on her natural gifts. Armed with a couple of unlikely friends, Ally learns that there’s more to herself than a label, and that great minds don’t always think alike. This is one of those award-winners that speaks volumes on topics like dyslexia, which is the main theme here, using only a few chapters. Along with the quirky cast of characters, this story was one I enjoyed immensely as it talked about the impact of dyslexia on the self-esteem of tweens. A truly remarkable one for all to enjoy!!
This next one is actually a title better suited for teens but I felt I should include it here as our character is a unique one. The list of things that will not change by Rebecca Stead has an engaging story that will keep you up most of the night. Young Bea’s dad and his partner are planning to marry and Bea’s looking forward to getting a new sister in Jesse’s daughter, Sonia. What happens on the wedding day is something you will have to read and find out. I’ll tell you this though, this book is about the different types of families we make and the bonds forged within them. Bea’s bond with her father is a unique one and I marvelled at how easily this story flowed from chapter to chapter. Make sure you have tissues when you read this!!
As we leave the US in this next read, be prepared for descriptions of an idyllic Caribbean setting in Hurricane child by Kheryn Callender. Twelve-year-old Caroline has had her share of bad luck. Despite the bullying and lack of a mother, it’s the spirit only she can see that worries her the most. Caroline’s luck begins to turn when new student Kalinda arrives from Barbados with a special smile for everyone. Filled with adventure, first crushes, and a risky journey through a hurricane, this captivating read tells a story of strength and magic. I really enjoyed this debut novel despite the occasional dark themes of bullying and abandonment included. Caroline’s relationship with her father may not be the main element, but she had a strong relationship with him to venture out and find the rest of herself. While reading it I got the sense it was intended for older tweens. All in all, the descriptions and imagery made this a really interesting read for me! Hope you feel the same!!
For mystery lovers and those who enjoy art history, the next book will tick most of your boxes. Taking readers across to Italy in Midnight in the piazza by Tiffany Parks, you will encounter a curious young girl in Beatrice Archer as she falls head first into an intriguing mystery when her father relocates to Rome. Along with Becca Stadtlander’s quirky illustrations, this story takes you into a mystery behind stolen art sculptures, a centuries-old mystery, and a race against the clock to bring the thieves to justice!! Fans of all things Rome and art history will really enjoy this read!! I enjoyed the mystery part but it was Beatrice’s relationship with her father above all!!
This final read will take you all the way to the North Sea, to a small house on Muir where young Amelia lives with her father and grandfather. For a mystical, magical read of family bonds, set in the wilds of those Scottish islands, you will love Lightning chase me home by Amber Lee Dodd. Amelia struggles in her new school but somehow makes a new friend with Tom. Life is a bit confusing for Amelia until a birthday wish to be reunited with her mum churns a wild magic from the sea. What captivated me in this was not just Amelia’s relationship with her dad, but also the one she had with her grandfather!!
So there you have my selection!! I hope you manage to find these and have a read of them. If you know of any other titles with a strong father-daughter relationship, I’d love to hear of them.
Stay safe and keep reading,