I read to books last week and coincidentally both had sibling relationships at their centre, and they were positive relationships. They supported each other, protected each other and made each other laugh. They were brother and sister, or sister and sister, or brother and brother, but they were also friends. That’s not to say their relationships were perfect. Siblings can be your closest allies and an acute pain in the bum. The problem is they know how to push your buttons, they know things your parents don’t about you and that gives them leverage, and they don’t always agree with you. As one of three children, I can confirm all this is true, but that’s what’s great about siblings. Even when they annoy you and tease you, they’ll still stick up for you when it counts.
So here are books with great sibling relationships in them.
Sal by Mick Kitson
Sal has two sisters at its heart. Sal takes her younger sister Peppa away from their dingy flat to the Scottish wilds to protect her from their abusive home life. She consistently puts Peppa’s needs above her own, often going without so that Peppa won’t. It’s a evocative and heartfelt story.
Wonder by R J Palacio
Auggie and Via have a difficult relationship in Wonder. When Auggie was home-schooled he depended on Via, she was often his only playmate and when other kids stared or made comments about Auggie’s appearance she stood up for him. Now Auggie’s started school and Via’s moved to high school and she has the chance to wipe the slate clean. It’s a transition period for both of them and they have to adjust their relationship and the way they see each other, but they’re stronger for it in the end.
The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness
Mike and Mel both have scars. Their parents are largely unaware of what goes on in their lives and they’ve learnt to lean on each other. They share a friendship group but they never resent each other. Mike helps Mel remember to eat, sits with her when she does and Mel helps Mike break the loop when he’s stuck in an OCD cycle.
The Outsiders by S E Hinton
Ponyboy is the youngest of three brothers. He often feels like he’s tagging along with their friends, the greasers, unwanted. Since their parents died, his older brother Darry has taken on the task of raising Ponyboy and Sodapop. Darry is strict with Ponyboy, imposing rules on him that Sodapop doesn’t have to follow. Ponyboy assumes its because Darry likes him least, resents that he has to take care of him, but as events unfold he realises it’s because Darry wants him to succeed and have the opportunities that were taken from him when their parents died.
Jane Austen Heroines
Because you can’t talk about great sibling relationships without mentioning the Dashwood or Bennett sisters. Eleanor and Elizabeth are fiercely loyal and protective, often trying to help their families and steer their sisters in the right direction. Jane and Elizabeth’s relationship is particularly touching.