I don’t know if I’ve ever really mentioned this, but I have two siblings! I’m the oldest, my brother is three years younger, and my sister is seven years younger.
We’re the cutest, I know. I’ve never thought that Amy & I look alike at all, but Tommy & I definitely resemble each other. They’re the people I turn to when I need honesty and truth, and it always makes me sad to see how infrequently books include siblings. I feel like most MCs are single children, as well as don’t have parents, which I know is often just the easier way to write things, but come on, guys, siblings are such an easy way to have amazing character development! The way your MC acts around their siblings is waaaaaay different than they’re going to act around their best friend, even if that best friend is someone they consider a sister/brother (though I do have to argue that if, like me, you’ve known your best friend literally since the day she was born, you’ve got the same relationship), and it’s just such a fun way to create different relationships. I just love siblings a lot, okay, both because I have some pretty great ones and because they add another atmospheric level to the story. That said, here are some of my favorite siblings!
Also, there are some in here that I really wanted to include, but the fact that they had siblings in the book were spoilers, so I only stuck with books that you know characters are siblings outright, not as a plot twist later on.
Did you really think we were going to do anything but start this list with The City of Brass by SA Chakraborty? That’s cheating, it’s the start of the alphabet, but the Qahtani siblings will be the death of me in 2020. Even if all I had was that Ali calls Muntadhir Dhiru when no one else can would have slayed me because UGH YES SIBLING NICKNAMES.
Really, these first two are The Most predictable Mary moves ever because Daevabad and Shadowhunters in a best siblings list? DUH. I chose City of Glass by Cassandra Clare not because I remember any specifically awesome Lightwood siblings stuff, but because Alec is on the cover, so I assume there’s some? I don’t know, I’m thinking of the entire universe when I think of how much I love the relationship between Alec and Isabelle. And yes, I know Max is a Lightwood, too, but Alec & Isabelle remind me so much of my relationship with my own brother, and it just makes me smile a whole lot.
I chose Amnesty by Lara Elena Donnelly specifically because the relationship between Cyril & Lillian just breaks my heart, but you should all read the entire Amberlough Dossier because it is a goddamn work of art. Seriously, nothing is going to top this trilogy for me; I’m forever going to be trying to find something to fill the void in my soul that it left behind. And, because we’re talking about siblings, I won’t scream about Aristides, BUT HE ALONE IS WORTH IT. The sweet and tender way Lillian tries to help Cyril just about destroyed me in this finale, though.
Berserker by Emmy Laybourne is all about siblings! I mean, heck, the MC is literally a berserker and will murder anyone that even kind of looks at her family wrong. I love the family dynamics in this, and I also love that it’s multiple siblings. Because, if it’s not an only child, normally it’s only one other sibling, and this one has got four! Hanne has an older & younger brother, as well as a younger sister, and watching them try to navigate what is the weirdest setting I’ve ever read (Norse berserkers in the wild west with cowboys) is so much fun.
You might argue that because Blanca & Roja by Anna-Marie McLemore is more about two sisters fighting than being friends, it shouldn’t be here, but much like how I want to see more friend break-ups in literature, I want to see more siblings fighting. It’s not always sunshine and daisies. In fact, it rarely is, and I really appreciated seeing these two sisters fight and then trudge their way back to each other because, whether you hate them or not, you’re stuck with them.
Wildwood by Colin Meloy features a MC who literally goes into a magical, forbidden forest because her baby brother was kidnapped by a pack of birds, so like? Best example of siblings ever? This book is all around adorable, too. From the illustrations to the wacky plot, this has got to be one of my favorite middle grades ever. There are so many examples of familial relations, too, in all different shapes and sizes, and I really enjoyed watching them all blossom.
Heartstopper by Alice Oseman features a lot of great relationships, and though I haven’t read any of Oseman’s other books to shout about how cute Tori is outside of the Heartstopper comics, I have seen enough of her to shout about her inside the comics, and lemme tell you, her relationship as Charlie’s sister is just the sweetest. I feel like I keep saying everything is the sweetest? These are just facts, I have no control over it.
UGH YES Juliet Takes a Breath by Gabby Rivera. I love this book for A LOT of reasons, but the relationship between Juliet & her younger brother destroys me. It’s such a sweet (YEAH I SAID IT), wholesome relationship that I feel like we don’t see between older sisters & younger brothers a lot. I literally just read one where that kind of relationship was horrible, and I kept thinking about Juliet’s brother (I can’t remember his name, I’M SORRY) giving her that secret gift and telling her not to open it until she really needed it, and then it was just things to make her happy? I AM CRYING, LEAVING ME ALONE.
Wow, it’s been a really long time since I last flailed about Beneath the Citadel by Destiny Soria, and I’m glad it’s time to rectify that because I still don’t see enough people reading this, and that’s a problem that I will solve single-handedly if I have to. The siblings in this are about the same age, so they’ve got that more like friends sometimes vibe, but then they’ll smack each other upside the head, and that’s what I’m here for.
Of course Call Down the Hawk by Maggie Stiefvater is both on this list and rounding it out. (Again, cheating, alphabet.) Perhaps my favorite siblings on this entire list are the Lynch brothers. Perhaps my favorite character in existence is Matthew Lynch??? FIGHT ME. He’s not, but he’s close, and the development we see in his character, and in his relationship with Ronan & Declan, brought me to tears several times in CDTH. I loveloveLOVE these siblings because we get to see the go through so much together. It’s like the familial enemies to friends we never knew we needed. Watching Declan & Ronan go from literally trying to break each other’s faces to begrudgingly going on a roadtrip with Matthew is just? The highlight of my entire life.