The Book Nook: Fall is for Family


Thomas Hill, Website Manager

In honor of Thanksgiving (one of my favorite holidays and the BEST fall holiday), I felt that it was time to revive The Book Nook, a column I wrote last year. In this edition of the Book Nook, I’m reviewing books about family- both blood family and found family. I’ve selected a series, a trilogy and a standalone novel in each category, so let us dive into the fantastic world of family-centered literature!

Found Family:

  • The Heroes of Olympus Series- Perhaps-no, not perhaps- definitely Rick Riordan’s best series to date, the Heroes of Olympus series is focused on the journey of the Seven (prophesied demigods) and their friends as they embark on a quest to save the world from, well, itself. A little confusing, I know, but you’ll get it once you start reading. You’ll never encounter a more familial group of friends in young adult fiction and I promise that you will want to be a part of this world with all of your being. This series was actually my introduction to Rick Riordan’s universe of mythology and I’ve never looked back. If you are a fellow mythology geek, a fan of fantasy, an aficionado of adventure or even just looking for an engaging series, this series should be at the top of your list!
  • The Infernal Devices Trilogy- Part of Cassandra Clare’s intricately woven Shadowhunters universe, the Infernal Devices trilogy is by far one of the best series she’s ever written. Set in 1800s England, the adventures of mysterious Tessa, testy Will and tranquil Jem will get your steampunk nerd sense tingling. Vampires, werewolves, demons – this trilogy has it all. As for found family, the bonds between these characters are heartbreakingly deep, and I promise you’ll be left with an immense sadness after the series ends. Read this if you’re into steampunk, sad books or just good-old classic demon hunting!
  • The Tale of Despereaux- Think of this book as the original and infinitely superior Ratatouille. Forget a rat that learns to cook- how about a mouse named Despereaux who learns how to read? This book is a quick read and is simply a heartwarming experience. Despereaux, a mouse, learns to read and falls in love with Pea, a human princess in the castle he lives in. This sets off an adventure in which he meets Miggery Sow, a serving girl, and Roscuro, a rat, who quickly become his found family. If you want a quick read with a great story about being true to oneself and fighting for your dreams, this adventure story is for you!

Blood Family:

  • Fablehaven & Dragonwatch Series- Picture this- your parents are going on a cruise and you have to go stay with your weird grandparents in the middle of nowhere. Everything is exceedingly boring but something seems off… in a magical way. That’s the premise of the Fablehaven series, which is amazing. Two siblings, Kendra and Seth, are caught up in the drama of the magical world that their grandparents are part of. If you have a sibling, you’ll instantly connect to the story and it’s easy to be drawn into the world of Fablehaven. Family-centered adventure lovers, this one’s for you!
  • The Kane Chronicles Trilogy- I know I’ve already had a Rick Riordan series on here, but he’s just such a great author I had to include this one. Sadie and Carter Kane are brother and sister who only see each other a few times a year. One Christmas, they accompany their archaeologist father to a museum and quickly become embroiled in the world of Egyptian mythology. And by embroiled, I don’t mean interested in studying-I mean being attacked by giant lion goddesses. This trilogy is perfect for lovers of Ancient Egypt, mythology and those with teenage siblings!
  • Jake and Lily- One of the few non-fantasy recommendations on this list, Jake and Lily is a heartwarming novel about two siblings, Jake and Lily. The two are inseparable until they turn eleven and their parents decide it’s time for separate bedrooms. Lily has to learn how to make friends on her own as Jake begins to hang out with a group of neighborhood boys. This novel will make you laugh, cry and everything in between. It is the epitome of a family-centered novel and is perfect for those seeking a sense of nostalgia this Thanksgiving!

A Little Bit of Both:

  • Keeper of the Lost Cities Series- The one word I would use to describe this series is epic. Not epic in the sense of cool, but epic in the sense of The Odyssey. The series is centered around Sophie Foster, a girl with telepathic powers who discovers that she is actually an elf. She enters the world of the Lost Cities, filled with elves and other mythical creatures and discovers that she is no ordinary elf. Even though the series is long, it’s an easy read and has a cast of characters that you won’t want to miss. With aspects of found family and a series-long mystery surrounding Sophie’s blood family, this a great read for anyone wanting to be immersed into a fantastical world of mystery and adventure!
  • The Door Within Trilogy- This trilogy is one of my all-time favorites, and I’ve reread it more times than I can count. Aidan, the main character, is your typical high school nerd – into medieval knights, dragons and lonely after moving halfway across the country to care for his grandfather. Then he discovers mysterious scrolls in the basement and is drawn into a medieval parallel world. The trilogy develops Aidan’s family and family found through friendship as he seeks to bring more people to believe in this world. A moving parallel for Christianity, the writing is exceptional and the characters eerily realistic. I recommend this for everyone to read ASAP, whatever you normally like, because there’s something for everyone in this trilogy!
  • Wonder- Perhaps one of the most touching novels I’ve read in my life, Wonder is about Auggie, a boy who was born with genetic deformities and is entering public school for the first time. Using different perspectives in each chapter better than any other novel does, you will empathize deeply with the trials and tribulations that Auggie faces as he attempts to have a regular middle school career. The story is bittersweet as you cheer Auggie on and  are filled with righteous anger on his behalf. You’ll empathize with his sister’s struggles and be filled with overwhelming respect for the kindness that every human is capable of. Just like every person in the novel, you’ll be changed by your experience with Auggie!