Romance novels are 90% about the two MCs.
The he and she, or he and he, or she and she.
But hardly ever people stop and think about the other ties linking them to the web of people in their lives. And yes, these ties may not be the main reason why we picked up the book, but I always love it when the author does not stop to the she loves him, he loves her, and that’s all their lives are about. I adore it when a familial relationship is cherished, painted in colors, not just sketched.
I went through the list of books I read and found some pretty epic non-romantic relationship laying there, among the pages, mostly undetected.
I divided this post in sections depending on the type of relationships:
There were sooo many great books that could have made this list. Personally, I love it when kids are believable and a fun addition to stories. But specifically here I’ll only name those books in which the relationship with the kids was an important part of the novel:
I loved Pick’s relationship with little Ash. The kid is not Pick’s natural son, but just the son of the woman who Pick married to get out of trouble. Yet, he treats Ash as his own and there were many super cute scenes involving the two.
Little Matthew and Hunter are a real team. Again, even though he’s not the biological father, he acts like one. Matthew is also a little older than most kids in books. If I remember it correctly he’s a really smart 7-8 year old. He is a permanent fixture of the narration and seeing Hunter take care of the kid who suffers from the same diseases as him warmed my heart from the very bottom of it. You have this man who doesn’t have an easy life taking care of a kid with the same struggles and trying to show him how great this world can actually be despite everything.
Wow, this book was so much fun! Personally, I’m not a believer of the mom-is-my-best-friend kinda relationship in books… or in real life, TBH. Here, it was a little too much, it barely read like a mother-daughter relationship. Still, it cannot be debated that these two heroines have an amazing relationship. Something everyone, me included, will envy upon reading this novel.
As an only child, I’m always intrigued and a little envious of these kinds of relationships. Sure, I never had to share my food, toys, living space, parents with anyone. But I imagine it would have been nice to have someone close to me that way. Someone who gets you and someone who you get. Intrinsically.
Now, y’all will be confused. Cass and Paige as fantastic sibling relationship? Well, hear me out. I know that in this book Paige is still a couple shades of bitchy, but in this novel we get to witness her first steps toward redemption and also to understand the complicated balance of their relationship.
Cass has MS and is a girl who lives life without holding back. Paige is a blonde bombshell who feels like her sister’s condition has been holding her back. From going where she wanted for college, from really being her own person, because Cass’ condition always came first. And still, either in this book or the next, they managed to find their sisterly love again and be a team against the outside world rather than enemies.
Overprotective brothers make for entertaining and endearing characters. Even though in this book Reed (the heroine’s brother) didn’t pull his head out of his ass until 99% in, I have to admit I appreciated how everything he did in his life was basically to protect his sister. We know this from book two, featuring his own romance. But in this one we truly see how deep that protectiveness (100% excused) runs. This book was nothing spectacular and I remember thinking the main romance was the most un-epic of all, but the brotherly and sisterly scenes were nice.
I read #Blur and #Finishline before reading #Swag, so I didn’t really get what a poignant relationship Arrow and Lorhaven have. Because of something that happened in Arrow’s past, they have formed a very tight bond, kind of a team-of-two against the world, but in which Lorhaven feels like the protector. Being in Lorhaven’s head while he thinks of his bro was amazing. He’s not just incredibly protective, but also proud and supportive.
I already know this section is going to be endless, because my favorite kind of books (or most likely series) is the one that has many characters and goes deep into details about each and every one of these people’s souls. I love to see the multiple relationships binding people. Feeling the warmth of knowing they are surrounded by loved ones.
By family I meant both by blood and choice. I’ll try to keep the number menageable but I make no promises.
This series is home. These characters are my family. This group of tough fighters has ensconced a space in my heart. Sometimes I still think back to when in the first book they actually came together. They were nothing but a bunch of strangers fighting together. And look at them now, recruiting new fighters, living under the same roof, finding love, fighting together and sacrificing themselves for each other. And not just the brothers, but their shellans as well. The doggens, the chosens. It feels like they are one huge loving family. They have each other’s back. Not without struggles. But that’s family, too.
Oh, the Garretts. The loudest, most chaotic, most messed-up… amazing, fabulous, supportive family ever. The Garretts are a family with 6-7 children whom the heroine looks at from her window every day, envying their carefree joy and unapologetic lifestyle. When the oldest of them introduces her to his fam as they start dating, Sam is plunged into this beautiful family that feels like the warm rays of the sun baking your skin. That’s the only way I’d be able to describe the feeling. It was all-encompassing and happy and again warm. I loved how Jase took care of the little ones and helped his parents. I fell for him, hard, also because of it. Plus, the interactions between the siblings were hilarious.
My Forbidden Men and all their girls are doubtlessly one of the best families. Hardly any blood ties here, but the length this people would go for one another… I mean, one of them actually takes a bullet for one of the girls, and he barely even knew her. Kage, and I’ll never say this enough, is potentially the best author of NA I’ve read when it comes to group scenes. She handles an incredible amount of characters without losing anyone’s personality and always making the dynamics interesting, emotional and fun.
Aaand this is my favorite family. Romeo, Rimmel, Ivy, Breaden, Trent and Drew. Almost none of them is related, but there’s nothing more ‘family’ for me than this one. They actually refer to themselves as sisters and brothers. They live together, they have family traditions, and I’ve never seen anyone more supporting and just… there, every step of the way, through thick and thin, more than these guys.
An “exaltation” means a group of Larks. Now, the Larks are the family around which this book revolves around, mainly. I will not wax any more poetics on this book otherwise if Suanne ever steps here will think I’m obsessed (which I am) and get a restraining order (please, don’t. I swear I’m innocuous). What I will be saying is that this book depicts families down to the Ts. From the way parents not always like their children, despite loving them, to the desperation of losing a loved one, to the strength of relationships which have been weathered by a life of time together.
Rather than a family… a pack. Here the bonds between the characters are almost material, solid. You can feel them through the images conveyed by the author. It was poetic. It was beautiful. It made me ache and cry when some links were severed, but also tears of joy were shed at reunions and the feeling that the pack may have changed but the sense of pack. pack. pack. was still there.
Rarely I’ve read of families that were more united. In this case, the families are three, but they are a single front against the people threatening the privacy and safety. It was incredibly interesting to learn about each one of them, even if just as secondary characters. You could feel how strong their protectiveness for one other went. And with families I’m also counting the bodyguards.
I loved Travis’ relationship with Colton. They grew up together and their dynamics are those of two people who know each other’s ins and outs. Sometimes interactions between guys can sound a little ‘hey brah, we so cool, brah’ kind of postured in a “this is how guys stereotypically communicate” way, but in this book I found their no-bullshit relationship refreshing. Colt is understanding of his relationship with Angel. He doesn’t give him shit because they barely know each other, and I loved their convos about feelings and love and whatnot. It may not have been overly realistic, but I also don’t overly care.
This book reads like a mindless rom com with an extra side of crazy. I liked it, but wasn’t blown away by the romantic aspect. What instead threw me on a loop was the amazing friendship between the three heroines. They are a true girl squad, participating to the wedding of the ex of one of them for ‘emotional’ support… yeah.
So here you have it! I’m sure I haven’t named even one tenth of all the books deserving to be on this list. Still, I’m quite happy I found these side-relationships I loved in a genre that often skips these ties altogether.
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Now, what are your favorite kinds of relationship in books?