The best YA sibling rivalry books that will inspire you to reconnect

David J. Naiman Author Of The Finest Lies
By David J. Naiman

Who am I?

Anyone with siblings knows the deal. Your sibling becomes your first best friend and closest confidant but also your first competitor and fiercest critic. Navigating that relationship as a teen is fraught with peril. If done poorly, it can leave deep scars. If successful, it can teach you the foundations of how to build healthy relationships for the rest of your life. This theme has everything a writer needs to craft an emotional narrative, and these books do it best.

I wrote...

The Finest Lies

By David J. Naiman,

Book cover of The Finest Lies

What is my book about?

High schooler Nicole Hallett has just about had it with her brother, so when a mysterious man appears with an offer to replace him with a better one, she doesn't hesitate. Nicole has always been impulsive, but this time, she finds herself in a predicament far worse than anything she's experienced. 

The intractable sibling rivalry of my children inspired this novel. What if they were forced to rely on each other to survive the day? Could forgiveness and redemption even be possible in such a constricted time frame? I let it play out with all its twists and turns.

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

The books I picked & why

I'll Give You the Sun

By Jandy Nelson,

Book cover of I'll Give You the Sun

Why did I love this book?

Teen twins, once close but now estranged, tell their tale in alternating sections. In an intriguing twist, Noah’s account takes place 3 years ago while Jude’s is in the present.

The reader gets bits of the full picture from each sibling until their turbulent narratives coalesce in a way that is both appropriately artistic and moving. Nelson weaves a great plot, but it’s her characters’ depth that makes this book exceptional.

By Jandy Nelson,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked I'll Give You the Sun as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

New York Times bestseller

Shortlisted for the Waterstones Children's Book Prize

Winner of the 2015 Michael L. Printz Award

Winner of a 2015 Stonewall Honor

"This is the big one - the BLAZING story of once inseparable twins whose lives are torn apart by tragedy." Entertainment Weekly

From the critically acclaimed author of The Sky Is Every where, a radiant novel that will leave you laughing and crying - all at once. For fans of John Green, Gayle Forman and Lauren Oliver.

Jude and her twin Noah were incredibly close - until a tragedy drove them apart, and now they…

Book cover of To All the Boys I've Loved Before

Why did I love this book?

Quirky Lara Jean has always enjoyed her fantasy crushes, including a problematic one on her sister’s ex-boyfriend, but when her private love letters are mailed without her knowledge, she is singularly unprepared for the fallout.

This book is best known as YA chick-lit turned into a Netflix movie, but the subplot of Lara Jean’s relationship with her younger and older sisters drives the story.

Betrayals of trust among the sisters strain their relationships. I found those storylines more compelling than the light teen romance.

By Jenny Han,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked To All the Boys I've Loved Before as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Now a Netflix feature film!
Lara Jean keeps her love letters in a hatbox her mother gave her.

One for every boy she's ever loved.

When she writes, she can pour out her heart and soul and say all
the things she would never say in real life, because her letters
are for her eyes only.

Until the day her secret letters are mailed,
and suddenly Lara Jean's love life goes from imaginary to out of control!

The first book in the bestselling series by Jenny Han, which
has been made into a NETFLIX feature film

PS I Still Love…

Clap When You Land

By Elizabeth Acevedo,

Book cover of Clap When You Land

Why did I love this book?

In a clever twist on the sibling rivalry trope, Acevedo depicts two teen half-sisters with vastly dissimilar upbringings who have only learned of each other’s existence after the tragic death of their mutual father.

The novel explores culture, race, and economic disparity using raw but elegant verse. The sisters’ progression from spiteful scheming to sibling love is beautifully organic.

By Elizabeth Acevedo,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Clap When You Land as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The stunning New York Times bestselling novel from the 2019 Carnegie Medal winning, Waterstones Book Prize shortlisted author of THE POET X. 2020 Goodreads Choice Award Winner of CLAP WHEN YOU LAND.

Camino Rios lives for the summers when her father visits her in the Dominican Republic. But this time, on the day when his plane is supposed to land, Camino arrives at the airport to see crowds of crying people...

In New York City, Yahaira Rios is called to the principal's office, where her mother is waiting to tell her that her father, her hero, has died in a…


By Rainbow Rowell,

Book cover of Fangirl

Why did I love this book?

Cath, a socially awkward fangirl who had always depended upon Wren, her outgoing twin sister, is unexpectedly on her own when Wren leaves her behind for solo college adventures. That forces Cath out of her comfort zone to interact with her larger-than-life roommate and, ultimately, the perfectly imperfect yet inexhaustibly patient love interest, Levi.

The unilateral disruption of sibling dependence propels Cath’s coming-of-age story. This witty, lighthearted character-driven story will leave you smiling.

By Rainbow Rowell,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Fangirl as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A love story by Rainbow Rowell, the New York Times bestselling author of Eleanor & Park.

Cath and Wren are identical twins, and until recently they did absolutely everything together. Now they're off to university and Wren's decided she doesn't want to be one half of a pair any more - she wants to dance, meet boys, go to parties and let loose. It's not so easy for Cath. She's horribly shy and has always buried herself in the fan fiction she writes, where she always knows exactly what to say and can write a romance far more intense than…

Book cover of I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter

Why did I love this book?

Can sibling rivalry persist even after the death of your sibling? Absolutely, according to Sánchez, who has written a searing novel fraught with impossible expectations, crippling depression, and first love.

After Julia’s sister’s unexpected death, her mother insists that Julia be exactly like her older sister. But how can Julia be this perfect Mexican daughter when she is nothing like her sister? 

As Julia unmasks her sister’s darker hidden life, the impossibility of this question nearly destroys her. Julia spends the novel trying to untangle her sister’s secrets and finds herself in the process.

By Erika L. Sánchez,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FINALIST • A “stunning” (America Ferrera) YA novel about a teenager coming to terms with losing her sister and finding herself amid the pressures, expectations, and stereotypes of growing up in a Mexican American home—from the author of Crying in the Bathroom

“Alive and crackling—a gritty tale wrapped in a page-turner. ”—The New York Times

Perfect Mexican daughters do not go away to college. And they do not move out of their parents’ house after high school graduation. Perfect Mexican daughters never abandon their family.

But Julia is not your perfect Mexican…

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in death, twins, and sisters?

9,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about death, twins, and sisters.

Death Explore 318 books about death
Twins Explore 59 books about twins
Sisters Explore 177 books about sisters