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

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

The Books I Picked & Why

I'll Give You the Sun

By Jandy Nelson

Book cover of I'll Give You the Sun

Why 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.


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To All the Boys I've Loved Before

By Jenny Han

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

Why 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.


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Clap When You Land

By Elizabeth Acevedo

Book cover of Clap When You Land

Why 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.


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Fangirl

By Rainbow Rowell

Book cover of Fangirl

Why 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.


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I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter

By Erika L. Sánchez

Book cover of I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter

Why 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.


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