Discussion Post: Role Of Parents In MG And YA Fantasy (Part 1)

Hello everyone, I would like to wish you a very happy Mother’s Day! I wanted to do something special on this occasion, so I came up with this idea for a discussion post – talking about the role of parents in today’s middle grade and young adult fantasy novels! I know it’s slightly long (thank goodness I decided to divide it into two parts!), but I’ve worked quite hard to put all this together, so I really hope you enjoy reading it and also express your opinions, since it is a discussion post. So without further ado, let’s start!


To put it bluntly, in most modern middle grade and young adult novels, the parents are neglected. And I am not even talking about the other characters’ parents, I am talking about the main character’s. I totally understand the reason. When the entire story is about a teenage girl who, one fine morning, discovers she has magical powers (just talking about a general thing here, not pointing to any book) why would anyone want to know about her mother? But including the parent(s) in the story does enhance it in some cases. I don’t know about you, but I would definitely love to see the parent-child relationship develop through the course of the story. But of course, there are also a lot of novels (especially MG) which involve the parents wholeheartedly.

In this post, we are going to go through the different types of roles parents have in MG and YA fantasies through the examples of popular books.


I think one of the most common parent-related trope is dead parent(s). It is very convenient to kill off one or both parents before the book even starts. I believe this is because a dead parent not only reduces the complexity of the story (no need to explain the main character’s relationship with them, etc), they also provide a certain backbone to the story, as the main character struggles to accept their deaths, or follow their footsteps etc. Dead parents usually mean that though they are not physically present throughout the events of the book, their presence is somehow felt. This trope has been executed in so different ways, some good, some not-so.

In The Mystwick School of Musicraft by Jessica Khoury, the main character Amelia lost her mother at a very early age, and after her death, her father disappeared. All Amelia wanted was to become a Maestro, because her mother was one. She chose flute (and that too her mother’s) as her instrument because her mother had been a flutist. And she wanted more than anything to go to Mystwick, because it was the music school her mother went too. Later in the book, she mentions (too many times!) that she felt very close to her late mother in Mystwick. And even later, her mother forms a huge part of the ending. I felt the story would have been better if it focused less on the dead mother and more on our main character.

We all know about Harry Potter. Orphaned when he was barely an infant, Harry learns more about his parents at Hogwarts. I like the little details we get, from Sirius and Snape and others, but maybe Harry could have shown a little more, I don’t know, like anger or sorrow or something for his parents throughout the series?

All’s not bad. I have come across books which have executed the dead parent trope wonderfully. Renegades by Marissa Meyer is a very good example. The murder of the mc’s (her name is Nova) parents and sister is actually shown in the very beginning, and after that it kinda takes a backseat. But it definitely fuels Nova’s hatred for the Renegades and her drive to destroy them. There are occasional mentions, enough for the reader to remember why Nova’s doing what she’s doing, but not enough to be irritating or repetitive. The perfect balance.


Then we have the parents who are very much alive, but not involved much in the story, in other words, the absent parents. I personally don’t favour this trope much. I mean, I know its fiction, but there should be something relatable, right? It is very unrealistic that the parent is totally unaware while their child is off riding dragons and/or meeting dwarves and/or nearly getting killed and what not.

In Orion Lost by Alastair Chrisholm, the adults are all in cyro sleep, leaving only the children aboard the spaceship to deal with everything. The mc’s mother and father are introduced at the beginning of the novel, but then they play no role throughout the story whatsoever. I am not saying its a bad thing, but you know, just absent parents.

Same is the case with Nevermoor series by Jessica Townsend. I mean, I loved all the three books (I rated them 5 stars!) but what I want to point out is that the mc’s father (her mother is dead) has no role throughout the trilogy except being mean to her in the first few pages of the first book.


And finally we have the books which actually give importance to the parents. I feel this one is the best there is. But you know what, I am not going to talk about these books in this post. I will be discussing these in the second part of this discussion. (Sorry if you came here only for these, but that next post will hopefully be worth the wait!)

Before you leave, I would like to share the results of a small survey I conducted. I put the following question forward to a group of readers –

In a YA or MG fantasy, would you prefer –

  1. Absent Parent (Little or no role in the story)
  2. Dead Parent
  3. Parent with an important role to play

The response was quite overwhelming and one-sided. A total of 85 people answered my question, out of which 73 of them favoured the last option i.e. parents with an important role to play. Of the remaining, 4 answered ‘dead parent’ and 8 chose ‘absent parent’. This means that about 85% prefer books with active parents. I think I agree with them, such books are fun to read.

Since so many of you like books with parent participation, this is what we will be (mostly) discussing in the second part of this discussion post, and teaser – I will be including some recs (books with active parents) too! Stay tuned, it won’t be long before the Part 2 goes up!

Which kind of fictional parents do you like best in MG and YA books? What are your thoughts on portrayal of parents in fantasy for young readers? Feel free to express your opinions in the comments, I would be more than happy to have a friendly discussion!

April Wrap-Up // a fantastic reading month!! (ft. me gushing about Shadow and Bone)

So another month gone by! Let’s take a look at my reading, blogging, blog-hopping and other highlights of the month.

April has been, by far, the best reading month this year! I read a total of 7 books, which is pretty impressive considering that I have been trying to level up from my boring 5 books per month since the beginning of this year.

Archenemies by Marissa Meyer [4 stars] Eh, this was one of those books where I was totally lost after the end. I had no idea whether to rate it 3 stars or 4 stars or 5 stars. But finally I settled with 4. At this point of time, I am like – Just tell everyone who Nightmare and Sentinel is!! And if you wanted to keep it secret forever, maybe it could have been unknown to the readers as well? Because it is getting kinda annoying now, to be honest.

The Mystwick School of Musicraft by Jessica Khoury [3 stars] My first audiobook! But what a disappointment the story was. It was too repetitive, to the point that so many things got downright irritating. And the beginning was nice enough, I don’t know what happened after that.

Artemis Fowl and the Opal Deception [4 stars] Actually I don’t remember much about this, but I do enjoy a good heist, so that was one of the reasons I gave this 4 stars.

A Wilder Magic by Juliana Brandt [4 stars] This was my first ever ARC!! I got this as a part of a book promo tour I did this month. It was such a beautiful middle grade with amazing platonic relationships. Read my full review HERE.

Book Scavenger by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman [4.5 stars] This was easily my favourite book of April. It definitely deserves a lot more hype, I have rarely heard bloggers mention this. There were equal parts mystery, friendship and adventure in Book Scavenger. To read my full review, see my journal spread and play a small bookish game inspired by Book Scavenger, click HERE.

The Infinity Courts by Akemi Dawn Bowman [1.5 stars] Well. I am still debating whether to put up a review for this on my blog or not, since I haven’t really posted a negative review here before, and this is also a very new release. But I did post a review on Goodreads, you can read it HERE.

Misfit (Asura Chronicles #1) by Jo Zaida [3 stars] Another ARC!! So I didn’t enjoy it as much as I had expected to, but it was worth reading anyways. Review to come!

I am proud to report that I carefully followed the posting schedule I had set up for myself last month (except for last week, when I had a blog tour post out of schedule, on a Sunday) throughout the month of April! When I started, I didn’t think I would be able to follow it throughout, to be honest, but turns out I was wrong!

I am not going to link all my posts from this month here, only specific ones. If you would like to see all my posts in April, click HERE.

I have included the links to my posts in their featured images below, so all you have to do is click on the ones that catch your attention!

A discussion post all about book titles! I am quite proud of this one actually, so do check it out if you missed it earlier!
I do love writing 5 star reviews!!
I created a quiz for you to find some great recs!!

I tried to be really active on all of your posts this month, and I think I succeeded to a great extent. I interacted with your blogs wherever I could, and came across some interesting posts in the process.

Amy @A Fangirl’s Opinion wrote about some funny books and characters on April Fools day!

April @Booked Till Midnight shared her recipe for a 5 star read!

Alice @Love For Words related Pride and Prejudice quotes to her everyday life! I have not read Pride and Prejudice completely (I’ve read only short excerpts) but this humorous post had me chuckling out aloud!

Ritz @Living, Loving and Reading Netflix’s Shadow And Bone and her thoughts are SO similar to mine!!

Ashmita @the fictional journal made a list of characters who are likely to jump-scare people!

Ritz @Living, Loving and Reading gives us some great sci-fi recs and also shares her sci-fi tbr!


Other updates and highlights of the month

  • We hit 100 followers in early April!! This is my first big blogging milestone, so thank you so much for that guys🥰 It means a lot to have you enjoy and appreciate my content.
  • The Home page of my blog now has a brand new look! I have changed the header image, put in a sidebar and stuff like that.
  • My blog now has a Review Policy page.
  • I received my first ARCs and took part in my first blog tour this month!
  • April was Shadow and Bone month!!!! (oops sorry for all the exclamations, this just shows how much I loved the show) By now, you all know how much the Six Of Crows duology means to me. If you don’t, IT’S MY FAVOURITE BOOK OF ALL TIME!! So naturally I was excited for the S&B show on Netflix. Though I started watching it only for the Crows, the Alina-Darkling storyline also got me hooked and made me wonder why I didn’t read the Shadow and bone trilogy earlier (I am not going to read it now, I want to know the story only from the show). I finished watching all 8 episodes of S&B in four days, and wow I loved seeing my favourite characters brought to life. The casting was just perfect. Freddy Carter is going to be stuck in my mind’s eye as Kaz forever, and same with the others. I didn’t think it was possible to love and admire Kaz more than I did after reading the books, but this show proved me wrong…my heart went out for him even more!! The ‘No mourners, no funerals’ line was also so perfect when it happened. Jesper and Milo were absolute showstealers!! Okay, not gonna ramble any more, but seriously, go watch it!!

How was your April? Did you watch Shadow And Bone? Have you read any of the books that I read in April? Chat with me in the comments!!