Found family stories are indeed something special. There's just this undeniable charm in books that explore the bonds formed outside of blood ties. It could be an adopted family, a group of friends who create their own makeshift family, or even just a tight-knit crew that supports and looks out for each other. We've gathered a fantastic list of books that embrace this trope and deliver various experiences. Whether you're in the mood for a light-hearted and fun adventure or craving something more emotional and intense, we've got you covered. These books will leave you feeling warm and fuzzy as you witness the power of love, friendship, and the unbreakable bonds of a chosen family.
If I Can Give You That by Michael Gray Bulla
Seventeen-year-old Gael is used to keeping to himself. Though his best friend convinces him to attend a meeting of Plus, a support group for LGBTQIA+ teens, Gael doesn’t plan on sharing much. Where would he even start? Between supporting his mother through her bouts of depression, dealing with his estranged father, and navigating senior year as a transgender boy at a conservative Tennessean high school, his life is a lot to unload on strangers. But after meeting easygoing Declan, Gael is welcomed into a new circle of friends who make him want to open up. As Gael’s friendship with Declan develops into something more, he finds himself caught between his mother’s worsening mental health and his father’s attempts to reconnect. After tragedy strikes, Gael must decide if he can risk letting the walls around his heart down and fully opening up to those who care for him.
You Wouldn't Dare by Samantha Markum
When Juniper Nash Abreheart kissed Graham Isham for the first time, she had no idea it would nearly be the end of their friendship.
More specifically, she had no idea that the terrible, unforgivable thing she did to keep their summer fling a secret wouldn’t just ruin their friendship, but also Graham’s entire life. Now, months since the fallout, Junie and Graham spend most of their time sidestepping conversational landmines on the journey back to normalcy.
Junie is sure the strangeness between her and Graham is her biggest problem - until her mom hires Tallulah, her boyfriend’s surly teenage daughter, to work at their family café, and then announces they’ll all be moving in together at the end of the summer. The only bright spot ahead is Junie’s dad’s upcoming visit, just in time for her community theater production. And then poor turnout soon threatens that.
But when Junie starts to realize the feelings she swore to take care of last summer have lingered, saving her production and managing her hostile relationship with Tallulah might be the least of her problems. Graham isn’t just off limits - their friendship has been mended to barely withstand a breeze, and the gale force of Junie’s feelings could be just what breaks them.
The Wicked Bargain by Gabe Cole Novoa
On Mar León-de la Rosa's 16th birthday, el Diablo comes calling. Mar is a transmasculine nonbinary teen pirate hiding a magical ability to manipulate fire and ice. But their magic isn't enough to reverse a wicked bargain made by their father and now el Diablo has come to collect his payment: the soul of Mar's father and the entire crew of their ship.
When Mar is miraculously rescued by the sole remaining pirate crew in the Caribbean, el Diablo returns to give them a choice: give up your soul to save your father by the Harvest Moon or never see him again. The task is impossible--Mar refuses to make a bargain and there's no way their magic is any match for el Diablo. Then, Mar finds the most unlikely allies: Bas, an infuriatingly arrogant and handsome pirate -- and the captain's son; and Dami, a genderfluid demonio whose motives are never quite clear. For the first time in their life, Mar may have the courage to use their magic. It could be their only redemption -- or it could mean certain death.
Let Me Hear A Rhyme by Tiffany D. Jackson
Biggie Smalls was right. Things done changed. But that doesn’t mean that Quadir and Jarrell are okay letting their best friend Steph’s tracks lie forgotten in his bedroom after he’s killed—not when his beats could turn any Bed-Stuy corner into a celebration, not after years of having each other’s backs.
Enlisting the help of Steph’s younger sister, Jasmine, Quadir and Jarrell come up with a plan to promote Steph’s music under a new rap name: The Architect. Soon, everyone in Brooklyn is dancing to Steph’s voice. But then his mixtape catches the attention of a hotheaded music rep and—with just hours on the clock—the trio must race to prove Steph’s talent from beyond the grave.
Now, as the pressure—and danger—of keeping their secret grows, Quadir, Jarrell, and Jasmine are forced to confront the truth about what happened to Steph. Only each has something to hide. And with everything riding on Steph’s fame, together they need to decide what they stand for before they lose everything they’ve worked so hard to hold on to—including each other.
Saint Juniper's Folly by Alex Crespo
For Jaime, returning to the tiny Vermont town of Saint Juniper means returning to a past he’s spent eight years trying to forget. After shuttling between foster homes, he hopes he can make something out of this fresh start. But every gossip in town already knows his business, and with reminders of his past everywhere, he seeks out solitude into the nearby woods, called Saint Juniper’s Folly, and does not return.
For Theo, Saint Juniper means being stuck. He knows there’s more out there, but he’s scared to go find it. His senior year is going to be like all the rest, dull and claustrophobic. That is until he wanders into the Folly and stumbles on a haunted house with an acerbic yet handsome boy stuck—as in physically stuck—inside.
For Taylor, Saint Juniper is a mystery. The surrounding woods speak to her, while she tries—and fails—to practice the magic her dad banned from the house after her mother died. Taylor can’t seem break out of her spiral of grief, until a wide-eyed teenager barges into her life, rambling on about a haunted house, a trapped boy, and ghosts. He needs a witch.
The Folly and its ghosts will bring these three teenagers together. But they will each have to face their own internal struggles in order to forge a bond strong enough to escape the Folly’s shadows.
Silver in the Bone by Alexandra Bracken
Tamsin Lark didn’t ask to be a Hollower. As a mortal with no magical talent, she was never meant to break into ancient crypts, or compete with sorceresses and Cunningfolk for the treasures inside. But after her thieving foster father disappeared without so much as a goodbye, it was the only way to keep herself—and her brother, Cabell—alive.
Ten years later, rumors are swirling that her guardian vanished with a powerful ring from Arthurian legend. A run-in with her rival Emrys ignites Tamsin’s hope that the ring could free Cabell from a curse that threatens both of them. But they aren’t the only ones who covet the ring.
As word spreads, greedy Hollowers start circling, and many would kill to have it for themselves. While Emrys is the last person Tamsin would choose to partner with, she needs all the help she can get to edge out her competitors in the race for the ring. Together, they dive headfirst into a vipers’ nest of dark magic, exposing a deadly secret with the power to awaken ghosts of the past and shatter her last hope of saving her brother. . . .