It’s Mother’s Day, so I wanted to highlight some of my favorite literary mothers in YA. Happy Mother’s Day to all of you with children, and to those of you who are missing your own mothers this bittersweet holiday, know that you are not alone.
Molly Weasley, “Harry Potter”: Allow me to quote my own story about Movie Moms… “With good reason, most Harry Potter fans adore Lily Potter, who sacrificed her life to save baby Harry from Voldemort’s Killing Curse. But Molly Weasley also deserves credit for being an awesome mum to seven precocious gingers. On top of raising her own wizards and witches, she dotes on Ron’s two best friends, Harry and Hermione, who each have to learn their way around the wizarding world. And Molly isn’t just quick with the cooking spells — when it comes to her children, she can unleash her inner warrior (take that, Bellatrix LeStrange).”
Memorable Quote: “Not my daughter, you bitch!” (OK, I know there are plenty of quotes I could use, but this is THE quote!)
Mia’s Mom, “If I Stay”: I have to be honest and say I can’t remember her name, although I know it was mentioned a few times. I loved a lot of things about Mia’s mom — how supportive she is of her daughter; how she never diminishes the love Mia feels for Adam even though they are teenagers (because she had met her own husband at a young age). She’s this petite punk feminist who can’t make pancakes but adores her family. One of the reasons I love Gayle Forman’s book so much is that Mia and her parents are close, and that’s not often the case in YA, where parents can be clueless or provide the tension in coming-of-age stories.
Memorable Quote: “I’d understand if you chose love, Adam love, over music love. Either way you win. And either way you lose. What can I tell you? Love’s a bitch.”
Mrs. Prior, “Divergent”: We don’t see much of Tris’ mom, but that’s because the moment Tris chooses Dauntless, she’s no longer with her parents (who are left behind in Abnegation with neither of their children — sniff!). But during the one “Parents’ Day” that she visits Tris and then again during the horror at the end of the book, it’s obvious just how awesome a mom Mrs. Prior is, even if she’s only in a few scenes. Selfless and brave, sacrificing and intelligent, Mrs. Prior is more than initially meets the eye (even Tris doesn’t realize how much her mom rocks until “Insurgent,” really).
Memorable Quote: “You’re my daughter. I don’t care about the factions…Look where they got us. Human beings as a whole cannot be good for long before the bad creeps back in and poisons us again.”
Gram, “The Sky Is Everywhere”: I lived with my grandmother (and great-aunt for that matter) from the day I was born until the days they took their last breaths. For that reason, I have a huge soft spot for amazing grandmothers, and Gram is simply the best. She took care of her two orphaned granddaughters, and after one dies unexpectedly at the age of 19, she gives Lennie, the sister left behind, the space and time she needs to grieve, to heal, to fall desperately in love for the first time. Not every grandmother could deal with a sullen, desperate granddaughter (who makes out in front of her!), but Gram is just that patient and kind and all-around awesome.
Memorable Quote: “You act like you’re the only one in this house who has lost somebody. She was like my daughter, do you know what that’s like? Do you? My daughter. No you don’t, because you haven’t once asked… Did it ever occur to you that I might need to talk?”
Mrs. Murry, “A Wrinkle in Time”: I never read “A Wrinkle in Time” as a child, and what a loser I am for missing out on one of the greatest children’s books of all time. When I finally read it at like 33, I had so much sympathy for Mrs. Murry, who had to raise those super precocious children on her own. Solo parenting (when you’re married) stinks, and my heart just sank at the thought of brilliant but frightened Mrs. Murry not having a clue what had happened to her kids.