Whether your brothers and sisters have your back, or they’re doing a little bit of back-stabbing, our sibling relationships can change our lives. So—of course—sibling relationships are one of the most interesting and fun things to read about in books! And—of course—I have some opinions on my favorite and least favorite brothers and sisters. This brings us here, today, dear NOVLers: my definitive, decisive ranking of the best (and worst) siblings in NOVL Young Adult history.
To clarify, I am ranking these characters on the principles of what I believe is most important in a sibling relationship: trust, care, and wisdom shared. Do they support each other, through thick and thin? Do they love each other, despite their differences? When their parents are being butts, will they protect each other?
So here it is! And for anyone that refutes my ranking, I’ll leave you with this quote from Try Guy and Rank King, the great Eugene Lee Yang: “I’m right. You’re wrong. Shut up.”
Mimi and Dove
Mimi knows how to give her little sister space and always trusts that Dove can make her own decisions. But she’s also always there for Dove to share wisdom and advice, especially when family secrets start spilling out. And you can tell just how much Dove loves and admires her big sister from page one—she trusts Mimi with her whole heart, even with things she doesn’t want to talk to her parents about. I loved seeing Mimi and Dove grow together in this book, which is why I’m putting them at the top of my sibling relationship goals list!
Mark and Kurl
Mark and Kurl have a tumultuous relationship from start to finish. We’re never really sure where Mark stands on homosexuality, until pretty much the very end. But in Kurl’s darkest hours, Mark gives him love and kindness, despite their past. Mark changes for the better by the end, putting his relationship with Kurl before anything else. That’s what I call a character arc, and that’s what I call a v good sibling.
The Plain Janes
by Jim Rugg
Not all siblings have to be biological—the family we choose is just as important as the family we’re born or adopted into. And I think the PLAIN Janes exemplify this message perfectly! These five girls, all very different but connected by their shared first name and a desire to change the world, stick with each other through their successes, failures, and guerilla art hijinks. Over time, their bond becomes unbreakable. I only wish I could spend even more time with the Janes—so it’s a good thing that we’ll get a brand new third PLAIN Janes story in the bind-up, out now!
Minya and Sarai
by Laini Taylor
Minya’s intentions are good(ish)—she wants to protect Sarai and her other siblings living in the palace. But those intentions lead to twisted actions, and blind Minya with revenge. And even though Sarai has grown up with Minya, it’s clear that she still fears her and worries about what she’ll do next. Their relationship might stem from love for each other, but the choices that both of them will make in Strange the Dreamer threaten to drive them apart even further. And that uncertainty with their relationship is heightened even more with the ending (so guess you’ll just have to read Muse of Nightmares to find out what happens to them next).
Taryn and Jude
by Holly Black
I know this is a controversial ranking, as many NOVLers would shoot Taryn down to the pits of Tartarus for the things she’s done in TCP and TWK. BUT, I stand by my hot take that while Taryn’s done not-so-great stuff to Jude, Jude has also neglected her sister as well. Perhaps their relationship is not healthy, but as evidence by the pre-released chapters of The Queen of Nothing, Taryn and Jude still love each other, no matter how twisted and complicated that love’s become. They have a long way to go—but they have the possibility to mend their relationship. Or not. Guess you’ll just have to finish QoN to find out.
Magpie and Eryn
by Katrina Leno
At the beginning of You Must Not Miss, the first thing we learn about sisters Magpie and Eryn is their lack of relationship. After their family life explodes, Eryn skips town to go to college, leaving Magpie to wonder why exactly she left and how she’ll survive without her. We never get Eryn’s side of the story, so we’ll never truly understand if her leaving was malicious, or perhaps out of self-preservation. We do know that her absence deeply hurts Magpie, and that Magpie makes some nasty choices in her pursuit of revenge because of it. It’s safe to say that their sibling relationship is pretty toxic, and distance for these two is probably for the best.
Lyosha and Ekata
Contrary to popular belief, the opposite of love isn’t hated: it’s apathy. And there’s no one more apathetic to their siblings than good old Lyosha. Man, that boy is slimy. Of course, all of Ekata’s siblings want to kill her while they’re all vying for the throne in Klyma Above. But I see Lyosha as being particularly selfish and greedy since he’s the one who’s actually eligible for the throne. He’d murder Ekata in cold blood, without thinking twice, with no remorse, just for the sake of power. -10/10, do not like Lyosha at all—BUT I do definitely recommend checking out The Winter Duke when it comes out next year for all of its political drama and amazing female characters.