noteworthy mother figures | top 5 wednesday

I’m back with a Top 5 Wednesday post, everyone! I thought this week’s topic was quite intriguing, because we are all talking about our favorite fictional mother or mother figures – not including characters from the Harry Potter series.

To be completely honest, it was very difficult to put this list together. We’re all aware of how often the absent parents trope appears in YA fiction, and how actual good parenting is a rare occurrence. When putting this list together, I realized that even when there was 1 parental figure present, it was almost always the father. I wonder why that is… Is it because we do not see the same potential for women raising a strong protagonist? Is it because we do not see them as capable of the same level of cruelty? That’s a discussion for later, I guess. Here are 5 of my favorite mothers/mother figures!

Mykaela – The Bone Witch (The Bone Witch #1) by Rin Chupeco
Maybe it’s because I only recently read the final book in this trilogy, but Mykaela was the first mother figure to come to mind when preparing this list. She becomes Tea’s teacher and warden when the latter accidentally raises her brother from the dead and discovers she’s a Dark asha. It’s so clear throughout the three novels how much they care for one another, how important they are in each other’s lives.

Essun – The Fifth Season (Broken Earth #1) by N.K. Jemisin
The Fifth Season is, without a doubt, one of the most interesting novels I’ve read in a long time. One of the reasons why is that it’s partly told in second person, which makes for an intriguing reading experience. It’s told in multiple perspectives, one of which is Essun’s. Her husband has just murdered their son and kidnapped their daughter, and Essun is determined to find and save her remaining child.


Sunja – Pachinko by Min Jin Lee
I’ve talked about this multigenerational story set in Korea and Japan multiple times now, but feel the need to do so again. As this novel follows Sunja and her family for multiple generations, a lot of it is focused on her role as a mother. I admire her so much. She loves her children unconditionally, and does everything she can to make their life better.

Nadine and Patty – The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli
I couldn’t make a list of favorite mothers without including Nadine and Patty. Reading a YA contemporary novel in which the main character has a good relationship with their mothers was fantastic. It’s clear how much Nadine and Patty love their children, how much they respect them, and how well they raised them. I wish every person in the world could grow up in a household this loving.

Circe – Circe by Madeline Miller
For those of you unfamiliar with this novel, Circe is the story of Circe’s life. She is exiled by her father to an uninhabited island where she will spend the rest of eternity – as she’s immortal. At some point in time, Circe gives birth to a son and spends her next years raising him. I thought this was an interesting look at motherhood because you both see how much Circe loves him him and would give up for him, and how hard being a mother can truly be. It doesn’t skip over the parts of motherhood that aren’t so nice to talk about, which I appreciate.

Have you read any of these books? Who are your favorite fictional mothers?

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