Siblings. Love them or hate them, you’re pretty much stuck with them. They’re always there for you in when you’re knocked down… sometimes to give you a hand, sometimes because they pushed you. Such is life.
In case you don’t know, I have a younger brother (just one – the header image is of me with my brother and my cousin). So as someone who’s experienced having a sibling, I feel like I can be a pretty good judge of when someone writes sibling relationships well… and most of the time, they don’t. They usually fall into one of two extremes: always getting along 24/7, or hating each other’s guts. Going off of my own experience and what I’ve learned from others, sibling relationships usually fall more in the middle.
But anyway, just because most people can’t write siblings to save their life doesn’t mean there aren’t good, well-written sibling relationships in stories. I’ve compiled a list of seven of them, just to prove it. So here we go.
Darry, Sodapop, and Ponyboy Curtis (The Outsiders)
Life isn’t easy for the Curtis brothers. With their parents out of the picture, Darry (the oldest) takes on more adult responsibilities, causing tension between him and his youngest brother, Ponyboy. Soda gets stuck in the middle. In fact, the novel’s main conflict is partially sparked by an argument between Darry and Ponyboy. Things aren’t always easy between them, but in the end they know that all they have is each other, and they look out for each other. When Ponyboy is reunited with his brothers after being a fugitive for a while (long story), the three of them are able to make up. It’s one of my favorite scenes in the whole book.
Sokka and Katara (Avatar: The Last Airbender)
As I’ve written before, Sokka and Katara are great examples of well-written siblings because they fight and bicker often. Hardly an episode goes by without them getting into an argument. Despite this, they’re still there for each other when it matters. They stick together through thick and thin, because that’s what you do for family.
Sadie and Carter Kane (The Kane Chronicles)
Sadie and Carter grew up separately, with Sadie being raised by her grandparents and Carter traveling with their father. They only see each other every so often, so when they’re suddenly forced to save the world together, it’s a little awkward and tense. Despite this, they work well together. Their personalities and skills balance each other out, even if they bicker a little bit along the way. One of my favorite aspects of this series is that they’re written as if transcribed from an audio recording, so sometimes we get to see glimpses of Sadie and Carter talking casually in the background. They’re some of my favorite parts of reading these books!
Katniss and Prim (The Hunger Games)
Say what you will about The Hunger Games, but I still think that Katniss volunteering to participate in the Games in Prim’s place is one of the most powerful and selfless acts I’ve seen a YA protagonist do. Katniss isn’t thinking about starting a revolution or defying the odds – the only thing on her mind is saving her younger sister, even if that means she’ll likely lose her life in the arena. Even when things start spiraling out of control later in the series, Katniss and Prim always look out for each other.
Eliza, Sully, and Church (Eliza and Her Monsters)
For most of the book, Eliza sees her younger brothers, Church and Sully, as obnoxious. In most ways, they’re the exact opposite of her – they’re “normal” teenagers, involved in sports and other typical activities. Being more introverted and independent, Eliza has a hard time connecting with her younger brothers. However, when Eliza’s parents accidently reveal that she is the creator of the popular webcomic Monstrous Sea, Eliza becomes very anxious because of her newfound fame, and her brothers are actually the ones who understand her struggle. One of my favorite scenes in the book is when a reporter calls their house to speak to Eliza, Sully answers the phone and tells the reporter, in no uncertain terms, to leave them alone. Eliza’s brothers are there for her when she needs support, and I really appreciate that about them.
Cinder and Peony (Cinder)
Despite the fact that this book is based on the traditional Cinderella story, not all of Cinder’s adoptive sisters are “evil.” Peony, the younger sister, treats Cinder as a member of the family, even though Cinder is a cyborg. The two become friends and confidantes in spite of everything that should separate them. And when Peony becomes sick with the plague, Cinder is determined to do everything she can to save her sister, even if it means risking the wrath of her stepmother.
Ezran and Callum (The Dragon Prince)
The Dragon Prince only has eighteen episodes so far (culminating in about seven-ish hours of show), yet it’s done a very good job of developing the relationship between Callum and Ezran. The two are half-brothers (same mother), but that’s never a conflict in their relationship. Early on, assassins come to kill their father, the king, and Ezran, who’s the heir to the throne. Callum discovers this when one of the assassins corners him, and he claims to be Ezran instead to protect his younger brother. Their relationship continues to be developed in the remainder of the series, and I love seeing the connection between the two of them.
Rocket, Fish, Mibs, Samson, and Gypsy Beaumont (Savvy)
Edward and Alphonse Elric (Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood)
Day and Eden (Legend)
Jonathan and Will Byers (Stranger Things)
Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy March (Little Women)