Our Favorite Father Figures in Fiction

Our Favorite Father Figures in Fiction

literary dads

Father’s Day is almost here and it has us thinking not only about the paternal figures in our real lives but the ones in our favorite books too! To celebrate, the Bookish team got together to share a few of their favorite literary dads and father figures in fiction.

The Way You Make Me Feel by Maurene Goo

Maurene Goo writes some fantastic YA dads. Who doesn’t want to curl up with Desi’s Appa from I Believe in a Thing Called Love to watch K-dramas? But my favorite of Goo’s fictional fathers is Adrian. Admittedly, I have a little bit of a crush on him. Can you blame me? He’s the young tattooed owner of a Korean Brazilian fusion food truck called KoBra. But beyond being my dream man, he’s an incredible dad to Clara. He raises his daughter on his own while her mother travels the world as an Instagram influencer. He isn’t always perfect, but his dedication to Clara is clear and giving her the best life possible shapes every decision he makes. —Kelly

Maverick “Big Mav” Carter
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Maverick Carter is the glue that holds his family together. He grew up in the projects and later went to jail, which motivated him to provide the best future he could for his family. Big Mav instills very important cultural norms to his children. In The Hate U Give, readers get to see Starr grapple with the consequences of not heeding the lessons her father taught her. One of my favorite scenes in the book, which made laugh out loud, was when Starr and Big Mav discuss Harry Potter and he analyzes the story as an analogy for gang wars. As a father, Big Mav is this physically strong and powerful man but he is also there for his children emotionally, which I loved. —Dana

Mr. Quimby
Ramona Quimby series by Beverly Cleary

I’m a huge fan of the Ramona books, and her dad has always had a special spot in my heart. Throughout the series, he puts the needs of his family first (quitting college when his wife got pregnant with their first child, taking jobs he hates in order to provide for their growing family) and is patient and affectionate and full of jokes for his daughters—even after a hard day. In the fourth book in the series, Ramona and Her Father, the Quimby family goes through a rough time with tight finances after he loses his job. Despite his own stress (he’s also struggling to quit smoking), he still manages to reassure a very worried Ramona that their family will always be OK, no matter what happens. At another point in the series, he inspires Ramona by returning to college to get a degree so he can pursue his dream of becoming an art teacher. Mr. Quimby nurtures Ramona’s imagination and creativity like no one else, and reading about their special bond is a pleasure. —Lindsey

Robert & Jeff
Roomies by Christina Lauren

In Roomies, Holland Bakker’s life is shaped by her Uncle Robert and his husband Jeff. Growing up, she often visited them after school or on weekends, and when they all found themselves in New York years later, they became her main support system. Robert even gives her a job helping with the Broadway show he’s putting on. Robert and Jeff are not only incredibly supportive and loving, they also set a great example of a healthy and happy relationship and show Holland that a future shaped by her passions where she’s fulfilled is possible. They may not be her biological dads, but they step up to fill a paternal role in her life in a significant way. Honestly, if they wanted to adopt me I’d leap at the chance! —Kelly

Nathan & Andy
Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

Stephanie Perkins’ YA contemporary romance Lola and the Boy Next Door was the first book I ever read that featured gay parents. Nathan and Andy are charismatic and fun, but fiercely protective of their daughter and are very invested in her life. There was a time in YA novels where parents were either dead, absent, or glossed over but Nathan and Andy are so present. Lola is dating a bad boy rocker and her fathers don’t approve, which I loved reading about. —Dana

A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara

Harold Stein might not be Jude’s biological father in Hanya Yanagihara’s heartbreaker of a novel A Little Life, but he is still a source of love and stability. Initially, Harold is Jude’s professor in law school, but eventually he becomes his adoptive father. Jude has lived through many lifetimes’ worth of suffering by the time Harold and his wife Julia come into his life, and Harold has experienced his fair share of pain, too. Their relationship becomes deeper and more meaningful as the years pass, and readers can feel the warmth and care emanating off of the page. —Elizabeth


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