Addictive tropes in books — Found Family

Published 05 Apr 2024
by Anca Antoci

I ran a poll on Twitter to see what tropes my readers like and "found family" won by a mile. I mean, there are other cherished tropes, and I will write about them soon, but "found family" struck a chord with many, so I felt compelled to write about it first. You know why it's so popular with everyone? Because it relatable.

What is the found family trope?

In a nutshell, the found family trope serves as a storytelling device that explores the unbreakable bond between unrelated friends who choose to create their own family unit.

Although the group is not deliberately chosen, they are often brought together by similar circumstances or experiences. This trope explores how their relationship with each other develops over time.

You follow their characters as they meet, become tight-knit, and rely on each other for comfort and love, just like a second family.

Why is the found family trope so popular?

I belong to the wonderful online community of book bloggers, and the found family trope seems to surpass all others in popularity no matter the literary genre. So I asked around to get some opinions. There are several reasons why readers gravitate towards it with such fervor.

Comfort and Acceptance

It taps into our innate longing for belonging and connection. Seeing characters forge deep bonds and create their own family unit resonates with our desire to find our tribe, our people, in a world that can often feel fragmented and isolating. The idea that you can find people who love you unconditionally, irrespective of blood ties, is incredibly heartening.

At the heart of the found family trope, there is a strong emphasis on the strength and significance of chosen bonds. The emphasis lies in the fact that love goes beyond blood relations, instead focusing on shared experiences, unwavering trust, and unconditional support.

Chosen Bonds over Obligation

In fiction, orphaned characters often encounter conveniently loyal companions. Found families, however, are a different breed. Due to a lack of connection with their biological families, these characters actively choose to build a support system, finding comfort in the bonds they create.

They may have a secret they can’t share (of the paranormal variety), need to escape a toxic home environment, or were simply ostracized. For whatever reason, they build their own family with people who they truly trust and depend on.

With birth families, the pressure to help can feel like an obligation. But with a found family, you know the support is genuine. It’s the closeness of family, minus the often dysfunctional dynamics that can plague traditional families.

Overcoming Isolation

The trope often features characters who are isolated or ostracized. Seeing them build a strong support system from scratch is inspiring and uplifting. We see characters who may be orphans, outcasts, or those ostracized by their biological families. They navigate a world where they feel unseen, unheard, and alone.

The beauty of the found family trope lies in witnessing these characters rise above their isolation. They forge unlikely bonds with others who understand their struggles or share similar experiences. These connections offer a sense of belonging they’ve never known before. They learn to trust, rely on, and celebrate each other, creating a support system built on shared understanding and mutual respect.

Unwavering Loyalty and Support

Readers enjoy the portrayal of unwavering loyalty and support within these chosen families. These are the people you can truly rely on, no matter what.

Personally, what I find most enticing is the unwavering loyalty displayed by these individuals. They are the ones you can wholeheartedly rely on, the ones you turn to when life takes a turn for the worse. They are the ones who reciprocate your trust and share their deepest struggles with you.


Found families highlight the power of chosen bonds over obligatory ones. The love and support come from genuine connection and shared experiences, making it feel more meaningful. I find it endearing when people genuinely love and support each other purely out of affection and mutual respect and not out of obligation.

I’m constantly hunting for a good found family book, and over the years, I’ve come across quite a few. So, here are some recommendations for fantasy books you should definitely read if you’re a fan of the found family trope.

Dance of Thieves by Mary E. Pearson

Title: Dance of Thieves
Author: Mary E. Pearson
Released: 23.06.2022
Buy from Amazon
4.22 (read)
Our review:
5.00 (read)

When the patriarch of the Ballenger empire dies, his son, Jase, becomes its new leader. Even nearby kingdoms bow to the strength of this outlaw family, who have always governed by their own rules. But a new era looms on the horizon, set in motion by a young queen, which makes her the target of the dynasty’s resentment and anger.

At the same time, Kazi, a legendary former street thief, is sent by the queen to investigate transgressions against the new settlements. When Kazi arrives in the forbidding land of the Ballengers, she learns that there is more to Jase than she thought. As unexpected events spiral out of their control, bringing them intimately together, they continue to play a cat and mouse game of false moves and motives in order to fulfill their own secret missions.

Fourth Wing by Rebecca Yarros

Title: Fourth Wing
Author: Rebecca Yarros
Released: 02.05.2023
Buy from Amazon
4.60 (read)
Our review:
5.00 (read)

Twenty-year-old Violet Sorrengail was supposed to enter the Scribe Quadrant, living a quiet life among books and history. Now, the commanding general — also known as her tough-as-talons mother — has ordered Violet to join the hundreds of candidates striving to become the elite of Navarre: dragon riders.

But when you’re smaller than everyone else and your body is brittle, death is only a heartbeat away…because dragons don’t bond to “fragile” humans. They incinerate them.

With fewer dragons willing to bond than cadets, most would kill Violet to better their own chances of success. The rest would kill her just for being her mother’s daughter — like Xaden Riorson, the most powerful and ruthless wingleader in the Riders Quadrant.

She’ll need every edge her wits can give her just to see the next sunrise.

Yet, with every day that passes, the war outside grows more deadly, the kingdom’s protective wards are failing, and the death toll continues to rise. Even worse, Violet begins to suspect leadership is hiding a terrible secret.

Friends, enemies, lovers. Everyone at Basgiath War College has an agenda — because once you enter, there are only two ways out: graduate or die.

Midsummer Night’s Curse by Anca Antoci

Title: Midsummer Night's Curse
Author: Anca Antoci
Released: 20.10.2023
Buy from Amazon
4.67 (read)
Our review: No review yet

Amidst the misty hills and ancient forests of Transylvania, Ella Martin thought she found a perfect place to escape from her old life. She’s a witch on the run from her coven and no one would think to seek her amid vampires at Count Dracula Inn. What could go wrong?

But locals don’t take kindly to outsiders, so when a teenage girl goes missing on the midsummer night at the inn, the villagers point their fingers at Ella. But then the handsome Inspector Felix Goia starts digging into her past, suspecting she must be hiding something. And the witch knows she must find the missing girl to get everyone off her back. If she fails, she has to flee before everyone finds out she’s a witch and they turn on her.

Adding to the chaos, the recently appointed police captain, Radu Lupu, dove into the fray. Beneath his charming exterior lies a ruthless streak that few people have seen. They reluctantly work together to solve the case of the missing girl, and the jaw-dropping discovery they make leaves everyone speechless. Faced with magic, they resort to mischief to save the girl. But can they succeed in their paranormal misadventure?

Second Star to the Left by Megan Van Dyke

Title: Second Star to the Left
Author: Megan Van Dyke
Released: 15.02.2022
Buy from Amazon
4.00 (read)
Our review:
4.50 (read)

Tinker Bell, banished from her homeland for doing the unthinkable, selling the hottest drug in Neverland — pixie dust — wants absolution.

Determined to find a way home, Tink doesn’t hesitate to follow the one lead she has, even if that means seducing a filthy pirate to steal precious gems out from under his…hook.

Captain Hook believes he’s found a real treasure in Tink. That is, until he recovers from her pixie dust laced kiss with a curse that turns the seas against him. With his ship and reputation at the mercy of raging storms, he tracks down the little minx and demands she remove the curse. Too bad she can’t.

However, the mermaid queen has a solution to both of their problems, if Tink and Hook will work together to retrieve a magical item for her.

As they venture to the mysterious Shrouded Isles to find the priceless treasure, their shared nemesis closes in. However, his wrath is nothing compared to the realization that achieving their goal may mean losing something they never expected to find — each other.

From Blood and Ash by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Title: From Blood and Ash
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Released: 29.03.2020
Buy from Amazon
4.31 (read)
Our review: No review yet

A Maiden…

Chosen from birth to usher in a new era, Poppy’s life has never been her own. The life of the Maiden is solitary. Never to be touched. Never to be looked upon. Never to be spoken to. Never to experience pleasure. Waiting for the day of her Ascension, she would rather be with the guards, fighting back the evil that took her family, than preparing to be found worthy by the gods. But the choice has never been hers.

A Duty…

The entire kingdom’s future rests on Poppy’s shoulders, something she’s not even quite sure she wants for herself. Because a Maiden has a heart. And a soul. And longing. And when Hawke, a golden-eyed guard honor bound to ensure her Ascension, enters her life, destiny and duty become tangled with desire and need. He incites her anger, makes her question everything she believes in, and tempts her with the forbidden.

A Kingdom…

Forsaken by the gods and feared by mortals, a fallen kingdom is rising once more, determined to take back what they believe is theirs through violence and vengeance. And as the shadow of those cursed draws closer, the line between what is forbidden and what is right becomes blurred. Poppy is not only on the verge of losing her heart and being found unworthy by the gods, but also her life when every blood-soaked thread that holds her world together begins to unravel.

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Title: Six Of Crows
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Released: 08.10.2018
Buy from Amazon
4.49 (read)
Our review: No review yet

Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price — and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone. . . .

A convict with a thirst for revenge

A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager

A runaway with a privileged past

A spy known as the Wraith

A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums

A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes

Six dangerous outcasts. One impossible heist. Kaz’s crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction — if they don’t kill each other first.