Stop the Parenticide! - cj omololu
Even though I committed parenticide, I'm always a little bugged when I read YA books where the parents are absent, either by killing them off for no reason, or by sending the teen away to boarding school. Now I have to admit, some of my favorite books are set in boarding school and many of them require the setting, but in a lot of cases, it's just a way to get rid of the parents so that the kids can run wild and have their own adventures. There aren't many kids who have either had their parents die or are sent to live at boarding school (okay, my husband has had both of those things happen - and he says that Hogwarts aside, life in a co-ed boarding school in England was as awesome as it sounds) but there are lots and lots of kids out there who have to deal with their parents every day.
Which is why I'm committed to not getting rid of parents anymore. In my new book Transcendence (not out until June) my main character not only has to worry about flashbacks of her past lives and saving the world and the boy she loves from someone out to avenge a wrong, but curfew, homework and cello practice. Her boyfriend's mother is a main character and is the confidant through all the craziness in the plot. It wasn't easy. There were so many times I wished I could just off them and be done with it, but I wanted it to ring true for kids.
Now I'm not saying that your parents have to be on every page. If they're wealthy, they might even go on a long safari in Kenya where they are basically unreachable for weeks at a time <whistles>. But I think it's good to have them lurking in the background providing an extra challenge for your main character. Can she go out and develop her special brand of magic powers and save the world from certain doom? You bet. She just better make sure her chemistry homework is done first.