You know what adds 180 years to my life? Books that focus on FRIENDSHIPS.
It clears my skin, I can see the seventh dimension, the suns burn brighter, cake is magical, the wraiths stay in the shadows, the ships come home from war. It’s incredible really. Who knew the power of friendships in books. Who knew.
I’ve been reading some utterly incredible friendship books this year that have done ALL OF THIS and has got me thinking…
Do YA books focus on friendship enough??
Because I feel we generally get a romance to take front-and-centre stage in books instead of friendship. And like, don’t get me wrong: I’m not digging at romance! I actually like romance in books and will ship all the ships. (I’m currently reading Autoboyography and frEAKIngggg out how much I LOVE that ship.) But I feel like friendships capture my imagination more and aren’t done enough???
- I’m kind of obsessed with intensely deep friendships in books because I LOVE IT.
- And also I’m really bad at making friends myself, so let me live vicariously through books lol lol.
- I think romances should START with friendship anyway?!
- The dynamics are much much different to a romance and I enjoy reading them.
- Friendships are meaningful and complex and if they’re written well like that, then they can be so entrancing and emotional.
- They’re not LESS than romance.
- As a non-romantic person myself, I just…feel like friendships can affect and change your life so much and SQUAD GOALS are just the best.
- I just basically pretty much want my own raven boys gang. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
So now I’m totally going to subject you to a list of some of my favourite bookish friendships!
While going through my reads to pick out 10 friendship books I love…well yeah. It wasn’t the first 10 books on my read list. Excellent, dynamic, and epic friendships aren’t that common. (But maybe I don’t pick the right books?!)
I also understand that romance is (a) something publishers push for, and (b) something a LOT of teens are exploring for the first time. So it’s important too! And also books often feature outcasts and the lonely. So it’s needed to talk about them. (I was also the shy teen who went: books > people. EVERY TIME. So part of me LIKES reading about antisocial people too, okay?!)
Sometimes you don’t need a LOT of friends. Some people do way better with just one or two.
But I think friendship should be as flailed over and common to read about as romances!
Let me hit you with some favourites.
1. THE RAVEN CYCLE BY MAGGIE STIEFVATER
Because. of. course.
Seriously if someday I don’t mention them, assume it is because I have been kidnapped aND AM CALLING FOR SUBTLE HELP OR SOMETHING OMG. Blue and I are both in love with all those Raven Boys. I mean they do all slowly fall romantically in love with each other as well. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ But it’s all how they’ll do anything for each other. They share quests and dreams and really super dark secrets and thEY DIG UP DEAD WELSH KINGS TOGETHER.
What do your friends do on the weekend??? Anything else is probably so fake.
2. LETTERS TO THE LOST BY BRIGID KEMMERER
I just finished reading this for the 2nd time and ajfdksald it is Declan and Rev who HAVE MY HEART. They’ve both had awful pasts and they’re just there for each other. Childhood friends. They rely on each other. Rev tells Declan to check is temper. Declan is there for Rev when he has PTSD moments. They have a “them against the world” attitude and I just love love love them.
3. PACIFICA BY KRISTEN SIMMONS
Why doesn’t anyone talk about this?!? HOLY WOW IT’S SO GOOD. Ross and Adam are the rich vs poor friend who basically wOULD DIE for each other. Seriously Adam goes missing and Ross practically tears apart the entire sea to find him. It’s so freaking good. I LOVE THIS BOOK.
4. EXIT, PURSUED BY A BEAR BY E.K. JOHNSTON
Ohhhh wow this one has some seriously tough/dark subject matter with being all about sexual assault. But you know what I can’t get over?! Hermione and Polly’s incredible friendship. I was just sitting here waiting for it to get catty and awful — and what does that say about books that this is generally what happens?! Ffsfsfhsfh. But it stayed PRECIOUS. I freaking adore these girls and how close they were. Like nothing could cut them apart ahhhhhhhhh.
(ALSO HER NAME IS HERMIONE AND IT’S NOT HARRY POTTER?!)
5. INK AND BONE BY RACHEL CAINE
It’s my BOOKNERD SQUAAAAD. Ok but the thing i most love about this lot (Jess, Khalila, Dario, Thomas, Glain, and Morgan) is that they started off as competitive enemies and just ended up going: “SCREW THE SYSTEM. WE MAKE A SENSATIONAL TEAM.” Also this series is about BOOKS. Jess’ opinion is still “books > people” and I respect that too.
Except for Jess and Dario. There is a 97% chance one would push the other off a cliff and just stand back and laugh and laugh and laugh and then claim it was an accident. But that’s also friendship pfffft, don’t tell me otherwise.
6. AUTOBOYOGRAPHY BY CHRISTINE LAUREN
Didn’t I already mention this??? Will I just continue mentioning it because it makes me wANT TO SCREAM WITH LOVE???? Yes. Very yes.
Apart from having the cutest romance ever (that brOKE me)…it also has a really fantastic friendship between Tanner and Autumn! Okay they have issues. Like so many. Um, so they did some really dumb stuff at the end that nearly ruined everything. But like just how they’re comfortable with each other and total nerds together. Autumn is basically Hermione with sticky-notes and highlighters and 3498 school subjects. Tanner is like the cute dumb puppy you adore but also sigh at. I love them??? So much????
7. ELIZA AND HER MONSTERS BY FRANCESCA ZAPPIA
Hey hey hey!!! Online friends represent! I LOVE BOOKS WITH GOOD ONLINE FRIENDS. I find usually they’re cast in like this “omg they’re a 67 year old axe murderer” line…but this one features (a) really epic and loving online friendship that aren’t diminished, and (b) no one is an axe murderer!! i mean the bar is low but yay!!
8. LADY MIDNIGHT BY CASSANDRA CLARE
I mean ALL the Shadowhunter books have good friendships!? I can’t even choose though. Lady Midnight always gets featured however because I freaking adore Mark and just need to tell you that 398 x per day. But also:
- Will and Jem (kinda ship them tho…Tessa was so boring. I’M SORRY)
- Clary and Simon
- Emma and Cristina
- Ty and Livvy (even tho they’re twins but pfft)
- Magnus and literally anyone he comes across…give it 5 mins and they’ll be best friends
9. ACE OF SHADES BY AMANDA FOODY
Levi and Enne have this potential for romance?!? And I 500% think they’ll get there eventually. BUT! In this book, they’re pretty solidly friends. And they start off with Levi going: “Can I use her tho.” And Enne going: “Is this mere street rat helpful to me.” And then both accidentally realising they are a GOOD TEAM.
(Also this is full of like con artists and viciously vibrant cities and I am so so in love with it I can only shriiiiiek.)
10. SIX OF CROWS BY LEIGH BARDUGO
I set out to write this list going: “I will do lots of underrated books and not so many famous ones.” AND NOW LOOK AT ME.
I CAN’T NOT MENTION MY DREGS SQUAD.
Yes they all pair off — pfft let’s not focus on that — BUT they are such incredible friends?! They trust each other with their LIVES (once they’ve finished nearly murdering each other) and their friendship is all equal parts soft and stab. I love them. I loooove them. Kaz loves them too, although he might also murder them all at some point in case he shows too much emotion and loses his reputation.
Bless you Kaz, you’re doing great.