Wednesday, May 4, 2011
Last night, the four of us WHYA girls sat around a dining room table, reading and chatting and eating and laughing. We get together every Tuesday night, and it's always one of the highlights of my week. (Sometimes it's the highlight.)

In fact, all of my best memories are with friends. Eating lunch together at a picnic table in the school courtyard. Playing soccer on the weekends. Road-tripping to visit each other in college. Watching Grey's Anatomy on someone's sofa, or going to the theater to see latest chick flick.

As much as I love a good romance, I think the friendships in stories are just as important. Your friends are a reflection of you -- the things you like to do, the qualities you enjoy in other people -- so if I don't like a main character's best friend, there's a good chance I won't like the main character either.

To prove my point, here are a few of my very favorite friendships from books:

Anne and Diana from ANNE OF GREEN GABLES

What do you get when you mix a mischievous, rough-around-the-edges orphan with a sweet, proper, and somewhat boring girl? A whole lot of laughs and adventure.

Anne Shirley and Diana Barry were the original "bosom buddies," and I loved how they interacted, each pushing the other to learn and grow. Anne convinced Diana to bend (or break) a few rules, to set her imagination free. Diana showed Anne how to be a lady in modern society, introducing her to a world of wealth and beauty. Together they were the perfect combination of dream and reality, passion and practicality. They helped each other become better people, and they stuck by each other throughout their lives.

Bella and Alice from TWILIGHT

As much as TWILIGHT focused on the love between Bella and Edward (and Bella and Jacob), I think the friendship-love between Bella and Alice was a big part of the reason I enjoyed the series so much. Alice was cute and quirky, full of personality. Plus she could see the future! Who wouldn't want a best friend with that power, right?

Okay, it wasn't always fun. But (SPOILER WARNING) when Edward leaves Bella, who did she write to? Not him. To Alice. Alice was the one she felt she could confide in. Alice was the one she spilled her broken heart to. And later (SPOILER WARNING AGAIN) Alice is the one that Bella lets throw her a party, pick out her clothes, and even plan her wedding. If that's not a sign of true friendship, then I don't know what is.

Harry, Hermione, and Ron from HARRY POTTER

Can I confess something? I never cared who Harry Potter fell in love with. Because to me, he already had his soul mates in Ron and Hermione.

They stuck with him through everything. They risked their own lives for his. They made him smarter and stronger by being his team. Sure, each of them had faults and weaknesses -- but when they worked together, that didn't matter, because they could cover for one another. They always had each other's backs.

And best of all, they were funny too!

All right, those are some of my favorite book friendships. What are yours?



Dawn said...

In THE TALISMAN by Stephen King: Jack and Wolf. No matter what happened, they stuck by each other, even though they were so different.

In THE REPLACEMENT by Brenna Yovanoff: Mackie and Roswell. Even though Roswell knows Mackie isn't human, he doesn't care, they're FRIENDS.

Sarah Wedgbrow said...

Katniss and Gale in THE HUNGER GAMES--I love boy/girl friendships because there's always that tension there.

Jesse and Leslie in BRIDGE TO TERABITHIA--I loved the adventure of friendship in this book, the imagination, the childhood...the only book to make me cry.

LOVE this topic, Kristan. xx

sonja said...

I do like friendships in books, but for some reason, I'm having a hard time thinking of any! (Besides HP, of course.) I find this surprising since I have invested quite a bit of time and energy into friendships in what I am currently writing.

I wonder if friendship isn't typically a more central feature in books about children (including teenagers) than those featuring adults. As I think about books featuring adult characters, the friend(s) of the main character are generally just there to point out the main character's flaws (usually in a nice way) and/or back story rather than to have their own storyline with the main character.

Kristan said...

I've not read either of those, but I really want to read THE REPLACEMENT!

Haha, you and Gale... {shakes head} Well, yes, he's a good FRIEND to have.

Hehe, sorry, I know I already claimed your fave series. Good point: friendships probably are more central to children's/teenage books. Although, come to think of it, I'm not sure they're more important to children/teenagers, lol. I feel like at that age, me and my friends were mostly thinking about love; now we're much more appreciative of the strong bonds we share between ourselves.

Dawn said...

Kristan - I do so love Mackie and can't wait to see if there's more on him. He came off as so human...yet not. It was interesting to see how his family reacted to him and to others about him, knowing what they knew.

Debbie Maxwell Allen said...

It would be so fun to be in a crit group with all YA writers. I'm in a fantastic group, but the other four members write horror, fantasy, contemporary, and cozy mystery. And then there's me. Glad you've got a great group!


We Heart YA said...

There's a lot to be said for variety too. The 4 of us met through a larger group, which was much more mixed in terms of genre. We banded together b/c we were the only ones writing YA, but we still enjoy getting everyone else's perspectives too. :)

nicole said...

Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson.

Didn't matter how much shit sherlock gave him, the doc was always there scribbling away on his notepad, completely enraptured. bromance of the original variety.

Todd and Manchee in Patrick Ness' Chaos Walking Trilogy. boy and man's best friend. i totally cried when YOU KNOW WHAT happened.

We Heart YA said...

I'm not familiar with Todd and Manchee, but omg yes, lol, the original bromance!! What a great example. (I thought they kept that part up pretty well in the new Sherlock movie with Robert Downey Jr and Jude Law , too.)

Ingrid Palmer said...

1. Ponyboy and Johnny in THE OUTSIDERS. Not only did those boys always have each other’s backs, but they felt secure enough to talk about their fears, dreams, families, social injustice… even sunsets and poetry.

2. The friendship that really touched my heart in THE SISTERHOOD OF THE TRAVELING PANTS was the unexpected bond between (SPOILER) 16-year-old Tibby and her persistent filmmaking apprentice, 12-year-old Bailey, who (unbeknownst to Tibby) was battling leukemia. I just loved the way these two girls connected and grew to cherish each other, despite their age difference.

We Heart YA said...

Ing, if you like THE OUTSIDERS, I think you will like THE SECRET YEAR. It got some comparisons to that.

And yes, loved Tibby and Bailey! I forgot about them. :)


nicole said...

oh you've not read the AWESOMESAUCE that is 'the knife of letting go'? OH MY GODit is THE BEST SERIES EVER!

manchee is todd's dog. and he is ADORABLE and AWESOME and FANTASTIC. and i love him.

We Heart YA said...

Whoa, that's some endorsement. No, I've not read it, but I think I know what to look for in the bookstore next time. ;)

Yay, I LOVE dogs!!

Michelle Santiago said...

great post!! harry, ron and hermoine and bianca, casey and jessica from the duff are my fave friendships in books... but i can't help wanting for harry and hermoine to get together.

We Heart YA said...

Oh yeah! How could I forget THE DUFF girls? Thank you for reminding me. :)

P.E. said...

I agree! I honestly didn't care about who Harry was with. It would always be Harry-Ron-Hermione to me.

Some of my favourite BFFLs are Blair and Serena from Gossip Girl. These girls can fight for the stupidest reasons. They hurt each other and manipulate each other, but in the end,they will forgive each other. No one can hurt either of them with the other's consent. They're always there for each other.

We Heart YA said...

I have to admit, I've never read or watched Gossip Girl, but I love that description of Serena and Blair. They sound kind of like sisters. :)


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Stephanie, Ingrid, Sarah & Kristan — we read, write, discuss and celebrate Young Adult lit.



on the shelf

The Bitter Kingdom
Wild Awake
The Raven Boys
Mind Games
Eleanor and Park
The Shattered Mountain
The Shadow Cats
Froi of the Exiles
Days of Blood & Starlight
Every Day
Jellicoe Road
Finnikin of the Rock
Guitar Notes
The Dead-Tossed Waves
The Crown of Embers
New House 5: How A Dorm Becomes A Home
The Fault in Our Stars

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