Gina Vaynshteyn
Updated July 17, 2014
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You know you’ve fallen in love with a book when you find yourself friend-crushing on a character. You’re driving your car, and you suddenly wish that very character was in the passenger seat. You’re getting your nails done, and while you awkwardly make small-talk with the staff, you desperately wish you had your imaginary literary bestie to talk to (as well as asking her what nail polish color you should pick out, because that pressure is REAL). In fact, you start to question your sanity and your social life, but it doesn’t matter. For us bookworms, stories have always held a special power, a power that encourages us to daydream ourselves into a make-believe world. A world filled with supporting friends you wish you could hang out with IRL, such as:

1. Harriet M. Welsch from Harriet the Spy (by Louise Fitzhugh)

When I was in second grade, Harriet the Spy (both in book and film form) was my sacred writ. I, too, wanted to sneak around town and spy on suspects and wary characters. I even started journaling, thanks to Harriet, although I made sure to keep my private observations out of sight. Although Harriet initially mistakes good journalism with gossip, she ultimately learns her lesson and becomes a better, more loyal, and less judgmental friend. Also, raise your hand if you packed yourself a tomato and mayo sandwich to school for two weeks straight after watching the movie (it was surprisingly delicious, okay?).

2. Ramona Quimby from the Ramona series (by Beverly Cleary)

Oh, frustrated, curious, and adventurous Ramona. She always wanted to be more “grown up,” but when she tried to impress everyone with her newly found adult-ness, she always managed to embarrass herself. We all need Ramona as a friend, because who else is going to be there for us with wet paper towel in hand when we decide to boldly crack a raw egg on our head?

3. Rose Eldenstein from The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake (by Aimee Bender)

Rose can taste emotions whenever she eats food made by someone else. Although it’s a gift, it’s also a burden. If Rose was your BFF, she probably would insist on not eating the gluten-free chocolate chip cookies you made earlier, especially if you were grumpy and craving a bagel (okay, that was me this morning). However, Rose’s magical ability makes her much more attuned to people’s feelings. She would be the kind of friend who would be there for you when you need to vent, and would know if you’re upset, or angry before you even need to say anything.

4. Lee Fiora from Prep (by Curtis Sittenfeld)

In Prep, Lee Fiora makes the rocky transition from Midwestern public school to the prestigious East Coast private school in Ault, Massachusetts. Because she’s a scholarship student, she feels pretty isolated, as her more affluent peers vacation in Nantucket and live their own, very plush, different lives. Lee is observant, and she’s been through some awkward situations. She’s felt pressures from her teachers and her classmates, so when you come to her with your problems, the advice she gives you will be golden.

5. Hermione Granger from the Harry Potter series (by J.K. Rowling)

Hermione is your over-achieving best friend. She pushes you to the next level, and encourages you when you’re feeling defeated. Above all, Hermione is loyal. She’ll never feed you to the wolves. Bonus? She’ll teach you magic, obviously.

6. Alex from Everything is Illuminated (by Jonathan Safran Foer)

I know, I know. This is an unconventional choice, especially since Alex is known for bragging about his sex life in broken English, as well as his questionable Ukrainian swagger, but I can definitely picture myself going on some fun adventures with this guy and his dog, Sammy Davis Jr. Jr.

7. Danny from Tortilla Flat (by John Steinbeck)

Danny, a thief and wine-aholic, might not be someone’s first choice for a bestie. And it’s true – Danny has been to jail, has escaped from jail, and frequently engaged in drunken brawls. But you guys, the man is so much fun! He’s like your crazy friend you had in college who managed to get herself kicked out of every bar by campus and convinced you to take a bartender with you guys to Taco Bell.

8. Bridget Jones from Bridget Jones’s Diary (by Helen Fielding)

There is a little bit of Bridget Jones in all of us, and that’s what would make her such an awesome sidekick. Whether she’s buying sandwiches instead of going to the gym, or having a nervous breakdown over Daniel Cleaver, Bridget will never, ever judge you. Like, even in your darkest moments, since she’s probably had those same dark moments, too.

9. Bev Tunney from Friendship (by Emily Gould)

I know I already wrote about Friendship this week, but I can’t help it! I like this book, and I love its characters. Bev Tunney, in particular, is a really dependable friend. Maybe too dependable at times, as she puts others’ needs first before hers. But with that said, Bev will be there for you. She will detect even the most minuscule amount of sadness or anxiety you’ve got buried deep, and she’ll be the one who shows up to your apartment with sushi and wine.

10. Anastasia Krupnik from Anastasia series (by Lois Lowry)

Many of us grew up with Anastasia Krupnik, the intelligent, curious, bold, and unique pre-teen who is simultaneously wise beyond her years and refreshingly naive. She thrives on individuality, so as a bestie and partner-in-crime, she’ll tell you that your poems don’t have to rhyme to be poems. She’ll make your more aware of your surroundings, and she will always encourage you to hold on to what makes you special.

Images via NPR, Barnes and Noble