YA may have a reputation for focusing on K-I-S-S-I-N-G (and I may or may not be helping with that), but I’d argue that close, true friendships are what YA is all about. That just makes sense, since many of us meet our best friends in high school. There’s no better feeling than having a friend who knew you when you were in your awkward years, sporting braces, bad hair, and way too many novelty t-shirts. (I went to high school in the era of Hot Topic, so that last one may be specific to the early-to-mid ‘00s!)
Romance may set my heart aflutter, but there’s just something special about reading a book that features the unbreakable bond between girlfriends. In celebration of friendship, here are my favorite BFFs in YA. Keep in mind that, while my list is heavy on the ladies, friendship is an equal opportunity endeavor. Dudes are welcome here.
Alice, Pamela, and Elizabeth in the Alice series.
Phyllis Reynolds Naylor’s Alice books were some of the first books I got obsessed with, and Alice and her BFFs were my friendship role models. Pamela was the crazy, loud, sexy one, Elizabeth was the shy, easily embarrassed one, and Alice was. . .well, I guess Alice was the one who asked a lot of awkward questions. Even though they were pretty different, they supported each other through fights, boyfriends, family drama, unplanned pregnancies, eating disorders, and about a million other things. They also did a ton of fun stuff together, like going to the beach and taking an eventful train ride to Chicago, an experience I definitely wanted when I was a kid. Seriously, I just assumed that being a teenager meant I’d take a long-distance, un-chaperoned train ride with my BFFs. I’m still waiting for that one to happen.
Bridget, Lena, Carmen, and Tibby in Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.
Okay, so I’ll take any excuse I can get to write about the amazingness that is Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. It’s a perfect book series (EXCEPT FOR THAT LAST ONE!), a perfect movie, and a perfect friendship. I mean, I adore my friends, but I probably would not share a pair of pants with them. That’s real love. The girls are always there for each other when necessary (even when it means going all the way to Greece) and their friendship lasts forever. Still, let’s not talk about the last book. Oh, and it doesn’t hurt that these actresses are friends in real life.
Reagan and Dee in Open Road Summer.
Yes, Emery Lord’s Open Road Summer does feature a totally swoon-worthy romance, but it also features one of the best friendships I’ve read recently. Reagan and Dee support each other even when no one else does. They show that even when you have totally different personalities, you can still be each other’s biggest fans. Plus they get to take a sweet road trip on a tour bus. What could be cooler?
Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy in Little Women.
Okay, okay, so these girls are actually sisters, but I’d argue that they’re also BFFs. They go through a lot (for starters: dramatic hair cuts, burning novels, marriages, deaths, babies), but they always manage to forgive and support each other.
Mia and Lilly in The Princess Diaries.
Lilly and Mia’s friendship is a good example of two people who sort of annoy each other still getting along. To be fair, Lilly would be an annoying friend to have some of the time—she’s brash, outspoken, and has a TV show called “Lilly Tells It Like It Is.” On the other hand, all of these things are pretty awesome (and it doesn’t hurt that Lilly’s totally hilarious). Sometimes even a princess needs a friend who, well, tells it like it is.
Sloane and Emily in Since You’ve Been Gone.
Sloane and Emily are best friends. . . that is, until Sloane disappears without a trace. Emily’s efforts to track her down (and the thoughtful, fun to do list Sloane leaves behind for Emily) show that these two BFFs are for real. I mean, only a true best friend would demand that you “hug a Jamie.”
Now it’s your turn! Share your favorite YA friendships in the comments! And, as always, I love to hear your suggestions for books to feature in Young Adult Education. Leave a comment, send me an email at email@example.com or find me on Twitter @KerryAnn.