Best Books Ever: Friendships
This week, I asked about favorite friendships in books. They can be platonic friends (Harry, Hermione, and Ron!) or they can be BFFs who are also a couple (Alina and Mal, perhaps?) or anything in between. I just wanted to hear about awesome friends doing awesome things for each other. Check out our selections and let us know what you think in the comments.
One of the things I love best about middle grade fiction is the focus on close friendships. Usually you'll see a boy-girl pairing, which allows some suggestion of romance that might develop when they're a little older, but I really like the idea of a platonic love that develops from shared experience, mutual respect, and admiration. I can think of many great friendships in fiction, but one that I think of often — and the first that came to mind — is between Aluna and Hoku from Jenn Reese's science fiction adventure Above World. When you read it, you'll see why: They accept each other's flaws and inspire each other to be their very best, and they work very much as a team on equal ground. Er, water. They complement each other well, and you know that no matter what hardships they face, they will handle them together. Now that's a true friendship. (Embarrassing admission: I have yet to read the shiny sequel waiting on my shelf, Mirage, so my argument could be invalid. But whatever happens, I have faith they'll continue to grow alongside each other and resolve any problems in Book 3!)
E.C. Myers - Quantum Coin (October 23, 2012; Pyr)
Unlikely friendships are my favorite, and the relationship that develops between Polly and Odd in Blythe Woolston's CATCH & RELEASE is one of them. They are the only survivors of a flesh-eating (MRSA) bacteria that swept through their small Montana town, killing five others. Although they didn't travel in the same circles in high school, they've each experienced a loss that no one else shares--Odd has lost part of his leg (and is losing his grandmother), and Polly has lost part of her face and an eye (along with her boyfriend and married future). A spontaneous fishing-trip-turned-road-trip slowly creates a bond between Polly and Odd, and liberates them to think of their places in the world in new ways.
Elizabeth Fama - Monstrous Beauty (FSG, Sept. 2012) and Plus One (FSG, Jan. 2014)
My favorite book friendship is between Will Herondale and his best friend, or parabatai, Jem Carstairs from The Infernal Devices. Their friendship is a true “ying to your yang” relationship. Without giving too much of the plot away and spoiling it for anyone who hasn’t read them yet, Will is in a permanent bad mood due to circumstances of his past that we learn throughout the series. He is very hard to get along with or get close to. The one person who seems to be able to get through to him most is Jem. Jem is a very sweet, laid back sort. He has patience with Will that no one else seems to be able to tolerate. With Jem we see the real hidden Will, the friend that will go to all lengths to help his friend who happens to be terminally ill. Will often does these gestures of true friendship for Jem secretly so no one else knows, but we as the reader get a taste of the real Will when we read about their interactions together that none of the other characters are privy to.
Pauline from Simply Infatuated
I came up with this topic because I had started reading Rose Under Fire, a companion book to Elizabeth Wein's Code Name Verity. Rose is a book about friendship, and the things we do to save and protect the people we care about, too, but Verity hit all the right notes for me. Julie and Maddie are unlikely friends, people who never would have gotten together were it not for the war, but they stick by each other's side through thick and thin. Their friendship is one for the ages, and one I think that a lot of people would be lucky to have in their life. Sure, I sob like a baby every time I read the book, but that doesn't take away from the fact that Julie and Maddie find each other for a reason. They're just what the other needs, and their lives are better for it.
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