February may be the month of love and my favorite holiday is Valentine’s Day (though we’ll have to ignore the fact that, in general, I hate romance novels), but there’s another kind of love I want to explore through books today: the love between friends. And by that I mean a friendship that stays a friendship instead of falling into the friends-to-lovers trope.
I count myself extremely fortunate to have 2 very dear nearly lifelong friends. We’re all in our early thirties, but started our friendships when our ages were in the single digits. These ladies and I have grown up with each other, we call each other sister, and we have developed a love that persists across time and distance. Our parents even consider all three of us their daughters. So, to celebrate the love I have for my dearest friends during this month of love, this post showcasing some of my favorite bookish friendships is dedicated to them and all the friendships out there, literary and otherwise.
The Friendship List by Susan Mallery
I couldn’t not start off this list with a book about two female friends. Sure, this is a romance, and the romance is quite fun in this one, but I couldn’t help but be struck by the friendship between Ellen and Unity. Friends since childhood, theirs struck a deep chord in me since I can also appreciate that kind of long-time friendship and love. They’re there for each other through thick and thin. They argue. They get mad at each other. But they’re still always there for each other and don’t question it. And it’s always fun to have a good girlfriend when romance is looming. Who else would you talk boys to?
Circle of Magic Quartet by Tamora Pierce
I debated how far back to go with this topic. I could go back to Frog and Toad Are Friends if I wanted, but the friendship in this quartet is really the only one that has stuck strongly with me over the years. While many Pierce fans will rave about the Alanna books, I prefer The Circle of Magic. It’s sweet and innocent without any love and romance on the horizons. They’re centered around four unlikely children who have come together as friends and family. They literally spin together and form an unbreakable bond. Reading about their friendship always makes me feel warm and fuzzy and I love just how pure and simple their friendship is.
We Could Be Heroes by Mike Chen
One of my most recent reads, and the one that struck this idea into my head. I was so afraid Jamie and Zoe would end up a couple, so I was so deliriously happy when they instead formed a very solid, albeit interesting, friendship instead. It was so clear, so pure, so true. I loved that Chen deliberately wrote them to be friends and it really made the book all that more sweeter to me. I adored everything about Jamie and Zoe together and I like to think they’re still the best of friends, and maybe legally acquiring money to retire in peace to a tropical island.
A Dance with Fate by Juliet Marillier
Okay, there’s a very good chance this one will be kicked off my list, but, right now, as the series stands, I am in love with the friendship between Liobhan and Dau. Though they initially greatly disliked each other, their mission in the first book, The Harp of Kings, brought them closer together. In the second book, an accident turned Liobhan into Dau’s eyes, forcing them to spend more time together. It’s clear they care romantically for each other, but, for now, they have a strong friendship where they know they can trust each other and they look out for each other. It’s very sweet, and I look forward to both seeing their relationship bloom and get this book kicked off this list.
The Archive of the Forgotten by A.J. Hackwith
Claire, Brevity, Hero, and Rami are truly an odd group of friends in so many ways. One is dead, one is a muse, one is a book character, and one is fallen angel. Their relationship was quite, um, antagonistic, among other things, in the first book. But I adored watching their relationships and friendships deepen in this second book of the Hell’s Library series. While not as fast paced as the first book, I loved getting to slow down and watch their characters and relationships develop. The friendship they’ve found themselves with by the end of the book is truly a beautiful thing.
The Mask of Mirrors by M.A. Carrick
Another recent read, it holds so many threads. So. Many. This book is dense and complex and, honestly, I gave up trying to figure the world out while reading the first half (seriously, the second half is amazing if you can get there). But Ren has two amazing childhood friends, Tess and Sledge. While their friendship isn’t at the heart of the story, it was heartening to read and is one thing that has really stuck with me. With so much going on around them, they always manage to look out for each other. The small glances we get into the friendship is as precious as a diamond and speak volumes about who each of them is.
Honey Girl by Morgan Rogers
I’m skirting around my boundaries for this one, but I love, love, love Grace’s friends. Yes, there was some romantic stuff going around, but, as it pertains to Grace, it was all before the book. Ximena, Agnes, Meera, and Raj (and then Grace’s wife’s wacky assortment of roommates) are all amazing friends. They’re all dealing with their own stuff, but they really do care about each other and stick with each other, though the hard things and the easy things. Their friendships are strong and beautiful, and really help form the bedrock of Grace’s life. Who wouldn’t want that kind of solid friendship in their life?
Note: This book is not set to be published until February 23, 2021
So, those are some of my favorite literary friendships. What are yours?