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11 of the best YA books that are all about friendship

Reading a book about some (kinda unrealistic, slightly sloppy) romance is all very well and good, but IRL there’s nothing more important in the world than friendship.

So then why are some of us forever guilty of just reaching for the books that focus on people falling in lurve and living happily ever after, after a load of drama, rather than a story that celebrates the magic of BFFs? Good question.

A lot of YA fiction tends to focus on a love story but if you ask us, the idea of you and your best pal picking up the same amazing book with a story about two best friends within the pages sounds preeetty great.

So here’s a load of seriously good reads that focus on kickass, strong, realistic friendships, where the boys are way more than just the heartthrobs, and girls are way more than just the mean girls.

1. The Perks of Being A Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky 

“It’s much easier to not know things sometimes. Things change and friends leave. And life doesn’t stop for anybody.”

If you’re looking for a book that’s all sunshine and daisies, this is not the read for you – but if you’re looking for a book that shows friendship as it is in real life, get reading. Charlie is your wallflower, caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it; through first dates, family problems, and new friends.

Charlie finds himself battling some pretty dark moments and he might not have found his way out without his friends. On the other hand, some might say that Charlie wouldn’t have found himself there in the first place without them. The Perks Of Being A Wallflower shows friendship as it truly is; a rocky ride but ultimately the most uplifting, character-shaping and heartwarming part of life. Honestly, this book could change your life.

2. Angus, Thongs and Full Frontal Snogging by Louise Rennison

“Your soul shines through even if you haven’t got mascara on.”

Seriously, forget Taylor Swift and all her famous pals, the Ace Gang are the ultimate and original meaning of squad goals, and you will want to be best friends with Georgia Nicholson more than anything else in life after putting this one down.

The book (and following 10 books – TEN) follows her genuinely hilarious antics (you might actually, physically rofl) as she tries to overcome the dilemmas that are weighing up against her through teenage life. Such as: how to replace accidentally shaved-off eyebrows; her first kiss with Peter – also known as Whelk Boy; how to make Robbie The Sex God notice her; and of course, how to do it all with the help of her very best friends.

Sidenote: The film adaptation is also pretty brill if you’re looking for a good one to watch on your next sleepover.

3. Since You’ve Been Gone, by Morgan Matson

“Real friends are the ones you can count on no matter what. The ones who go into the forest to find you and bring you home. And real friends never have to tell you that they’re your friends.”

We’ve got to warn you, the chances of you falling in love with this book are preeetty high, because the two main characters are completely, utterly you and your best friend. It was Sloane who yanked Emily out of her shell and made life 100% more interesting. But right before what’s set to be an epic summer, Sloane just… disappears, leaving nothing behind but a to-do list.

On it, 13 Sloane-inspired tasks that Emily would normally never try. But what if they could bring her best friend back? It’s all about celebrating a strong female friendship between two girls who bring out the best in each other (yas), help each other find their confidence, and experience adventure together like nothing they could have imagined.

4. Will Grayson Will Grayson by John Green

“Being in a relationship, that’s something you choose. Being friends, that’s just something you are. [But] I do pick you. We’ve been friends too long to pick, but if we could pick, I’d pick you.”

BOY FRIENDSHIP, hoorah. It’s pretty rare in the world of YA fiction, but John Green totally celebrates it a lot in a number of his awesome books. In this one, Will Grayson meets Will Grayson. One cold night, two strangers are about to cross paths, and from that moment on, their worlds collide.

It’s a story that addresses the idea that maybe, friendship happens because of fate. Maybe it’s your destiny to meet your best friend and shape each other’s lives. Unlike a lot of young adult fiction, it throws romantic love away as something that’s fleeting, while showing that true friendship can last forever.

5. Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

“It’s like being in love, discovering your best friend.”

Isn’t that just basically the best, most uplifting, non-cheesy girl power quote you’ve ever heard? Maddie and Queenie could not be more different, but the Second World War sees them thrown together. With one working as a Northern pilot, and the other as a spy, the book sees the birth of a fierce and loyal friendship even in the hardest of times.

Their friendship is the stuff that dreams are made of and, because it’s written from both characters’ perspectives, you’ll feel intensely like you’re right there alongside them. Just don’t mention the ending, because we haven’t quite got over that one yet. Sob.

6. Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

“True friends are always together in spirit.”

Yeah we know… eye roll. But there’s a reason this one’s a classic, so try not to switch off just because it seems kinda twee and boring at first glance. Anne and Diana are one of the ultimate female friendships in the history of all books ever, and the journey they experience together is actually quite touching.

When Anne arrives at Green Gables, she doesn’t have a single loved one left – family or friend. But as soon as she’s introduced to Diana, she decides they’re kindred spirits and bosom friends. They’re inseparable from then on, and the antics they get up to together make for a pretty wonderful story. Oh and there’s a new adaptation coming to Netflix this month, so read it just in time for a massive Anne revival.

7. The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants by Ann Brashares

“True friends are always together in spirit.”

Yeah we know… eye roll. But there’s a reason this one’s a classic, so try not to switch off just because it seems kinda twee and boring at first glance. Anne and Diana are one of the ultimate female friendships in the history of all books ever, and the journey they experience together is actually quite touching.

When Anne arrives at Green Gables, she doesn’t have a single loved one left – family or friend. But as soon as she’s introduced to Diana, she decides they’re kindred spirits and bosom friends. They’re inseparable from then on, and the antics they get up to together make for a pretty wonderful story. Oh and there’s a new adaptation coming to Netflix this month, so read it just in time for a massive Anne revival.

8. Holes by Louis Sachar

“Now you be careful in the real world. Not everyone is as nice as us.”

This is not your average, girly YA book. Stanley Yelnats is under a curse, and it’s resulted in him being sent to a boys’ detention center, where the boys build character by spending all day, every day digging holes exactly five feet wide and five feet deep. But what could be buried under a dried-up lake? It’s time to dig up the truth.

Maybe not the MOST obvious choice of story when celebrating all things friendship, but the gang of boys that Stanley finds himself a part of at Camp Green Lake turn out to be pretty important to his life, and his bond with Zero is undeniably lovely.

9. Just As Long As We’re Together by Judy Blume

“I tried to calm Rachel down by offering her a chocolate chip cookie from my lunch bag. She nibbled at it, then handed it back to me. No point in wasting it, so I finished it myself.”

Judy Blume is pretty old school (seriously, your mum might have read her when she was a teenager), but although her books were written back in the 80s, the themes and stories are probably more relatable than ever. Rachel is Stephanie’s best friend, and that just goes without saying. Since second grade, they’ve shared all their secrets – good and bad.

But now, in seventh grade, new girl Alison moves into the neighbourhood and Stephanie’s keen for all three of them to become a squad. But it looks as though in reality, two’s company and three’s a crowd. We’ve ALL been there. Can the girls’ friendship survive through big changes?

10. Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon

“Everything’s a risk. Not doing anything is a risk. It’s up to you.”

When it’s worthy of the Zoella Book Club AND a monthly favourites video on her YouTube channel, you know it’s got to be a good’un. Maddy is allergic to the world; stepping outside the sterile sanctuary of her home could literally kill her. But then Olly moves in next door, and Maddy realises there might be more to life than just existing.

It’s a touching story of friendship, love (alright, there is a liiitle bit of romance thrown into this one – but it’s non-cheesy romance) and a journey of important self-discovery. If you’ve ever had a pal who’s encouraged you to do things you never thought you could, this one’s for you two.

11. Remix by Non Pratt

“Friendship isn’t something that’s supposed to be perfect because people aren’t perfect. People will lie, they will cheat and they will let you down. Friendship is what picks you up.”

Non Pratt’s cooler-than-cool story of Kaz and Ruby is set at a musical festival, and shows how friends can a) cause the biggest dramas you’ll ever face, but also b) be your greatest support when the drama does kick off. It’s real, and you’ll almost definitely relate.

It’s a fairly simple story. Kaz is faced with the sudden break up of her last relationship. She’d always thought Tom was the love of her life, but Ruby, Kaz’s best mate, is quite frankly sick of hearing about him. To take her mind off it, Ruby organises for them to head to the festival together. It’s three days, two best mates, one good time – but is there any chance of things going smoothly?

@LucyJaneWood

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