I’m tired of books that portray female relationships purely as competition (especially when their interactions are about vying over a boy’s attention), or two-dimensional placeholders to justify the protagonist’s I’m not like other girls! mentality, or even the absence of female friendships.
I love seeing positive female friendships in my books, and I want to see even more of them. Today, I want to share with you some wonderful books that have fantastic female friendships. Usually when I do book recommendations, I like to lay out criteria for the books I recommend.
- The friendship is built on mutual love, trust, support, and empowerment
- The relationship is platonic
- The relationship is not formed or developed because of a (male) love interest
1. MAYBE IN ANOTHER LIFE BY TAYLOR JENKINS REID
Reid’s protagonists and their female friendships always have a presence, but my favourite friendship is between Hannah and Gabby.
- Hannah and Gabby have been best friends for years who help and support each other through the ups and downs of their lives.
- Though Hannah is the main character, the pair help each other equally. There is a disparity in what characters do and help each other in books (more often than not, the side characters help the protagonist), but the story of Maybe gives Hannah an active role of being there for Gabby and help her weather through the bumps in her life.
- Hannah and Gabby’s friendship shows the importance of friendship and how they can be our anchor in good and bad times.
2. THE FORBIDDEN WISH BY JESSICA KHOURY
Though the friendship between Zahra and the mysterious ‘Habiba’ (her identity revealed later in the story) is one that is seen mostly through Zahra’s narration and flashbacks, it is one of my favourites.
- Zahra and Habiba share a magical connection – one that is magical, powerful, and unique – that transcends corporeal existence.
- Both Zahra and Habiba are powerful and strong women, and their friendship was one of mutual empowerment, exchanges of wisdom, and the utmost trust and love for one another.
- Through Zahra’s bittersweet narration, we see how important Habiba is to her – how Habiba’s wisdom and friendship inspires Zahra and gives her strength.
3. NOT IF I SEE YOU FIRST BY ERIC LINDSTROM
I remember reading this book, and feeling heartache because I adored Parker’s friends – Sarah, Faith, and Molly – and wished I had more friends like hers.
- Parker’s friendships with her close-knit friends are the true highlight of the novel; they are all complex, deep, and so, so meaningful.
- The friendships between Parker and her friends are incredibly realistic too – the girls misunderstand and miscommunicate sometimes, it can be messy, but they love and care each other so deeply that they work through their problems together.
- Parker and her friends show that you can have completely different personalities but can still be close friends who love, care, and trust one another.
Find Not If You See Me First on Goodreads.
4. TO ALL THE BOYS I’VE LOVED BEFORE BY JENNY HAN
The sister-friendships between Lara Jean and her sisters, Kitty and Margot, remind me so much of the relationship I have with my own sister.
- Lara Jean’s sisters mean the world to her; even though they fight and drive each other up the wall, at the end of the day they’ll forgive each other and make amends.
- They do the small, little things that sisters do – they have pet names for each other, they embarrass each other, and they show their love through action rather than words.
- Lara Jean gets the best of both worlds of being a middle sister – she adores her little sister, Kitty, and feels a sense of duty to look after her, and she also has her big sister Margo, who she looks up to and loves.
Even though I love all the books I’ve recommended above, I think I’ll forever be on the search for good books with amazing female friendships. I think for something so powerful, wonderful, inspiring, and empowering, we need more books with simple to complex female friendships.
- What are some of your favourite books that had a memorable or amazing female friendship?
- I talk a great deal about female friendships, but what about male friendships? What was a good book that had a positive male friendship?
- What do you think makes a friendship well-written?
Thank you for stopping by! If you have any thoughts, comments, or book recommendations, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below!
Next month, I’ll be recommending my top four #OwnVoices books of 2016 – I’m really looking forward to sharing that post. Until then, have a wonderful day!