Top Ten Books That Would Be On My Syllabus if I Taught Friendship in YA 101

top ten tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. Every week, they post a new Top Ten topic and other bloggers respond with their own lists. 

Best friend characters. They can so often be overlooked, but when they are done right, they can take a book from being “okay” to being amazing. This class would (if it actually existed) highlight the importance of having more than just enemies and love interests in YA books.

1. Beauty Queens by Libba Bray

cover beauty queens

What I like about this book is that there are enough characters that the friendships that develop feel natural. Not all of the characters are on good terms with each other, and cliques form within the group of stranded beauty queens. I love that the friendships that do form feel real, but also that the dynamic between the characters is more complex than “everybody loves each other.”

2. I’d Tell You I Love You But Then I’d Have to Kill You (The Gallagher Girls #1) by Ally Carter

cover gg 1

The friendship in these books is what makes them my ultimate “feel good” series. The four girls honestly stand by each other during their struggles, and they can always make me laugh.

3. Heist Society (Heist Soceity #1) by Ally Carter

cover heist society

Ally Carter creates amazing friend groups. Heist Society showcases a group of friends with more realistic conflicts, and that isn’t exclusively female.

4. A Great and Terrible Beauty (Gemma Doyle #1) by Libba Bray

cover great and terrible beauty

I love this book (and this series) because I was never completely convinced that the friend group was healthy for the main character, Gemma. The personalities Bray created are vivid and powerful, and putting them all together creates intricate conflicts; I would love to discuss it with a group of students.

5. Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson

cover since youve been gone

This book is a wonderful example of a classically YA plot that is driven by friendship instead of romance. Though it has the same tone and playful lightness as YA contemporary romances, and though it does have a love interest and a romantic subplot, the main story line involves the effects a friendship can have on our lives–even if the friend is no longer there.

6. Vampire Academy (VA #1) by Richelle Mead

cover VA

Another solidly YA book (this time paranormal) that has a strong romantic plot line but that also discusses friendship’s intricacies. Rose and Lissa’s friendship was a major force driving the series’ plot; even when both characters got romantic partners, the friendship element of the story never vanished.

7. The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants (Travelling Pants #1) by Ann Brashares

cover sisterhood of the travelling pants

Need I say more? These are the ultimate friendship books. I read them a long time ago, but I’ll always remember them as books that immortalized friendship while realistically depicting coming-and-going romances.

8. The Raven Boys (Raven Cycle #1) by Maggie Stiefvater

cove raven boys

I love the Raven Boys’ relationship with Blue. For all of the conflicts captured within the group, they are still one of the tightest and most complex friend groups that I’ve ever read about, and I can honestly say that they are #friendshipgoals (I can’t believe I just typed that).

9. The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahedieh

cover the wrath and the dawn

I would include this book to showcase the importance of friendships in books. I LOVED the romance in this book, but the lack of backstory surrounding Shazi’s best friend (that Khalid killed) seriously hurt the book. (I elaborated more on this in my review.)

10. Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

cover code name verity

And we would finish the semester with this book because OF COURSE. I haven’t read a more friendship-oriented book, or a book that played with (read: ripped out) my heartstrings as much as this book. If you haven’t read this book yet, stop what you are doing and go read it. Do it.

(you’re not doing it… :/ )

Would you take this class? What class would you design? 

Happy Tuesday!

11 thoughts on “Top Ten Books That Would Be On My Syllabus if I Taught Friendship in YA 101

  1. I love your topic this week! AS soon as i saw it I wondered if Raven Boys would be on the list, and sure enough it is. Thats one of the first ones I think of for books heavy on friendship. great list 🙂


    • I love this topic because it gave me a chance to showcase books that I don’t talk about as often. Friendships add so much to a story, but so often they are sacrificed for the sake of drama and romance.


  2. As soon as I saw your topic, I knew Code Name Verity had to be included! I love books that have a strong friendship theme in them because let’s face it, friends help us get through so much in our lives. I would add My Most Excellent Year by Steve Kluger, Saving Francesca and The Piper’s Son by Melina Marchetta, and Open Road Summer by Emery Lord.

    Liked by 1 person

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