The BFF Book Tag

Thank you soooo much to Kirstie Ellen @ Upside-Down Books for tagging me! If you guys don’t follow her, you should totally go check her out! She has great posts and it a really funny and sweet blogger.

Setting the Example: A Pair/Group of Book BFFs That You Love

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Everyone from Beauty Queens! At the beginning, they all hate each other, but by the end, they are one of the tightest, sweetest friend groups ever.

Childhood Bestie: Which Book Character Would You Have Liked to Grow Up With?

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I think growing up with Blue from the Raven Cycle would be amazing. She is so down-to-earth and complex and cool—and I’d get to hang out with all of her aunts cooking sweets all the time.

Frenemy: Which Book Character Would Bring out Your Competitive Side?

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Felicity from the Gemma Doyle series! She is really frustrating through the entire series, always drawing you in and then doing something awful. I know that if I knew her in real life, she would definitely be my frenemy.

Fashion Guru: Who Would Be the Bestie Whose Closet You’d Want to Raid or You Would Want to Go On a Shopping Spree With?

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Macey McHenry from the Gallagher Girls series (once she’s had a chance to stop being an awful person) would be the best friend to have in a fashion emergency. I’d definitely raid her closet, and I’d die to go shopping with her.

The Bad Influence: Which Character Would You Want to Commit a Small Act of Rebellion With?

Either Vin (from Mistborn) or Katsa (from Graceling) would be awesome partners in crime. Both of them are badass, but have strong moral compasses, so our act of rebellion wouldn’t get too crazy.

Blood Brothers: Which Character Would You Want to Be Your Surrogate Big Brother/Sister?

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Puck from The Scorpio Races! She’s so honest and protective—I think she’d make an awesome sibling.

Mother Hen: Which Character Would You Want to  Be By Your Side When You’re Having a Bad Day to Cheer You Up?

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I would want Adina from Beauty Queens to help cheer me up, because she would go straight to insulting the people who made me feel bad and her sass would make me feel better.

The Counselor: Which Character Would You Go to For Relationship Advice or Confide a Secret To?

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Cammie from the Gallagher Girls series because she is the ultimate best friend. I feel like I could tell her anything, and if I needed a problem fixed, it doesn’t hurt that she’s a badass spy and could definitely make that happen for me.

More Than Friends: Who Would Be Your Book Boyfriend/Girlfriend?

Gansey! (and so many, many more)

I tag:

Sophie @ Sophie the Bookworm

Claire @ BlankSlaters Reads

Luucy @ Making Days Better

If you’ve already been tagged, you don’t have to do it again!

Who are your favorite book BFFs? Have you read any of the books on my list? 

Poetry: Come Back

You were intriguing

You were different

You smiled without


Talked without


Laughed without


You were quiet

But confident


And I knew that it could

That it would

Fall apart—

In some way,

This was inevitable—


But I thought you’d come back

With arrogant shoulders

Or snarky lips

Or a laugh that reeked

With the stench of pride


I never imagined

That you’d come back

And still be so far away


It never occurred to me

That you could come back


The Importance of Platonic Relationships

So for the day before Valentine’s Day, I thought it would be interesting to talk about the importance of platonic (instead of romantic) relationships in YA books.

A cornerstone of the YA genre is romance—and I’m fine with that. I love that actually. I love watching pairs of characters go from friends to significant others (or from enemies to SOs…;) ). If I didn’t want to read romance-centered books, I’d probably read a different genre, but YA is my love—which means I’ve signed up for a lot of romance.

But just because a story contains romance doesn’t mean that friendships should be neglected.

I know, I know. That statement isn’t anything new; it’s barely even worth writing. Of course, we all know that friendships help round out series. Basically every book has some kind of “best friend” character to fill this role.

But these best friend characters are often underdeveloped and underutilized. They exist to support the main character, to help the main character achieve their goals, and to create some minor conflicts throughout the book or series. But they couldn’t stand on their own. We don’t really know anything about them besides how they relate to the main character.

Sometimes, of course, these friendships are the BEST—they’re the thing that makes the book come alive for the reader.

awesome friendships pic

And often, we only see friendships with people who are the same gender as the main character. A girl main character will have a male love interest and a female best friend. If another male character is presented, he’s probably a love interest, at least for a bit, before he becomes her friend.

Again, I’m fine with reading books that have this set-up. They’re simple and easy to read and they’ll probably put a smile on my face. But I want more.

I want to see girls have friendships with guys that never dabble in romance. And not because one of them is gay. And not because the guy is “in the friendzone” (ugh I’m puking just writing that disgusting phrase). Not because of unrequited love or because an SO is standing between them.

Because they’re—wait for it—friends.

awesome mf friendships pic

In pop culture today (and basically forever) there is the prevalent idea that “girls and guys can’t just be friends.” There are a lot of problems with this narrative. It promotes a hetero-normative world view by presenting guy-guy and girl-girl relationships and friendships and guy-girl ones as romance. It implies that any girl who crosses the invisible boundary must be a tomboy (and she probably plays sports) because why else would a girl hang out with guys? It suggests that any guy that hangs out with girls (probably in some kind of artsy setting) is gay, because apparently it isn’t “masculine” to be able to talk to girls without flirting.

But most of all, it means that teenagers today have virtually nowhere to look when searching for examples of how to form friendships with other genders.

I’ll be honest—I don’t have very many guy friends. The ones I do have, I’m not very close with. We’ve had classes together for long enough that we’ll hang out at lunch, crack jokes with (and at) each other, and we do the same extracurriculars. We don’t talk about our lives beyond how much homework we have and how little sleep we’ve gotten.

And that kind of sucks. I know that a lot of the reason I don’t have more male friends is my own personality. I’m shy, and I find it about 12,000 times easier to talk to girls than guys. But when I really stop and think about why that is, I realize that the “guys won’t be your friends, just your SO’s” narrative is a big part of it.

When I’m talking to a girl, I feel comfortable seguing from random schoolwork into more meaningful conversations. But when I’m talking to a guy, there’s always a voice in the back of my head, wondering if something I said sounded like flirting (and hoping it didn’t, for the most part), if they’re flirting, if I like them, if they like me….

You get the picture. And it’s a picture I hate.

I’m not saying that I’d be a stunning conversationalist if I’d read more books that showcased male-female friendships. Let’s be honest, I’d still be me. But I’m tired of having that voice in my head reinforced by the thoughts and actions of characters in the books I read.

Again—I love reading romances. I’m not condemning the giggly, accidentally flirtatious trope—I love that trope. But could we have another, platonic character set-up? One that appears often enough to become it’s own trope? Pretty please?

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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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!

Poetry: You Never Left

We have not talked

Since June

We have not had a conversation

Since May

I have not known you

Since last September

The last time we were best friends

It was this time, last year


And yet

You’re still all over my life

Your contact case still in my bathroom

Holes in my bookshelf

Still holding spots in line

For the books you borrowed

That post-it note

Still stuck to our fridge

Birthday cards on my desk

Still wishing for forever

Photos on my phone

That I can’t seem to delete

And all those stupid, perfect memories

Still in my head


You’re gone

But you never really left.

Poetry: Little Echoes

I know it was not

The places we went together

Or the things we did together

Or the late nights spent talking

Or the random days spent doing nothing

That broke us

And left us strangers


But I’m walking the same road

We walked

Now with someone else

And I tell myself,

“This one is forever.

Even you can’t mess this up.”

But I hear those little echoes

And the fear, it sets back in

Because I said the same thing

About you

And look how wrong I was.

Book Review: Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson

I picked up this book because it had been on my radar for a while and I was in the mood for contemporary romance and I found myself in a bookstore. I did not expect it to affect me as much as it did.

4.5/5 stars

cover since youve been gone

Amazon description

Before Sloane, Emily didn’t go to parties, she barely talked to guys, and she didn’t do anything crazy. Enter Sloane, social tornado and the best kind of best friend—someone who yanks you out of your shell.

But right before what should have been an epic summer, Sloane just…disappears. There’s just a random to-do list with thirteen bizarre tasks that Emily would never try. But what if they can lead her to Sloane?

Apple picking at night? Okay, easy enough.

Dance until dawn? Sure. Why not?

Kiss a stranger? Wait…what?

Getting through Sloane’s list will mean a lot of firsts, and with a whole summer ahead of her—and with the unexpected help of the handsome Frank Porter—who knows what she’ll find.

Go Skinny Dipping? Um…

My Review

This book was great. I love the premise, especially because the “you” that is missing isn’t a guy. I liked that so much of the book was driven by friendship–even the romance. The strong friendship theme helped to keep Since You’ve Been Gone from falling flat as a cliche contemporary romance–which it could have been, if the only plot line running was the romantic one.

Emily was the perfect protagonist for the story. She was a naturally introverted person who had been pulled out of her shell by the extremely extroverted Sloane. When Sloane disappeared, she reverted back to her awkward, unsocial self. I could easily relate to Emily, and I found the things that Sloane’s list pushed her to do sort of inspired me. I appreciated that though Sloane’s list pushed Emily out of her comfort zone, Emily’s character never fundamentally changed. If she had suddenly become an extrovert, it would have made the book feel fake. Instead, it felt real, as Emily pushed herself to take chances and live a little without losing her personality.

I liked the way the list played out. Each chapter was titled with whatever item on the list would be completed in those pages, but often the title did not match the item Emily was planning to cross off. The fact that plans went wrong and randomly helpful events that occurred instead added to the sense that this book could actually happen. I also liked the things Sloane chose for the list; they were random and embarrassing enough to push Emily out of her comfort zone, but there were also ones that were personally tailored for them and that tied into the friendship. The inside joke nature of these dares made me appreciate Sloane and Emily’s friendship more.

The book starts with Sloane already gone, so the only glimpses the reader gets into their relationship is through flashbacks. The long flashback scenes the author included were as full of life and energy as the others, but they did not clearly tie in to the scene that was happening around the flashbacks. I would have appreciated it more if the flashbacks clearly echoed or tied in to what was happening in the “actual” story. That could have made what was a fairly well written book into something really special.

Ahh, but the romance. I loved it. It did not dominate the plot, but it pushed it along. Emily and Frank genuinely started out as friends, and I liked that Frank had a girl friend when the book began. It sounds horrible, but it let Emily and Frank develop a friendship that felt real and solid before the signs started showing that they were developing feelings for each other. They were not the perfect OTP-type couple, but they felt honest and good for each other. Frank actually had a personality, and the relationship developed with just the right amount of drama. All in all, very well done.

I would recommend this book to anyone in the mood for a contemporary romance that pushes beyond the cliche boundaries. The plot is well-paced and entertaining. I loved the focus on friendship. And in the world of inspiring books, I think this one actually pushed me to try to do things that are outside my own comfort zone.

Poetry: Others Talk of Love Affairs

I talk of our friendship

The way others talk of love affairs:


The subtle start—

“Hello” and “Oh you too?”

Then smiles in crowds

And phone numbers exchanged

Inside jokes about


At all.


And a few glorious, burning

Summer months:

Late night phone calls

And café lunches

Secrets shared between the dark moments

Of midnight and 2 a.m.


And tragedy of course—

(Remember, this is a romance novel)

Just enough to keep us honest, on our toes

Left my phone’s volume on

At night

In case you called

In tears.


All of this story in past tense

“All good things,” they warned…

And they were right, as always


But I realize now

You closed the door

Cut yourself off

If the phone stops ringing, I’ll stop picking up


And no matter how long I stare at the door

Pace next to it

Pick the lock to pieces in my mind

Until I’ve gone insane with the realization:

I’m glad it’s closed

It doesn’t change the fact that

You ended things first

You closed the door

That I walk away from now


And I don’t know if I can

Ever forgive you.

Playing With Character Descriptions

I got the idea for this post joking around with one of my friends. She said, “You should write about me,” and I was like, “You know all my poetry is mopey and depressing, right?”

But then I got the idea of describing each of my friends the way I would in a book. I’m doing this anonymously, but if you know me in real life, try to guess who’s who. I’ve gotta say, they will probably be really obvious.

For the rest of you, I’d actually like constructive critiques. Describing characters the first time you meet them in a story is a mix of fun and impossible for me. I hate it in books when you read a laundry list of only physical descriptions or when the author reveals too much about the character’s inner emotions/psyche right away. Finding a balance is something I’m trying to work on.

Each “character” gets a mini scene. If I were writing it in a novel, this would probably be broken up with dialogue, but in this case it is condensed into one paragraph.

“Character” #1

She’s loud. Not just her voice, but the way she throws her arms up when she sees me, the brightness of her smile, the carefree neon of clothes, the way she stomps her foot and says “You know what–” Some days, she’s 50’s vintage with a modern flair, sometimes she’s homemade scarves in wacky colors. Earbuds filled with electric pop; she’s dances through life like nobody’s watching. Rapid fire text messages alternate between hot guys and fights with parents. To my quiet persona of t-shirts and textbooks, she is overwhelming and electrifying at the same time.

“Character ” #2

She takes literary analysis and makes it funny, she takes history class and makes it trendy. We’ve got inside jokes about Napoleon’s fashion sense and Steinbeck essay titles. She can pull off wearing a vintage, pleated skirt on a regular basis–classy and sassy. Her eyes sparkle and her whole body punctuates a conversation. Everything is important, everything matters.

“Character” #3

She’s popular without being bitchy. She wears Uggs and those white Converse with the red piping, leggings and loose, stylish sweaters, and she always worries about her ponytail having hair bumps–it never does. We tease her with stereotypes so shallow she could never condense her spirit enough to obey them. She’s a lovable person who thinks nobody likes her, she’s a genius who fears failure on every test. Her laugh is quiet but full. She is honesty, even if that means showing doubt and fear. She doesn’t realize how alive she is, how much that draws people to her without her even trying.

“Character” #4

We are friends who barely talk. Everyone calls her “quiet”–but we know better. Her voice is soft but her words are powerful, her body is tiny but her personality is fearsome. People who don’t know her forget her, people who know her can’t stop paying attention. She is the kind of girl guys fall for without realizing what they are getting into.

“Character” #5

In my mind, she is giggling. She does not cover her mouth or apologize–she laughs shamelessly. I’ve seen her throw her arms to the sky and curse with a smile on her face. She wears layers of clothing like the pages of a book; seeing her in shorts feels wrong. She is a child at heart who never gave up being a princess, but she’s learned how to flirt with her princes.

“Character” #6

Sometimes, weeks or months separate us, but when we see each other, we still click. There’s always the fear: has she changed onto someone who doesn’t like me? And though I’ve seen her as a picky toddler, a rebellious tomboy, an obsessed fangirl, and a confident teenager–she’s always been a friend. She is always in flux, the kind of girl who has the money and opportunity to be whoever suits her at the moment. She is at once ridiculously optimistic and painfully cynical. It would be easy to condense her to daddy issues and rich white people problems–but that would be an insult to the multitude of hopes and dreams within her, and the hopes and dreams she’s had crushed.

“Character” #7

She is quiet in the way that a lesser person would call mousy or timid. But watch her smile, or get her to talk about classical music or tell her that her brother is coming home for the weekend. Watch her walk home with her best friend. She is reckless in a fascinating way that contradicts her innocent countenance. She is kind, she is real, she has lived.

“Character” #8

She is memories, now. If I look at her today, she is not the girl I struck up a random conversation with one day. She is not the girl I laughed and cried with, broke rules and cursed priests with. That girl vanished somewhere along the way, and now all I have left is memories of the best friend I had and a girl standing in front of me who I wish would go away.

She is the kind of sadness I relegate to the land of poems.