Friendship in YA (#1)

March 25, 2019

Most YA books I’ve read have one thing in common : romance. And I’m not fundamentally against reading about romance in YA. Romance is great and I would be lying if I were to say I hate reading about romance. I don’t. I’m a ride or die, will-go-head-over-heels for my OTP, will scream when they finally kiss and probably cry a lot along the way type of reader. 

However, I find that as I grow older, I’m tired of romance. I’m not speaking about romance as a genre but romance in Young Adult novels because guess what ? Romance isn’t the center of everybody’s lives. It’s not what we all aspire to have and our existence don’t revolve solely around that. I want to read more books centered around friendship and I’m sure they exist somewhere. I wish that YA books about friendship were as advertised as the romance you can find in YA. 

💎Friendship is important in YA because it’s important in real life💎

Friendship is in my opinion one of the most sacred and important things in life. Friends get you through the hard times and enjoy the good times with you. They’ll stick with you your entire life. If you’re blessed to find a friend, no excuse me, A Friend, or maybe Several Friends, you’ll quickly find out they’re the most important person in your life. Friends, and I mean True Friends, Your Ride-Or-Dies, the ones you know/feel in your heart will stick by you no matter what, no matter who you choose to become, or who you are, they are I M P O R T A N T.

Unfortunately friendship isn’t a predominant theme in YA. It sure is more than it used to be but it still feels like it’s not enough.

I’m not making this post with the sole purpose of complaining : I know it’s also up to me as a reader to find these books.

I haven’t read all the books in the world and I haven’t read all the YA novels either so I might just need to read more and then come back to this discussion. As of now, the only books I’ve read “centered” around friendship are the Raven Boys or Harry Potter (see my GR shelf where there are 29 books that I noted as “friendships”).

💎And here’s the other thing : books don’t need to revolve around friendship💎

You might be thinking “What the hell is she complaining about? She’s not making any sense” (maybe you’re not thinking that at all) but hear me out please. What would be nice is to read more about developed friendships, that feel real (as real as romantic relationships feel when you read about them). For example, Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom have actual friendships and friendship arcs where the characters care about each other and grow fond of each other (don’t tell me Kaz and Jesper are not friends). I’m so tired of reading books where a so-called “friend” is thrown in there but they’re just your token friend, the one put there to make it feel like the MC has friends. 

What do you think about the depiction of friendship in YA ? Any books I should know of ? Leave a comment below ! 

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  • Reply Tashfa Zafar March 25, 2019 at 4:55 pm

    This is such a great article! It feels so good to see genuine friendships in fiction. Yesss, Six of Crows actually has some amazing non-romantic relationships which are so refreshing to read about!!!! Honestly, I think that romance is good too but nothing can match those feels that a good fictional friendship can make me feel. Also, I really think we need more female friendships in fiction like those in Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Six of Crows, Harry Potter etc. because they’re soooooo important!!!!!! ☺

    • Reply Noa March 25, 2019 at 5:11 pm

      Thank you so much ☺️ Yesss I absolutely agree with you ! And you’re right, we need more female friendships in fiction, they’re so nice to read about ! (B99 yesss ! Is there gonna be a day where I don’t gush about this show ? Probably not haha)

  • Reply Laura Herondale March 25, 2019 at 5:58 pm

    Omg yes, I completely agree! I mean, I love romance in books as much as the next YA reader, and would give my left kidney to see my ships sail, but just because I like to see the development of romantic relationships in the books I read, doesn’t mean I want romantic relationships to be the ONLY relationships developed in a story. I feel like familial, and especially platonic, relationships are kind of pushed aside to make room for the romance, but for a lot of people, including myself, romantic relationships aren’t a priority. You’re so right when you say that there are so many books where a friend is just thrown in there to make it seem like the protagonist has friends, and I really wish that authors would realise that we can tell when a friendship is underdeveloped and it takes away from the whole story. So many teenagers’ lives are shaped by their friendships in high school, and I just wish that that was reflected more in YA. Especially because books with strong friendships, like The Raven Boys and Six of Crows, are some of my favourites. I genuinely spent 10 minutes just now looking through my goodreads trying to find some books with great friendships to recommend to you, but I just couldn’t find any aside from those you already mentioned. And I really think that that’s a problem. Because romance isn’t the most important aspect of most people’s lives, but in books, it seems like it is, and that can make already vulnerable and insecure teenagers feel worse about themselves just because they’ve never had a romantic relationship. I just feel like healthy and strong friendships should have a bigger role in books and stories, because those are the kinds of relationships most people are going to be able to relate to.

    • Reply Noa March 25, 2019 at 6:14 pm

      Absolutely ! A thousand times yes ! I feel like personally, my life has been shaped by my friendships and my family and that’s why I care about seeing this in YA so much. What you said about the predominance of romance in YA make teens vulnerable and insecure is incredibly true. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking something was somehow “wrong” with me for not having a boyfriend or an exciting love life haha. NOTHING IS WRONG PEOPLE. And friendship is so FREAKING nice to read about.

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