7 Books Showing that Opposing Genders Can Be Great Friends

Men and women can totally be friends, and here are strong friendships that prove it.

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From left to right: 'Fire,' 'Divergent,' and 'Percy Jackson: The Lightning Thief' book covers.

The saying “men and women can’t be friends” is, simply, stupid. Lots of people, real and fictional, have friends of different genders. Books include more diverse friendships, and it’s great to see it. (More would be nice, but, well, we take what we can get.) Here are some examples.

Mary and Colin from The Secret Garden

Mary and Dickon standing behind Colin sitting in his chair outside
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These cousins brought out the best in each other. Mary helped Colin to get better, both physically and as a person, and he was one of the first friends Mary had, besides Martha and Dickon. Finding out they were cousins, when they both had practically no family, formed that close bond because they could rely on each other. Mary and Colin spent all their time together, supporting each other and exploring the world around them.

Annabeth and Grove from Percy Jackson

'Percy Jackson: The Lightning Thief' by Rick Riordan book cover showing the Empire State Building, a helmet, a lightning bolt, and a trident.
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They first met when Grover was assigned to escort Annabeth, Thalia, and Luke to Camp Half-Blood. Their friendship developed from there, and even when she was no longer her charge, they stayed close. We don’t see much of their friendship before the first book, but they work together well from the start, and they also share a desire to protect Percy — for different reasons, but still. Their shared goal brings them closer, and they’re often seen talking together, teasing in a way that only friends can.

Arsinoe and Joseph from Three Dark Crowns

'Three Dark Crowns' by Kendare Blake book cover showing three crowns against a black background.
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Arsinoe and Joseph became friends after she was brought to Wolf Spring as a kid. They support each other, such as when Joseph and Jules, Joesph’s later girlfriend and Arsinoe’s best friend, tried to help Arsinoe escape. It failed, and Joseph was sent away, leaving Arsinoe feeling incredibly guilty. When he comes back, they fall back into a teasing, but loving, friendship that feels so genuine it’s practically jumping off the pages.

Tris and Uriah from Divergent

'Divergent' by Veronica Roth book cover showing part of Chicago and fire in the vague shape of an eye.
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Uriah was the first Dauntless-born person Tris befriended. They became fast friends after the capture the flag game, especially after he invited her to a Dauntless initiation ritual. They both being pure Dauntless at heart certainly helps, and they know how to work together effectively. He remained friendly to her even when she was branded a traitor. Had they both survived by the end of the series, they would have likely had a long, wonderful friendship.

Leslie and Jesse from Bridge to Terabithia

Jesse and Leslie talking in a school hallway.
IMAGE VIA DISNEY+

This short friendship may have ended in tragedy, but the two were very close when Leslie was alive. Jesse was the only friend she ever had, and she was one of the first to praise his drawing skills, as well as to encourage his imagination with their kingdom of Terabithia. They played together every day after school, and they stood up for each other against bullies. While there are hints that Leslie had a crush on Jesse, their relationship firmly stayed as friends.

Katniss and Finnick from The Hunger Games

Finnick looking at Katniss with concern.
IMAGE VIA ROKU

They initially became allies to survive, but their alliance turned to friendship in Mockingjay. Part of that reason is that they were in similar situations; their loved ones were held captive by the Capitol. But they also shared goals, and their personalities — once Finnick stopped shamelessly flirting with her as a front — meshed well. They’re both survivors who do what they can for those they care about, including each other.

Fire and Prince Galen from Fire

'Fire' by Kristin Cashore book cover showing a castle surrounded by pink fire that creates a silhouette of a woman, and arrows.
IMAGE VIA BOOKSHOP.ORG

While these two had a rocky start, they became friends relatively quickly. Garan didn’t trust her because of her father, Cansrel, and because she was a human monster who could easily enter other people’s minds. But he came to trust her, and they worked together to protect Fire from others who would try to kill or kidnap her for being a human monster, as well as to protect the land of the Dells. They get along surprisingly well, and their friendship is one full of sarcasm and snark.

Hopefully, many more books will include strong friendships between different genders.


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