Today is National Best Friends Day, and there are all sorts of fun ways to celebrate with a life partner: watching a movie together at home, painting the town red, exchanging scrapbooks… but what about friendships that exist on the page? At Bookstr, we believe fictional friendships deserve to be celebrated as well (and totally not because we wish the characters existed in real life). Here are some of our personal favorites, with the warning that spoilers lie ahead—after all, best friends stick with each other through thick and thin.
Max and Kevin (Freak the Mighty)
McKenna Hendricks, Editorial
I don’t normally get emotional over books typically, but I was unbelievably attached to these characters throughout the novel. Max, a huge, strong but mentally delayed 12-year-old creates an unlikely friendship with Kevin, a genius who unfortunately is physically unwell from a heart disorder which stymies his growth. I am a sucker for the “you complete me” trope, and these two definitely fit it. Max makes Kevin feel powerful and gives him the range of motion he lacks due to his crippled body, while Kevin teaches Max to read and shows him learning isn’t as hard as it seems. Their friendship is just so wholesome and heartwarming that it has to be my favorite.
Jesper and Inej (Six of Crows)
Griffyn Tijamo, Graphics
There’s something particularly comforting and wholesome about the found family trope, especially among young adult characters. Leigh Bardugo’s Crows from the Six of Crows duology is one of the best examples of a group of people who are so vastly different from each other, yet find themselves completely bonded by their experiences. Six of Crows is a YA novel set in Bardugo’s Grishaverse and features a gang of six young people brought together for a (seemingly impossible) heist. Though any pairing from the six delivers unforgettable moments—big or small, platonic or romantic—my favorite pairing is Jesper, the group’s witty sharpshooter, and Inej, their quiet and acrobatic spy. I adore their character dynamic, from their shared bond with Kaz, the group’s leader, to their banter. It’s been even more rewarding seeing their characters adapted in the Netflix series, their respective actors embodying their friendship perfectly.
Anthony and Simon (Bridgerton)
Gracie Lambright, Editorial
Why not? Let’s be honest, Anthony and Simon were the best of friends until Simon, like, betrayed Anthony’s sister’s virtue… but, I mean, I’d overlook it. It doesn’t matter, though, because they worked things out in the end, even if they were planning on dueling each other, which is illegal? I just like the back-and-forth bickering, and let’s be honest, that banter is hilarious. I can definitively state that I liked Anthony better in his own book rather than when he was butting in on Simon and Daphne’s relationship. However, I do love a bit of that older brother protective nature thing, it’s kind of adorable. My favorite thing about this trope is that the older brother always comes around and sees that his younger sibling is happy with their best friend, so they stop making such a fuss. Anthony and Simon will always be top-tier for me.
Joanne Chung, Editorial
Yorozuya is an odd jobs business run by the deadbeat samurai Gintoki, the glasses-wearing straight man Shinpachi, and the superhuman 14-year-old Kagura. And they bicker, a lot. They nag each other, poke fun at each other, and generally get on each other’s nerves. But when it comes down to it, they are willing to risk their lives for each other. It’s a friendship that shouldn’t work, but does. The three of them all have such strong personalities, and they make no effort to hold back whatsoever, making their interactions both hilarious and moving in their authenticity. They bring out the worst in each other, but they also bring out the best.
The Marauders (Harry Potter)
Veronica Vintilla, Graphics
Not much about the Marauders is canon (see Gracie’s article about Wizarding World fanfics), but what we do know is that they were a close group of friends who would have done anything for each other. They were good-natured troublemakers who went to Hogwarts in the 1970s and created the Marauders Map, which helped Harry out a lot in his time at Hogwarts. The group was made up of James Potter, Sirius Black, Remus Lupin, and Peter Pettigrew. They were such good friends that James, Sirius, and Peter became illegal Animagi at the age of 15 to help Remus go through his transformations as a werewolf each month during the full moon. Sirius Black said that he would have rather died than have betrayed his friends, and granted, he did spend twelve years in prison because of them.
The Bat Boys (A Court of Thorns and Roses)
Raine Harris, Graphics
Rhysand, Cassian, and Azriel are practically brothers, each one bringing something different to their friendship and all willing to die for each other. These friends are a part of the Inner Circle of Velaris, a group of individuals within the Court of Dreams of the Night Court. They are each other’s created family, and while their loyalty to one another is heartwarming, they are also hilarious and never fail to make me laugh. Although the entire Inner Circle from the Night Court exemplifies true friendship, the Bat Boys’ bonds to one another run so deep due to them being raised, trained, and almost killed together.
Elle and Tao (Heartstopper)
Lexi Dockery, Editorial
Although their relationship is not explored in-depth in the graphic novel as it is in the series, Elle and Tao have come to become one of my favorite friendships. Out of their entire growing friend group, they have a unique bond that sets them apart. In the series, we see the mutual care they have for each other. Tao still buys her juice even though she’s transferred schools, constantly checks up on her, and knows that they can always come to each other with personal problems. Elle, on the other hand, is Tao’s voice of reason who not only listens to his problems, but steers him in the right direction by giving him some perspective. Overall, I enjoyed their shared love for their friends, movies, and each other’s quirkiness. Even if they’re not endgame, I will always admire the beautiful friendship they have.
Interested in some more recommendations that demonstrate love is not limited to romance? Take a look at this installment of our Three to Read series.