Friendship comes in all shapes and sizes, and sometimes the best friends are those who are least expected. We’ve compiled a list of ten novels about everlasting friendship that are sure to pull at your heart strings. From childhood friends Jesse and Leslie in Bridge to Terabithia to a group of more “mature” adults in The Group, there’s a novel for everyone.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
Published in 1999, the “coming of age” novel follows introverted freshman Charlie as he enters high school with no friends. Two seniors and step-siblings, Sam and Patrick, befriend Charlie and encourage him to experience life instead of watching it happen. Charlie is very attracted to Sam, who has a boyfriend, while Patrick is secretly dating Brad—who has not come out yet. Charlie has a traumatic past that includes the death of his Aunt Helen and the suicide of his middle school friend, Michael. The story is told through letters that Charlie writes to an anonymous pen pal and is a great read about growing up and the friends who help you do that.
The Girls from Corona del Mar by Rufi Thorpe
Mia and Lorrie Ann are best friends growing up in the beach city of Corona del Mar, California in the ’90s. Both beautiful, smart, and loyal friends, Mia suffers from family struggles while Lorrie Ann doesn’t seem to make mistakes. That all changes after Mia gets a scholarship to Yale and Lorrie Ann gets pregnant and decides to marry the father. This novel explores the real life issue of what happens to friendships when they are no longer convenient. When two friends are at different ends of the world (Mia eventually goes to study in Istanbul), it confronts the question of whether or not friendship can survive. The book explores pregnancy, abortion, marriage, success, self-abuse, and enduring friendship.
The Group by Mary McCarthy
The original Sex and the City, The Group follows the lives of eight friends after they graduate from Vassar College in 1933. Most of the group is privileged, while some families suffered from the Great Depression. The novel’s eight characters come together at Kay’s wedding and the novel follows them until its end in 1940 at one of the group’s funerals. The book was very controversial after its release in 1963. While made the New York Times Best Seller list and remained there for two years, it was banned in Australia. The book deals with issues that had not fully been addressed at that time, like contraception, same-sex relationships, psychoanalysis, socialism, and abuse. It’s a great read about friendship that explores factors that bring women together.
Winnie-the-Pooh Series by A.A. Milne
The beloved bear, also known as Pooh Bear, was first introduced in 1926 in a collection of stories titled Winnie-the-Pooh. Winnie-the-Pooh and friends like Christopher-Robin, Piglet, Tigger, Kanga, Roo, Eeyore, Rabbit, and Owl represent a dynamic friendship that children all over the world have loved for years. Christopher-Robin and Pooh Bear were inspired by Milne’s son and his stuffed bear. While Winnie-the-Pooh may not be the first thing that comes to mind when discussing books about friendship, the stories in the series really demonstrate life lessons and caring for others—giving it a spot on our list!
A Separate Peace by John Knowles
A Separate Peace explores a different side of friendship than we are used to seeing. Gene and Finny are best friends, with Gene being more reserved and quiet, and Finny being outgoing, smart, and athletic. However, when their rivalry gets to be too much for Gene, he unexpectedly is the cause of an accident that prevents Finny from playing sports ever again. Gene and Finny go through many ups and downs during the novel, with Gene never really knowing if what he did was an accident or on purpose. The book examines many literary devices, like the doppleganger. While Gene does not have a physical doppleganger, emotionally he is not quite sure if it was him that caused Finny to fall or something else. Friendship is a key theme in this book, as friendship can sometime make you do crazy things.
Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
The wonderful story of Jesse and Leslie is one that many read in their youth. Jesse and Leslie are fifth graders who form a friendship after he loses a foot race to her. Leslie is an outgoing tomboy who Jesse grows fond of and causes him to let his anger and frustration go. They create their own magical land they can get to by swinging over a creek. They rule the land they call Terabithia and their friendship grows over time. Although this novel has a rather tragic end, it is about children’s imagination and how those you would least suspect to be your friends can turn into ones.
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
The young adult novel written in 2013 takes a look at what happens when identical twins Cather and Wren go to college. The girls’ biggest passion are the Simon Snow novels (which are like Harry Potter, if Harry Potter went to magician’s school). However, Wren does not want to room with Cath at the University of Nebraska—and instead create her own identity. While the story is about discovering college, boys, and learning to let things go, it is also a story about sisterhood between Cath and Wren. Although they are very different people, they come together and remember what’s important.
Summer Sisters by Judy Blume
One of Judy Blume’s adult novels, Summer Sisters follows the lives of Caitlin and Victoria (Vix) who spend every summer together as teenagers. Their friendship is strong from the time they meet in sixth grade through high school, but deteriorates when they go to college. Boys, family, and life in general get in the way. Judy Blume is known for her books about growing up—and this one is no different. People choose different paths in life, and they can either choose to come back to each other or not. This is a great read about young friendships and love, and how that translates into adult life.
Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling
Perhaps this one does not need an introduction, but let’s give it one anyways. Harry Potter follows a young boy from when he finds out he is a wizard when he is 11, through his quest to defeat the Dark Lord Voldemort until he is 17. Along the way he makes great friends, Ron and Hermione, who help him through all his adventures. They all go to Hogwarts together, and while they mostly focus on defeating Lord Voldemort, they also form a strong bond—that even turns into a romantic relationship between Ron and Hermione. We’re not sure how someone could form a deeper bond than willing to risk their lives for their friends every day. While all friendships have their ups and downs, these friends stay true through the very end.
These two novels follow Tom Sawyer, a boy growing up along the Mississippi River in the late 1800s, and his friend, Huckleberry Fin. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer are told from Tom’s point of view, while The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn are told from Huck’s. The adventures follow Tom and Huck as they search for gold and Tom tries to woo Becky Thatcher. Though they are constantly scheming and getting into trouble, the boys’ friendship is enduring and makes it one to definitely read.
What’s your favorite book about friendship? Comment below and share your thoughts!
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