Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Just Friends? Not in YA Fiction

WARNING: Basic "who gets with whom" spoilers throughout.

I believe it's absolutely possible for guys and girls to be 100% platonic friends. But why isn’t that ever portrayed in young adult literature?

Don’t get me wrong: I LOVE the storyline of longtime best friends falling in love. I just read two books this week that fit into this category: The Sweetest Thing by Christina Mandelski and Don’t Stop Now by Julie Halpern. So adorable! And the childhood friends/neighbor boys in Lola & the Boy Next Door or Endless Summer? So dreamy!

But, truly, where are the non-swoony, long-term boy friends? Nowhere. Let’s review the evidence:

Bella & Jacob (Twilight)? Disgusting. But that happened. Proof of my theory.

Violet & Jay (The Body Finder)? V & J, sittin’ in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G…

Clary & Simon (The Mortal Instruments)? He wished.

Katniss & Peeta (The Hunger Games)? Got it on in a cave.

Katniss & Gale (Also The Hunger Games)? MEANINGFUL GLANCES.

Percy & Annabeth (Percy Jackson & the Lightning Thief)? They were in denial about this from the get-go.

Ron & Hermione (Harry Potter)? Life-threatening situations are prime breeding grounds for romance.

Hermione & Harry (Also Harry Potter)? HAHA you fangirls wish. But they sort of implied it, at least in the movies, no?

Anna & Matt (Twenty Boy Summer)? CAKE FIGHT! Okay, so that didn’t end well, but it was still adorable in flashbacks.

Belly & Conrad (The Summer I Turned Pretty)? COUCH SCENE FOR THE WIN!

Belly & Jeremiah (Also The Summer I Turned Pretty)? Ugh. But yeah, that happened too.

Eddie & Milo (Fall for Anything)? He’s supportive, but it’s killing him to watch her drift away from him. Oh, the emo pain. I love it.

I could go on. It's cute, but still odd, no? I can’t think of any examples of platonic guy-girl friendship being portrayed unless the guy is dating one of the girl’s best female friends or if one of them is gay.

Help me out here, people: Can you think of any examples that were 100% platonic? It’s driving me crazy!

Anna Reads young adult book blog

PS: Thank you to my Twitter friends who gave me a lot of recommendations of "best friends fall in love"-type books to pass on:

White Cat by Holly Black
Becoming by Raine Thomas
Sophie & Carter by Chelsea Fine
Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr
The Key to the Golden Firebird by Maureen Johnson
Overdue by Richie Cusick
Fixing Delilah by Sarah Ockler
Something Like Fate by Susane Colasanti
Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery


  1. I think Thomas and Theresa from The Maze Runner series are platonic. It's been a while since I read both The Maze Runner and The Scorch Trials. Someone correct me if I'm wrong here. I think I was like..DYING for some kissy kissy action and I don't think I got any from these two books (definitely a go-to "guy" read).

    Nice post, Anna! :)

  2. Great list! I always love stories where the friends fall in love.

    In How to Say Goodbye in Robot, it's 100% platonic between the male and female character. There's also The Compound and Witchlanders which both don't have romance at all, not even a hint.

  3. Tally & Peris in The Uglies trilogy. At first I thought for sure they were headed for classic best friends become more, but it turns out they stay strictly BFF. :D

  4. Jennifer Donnelly's A Northern Light has a good example of a boy and girl just being friends. I loved Weaver and the word games he played with Mattie!

    The best friends falling in love is my favorite kind of romance, though! I loved the romance between Jay and Violet in The Body Finder.

    Great post and thanks for the list of books!

  5. @Laura (The Zealous Reader) YES! Genius. Why didn't I think of How to Say Goodbye...though the girl liked Ghost Boy, so does it still count?

  6. The "MEANINGFUL GLANCES" comment had me cracking up. SO TRUE!

  7. Christmas Beach Couch, indeed. And poor, poor Jacob. Worst. Fate. Ever.

  8. @Jen (Makeshift Bookmark) What, you're not a Jacob + Renesmee 4 Lifer?! BAHAHAHA.

  9. Oh, see I think Harry and Hermione are a perfect example of platonic friendship. For all the people who kept telling she was going to end up with Harry, I just always saw her with Ron.

  10. This is true and I completely agree. I really wish there were more books with guys and girls being friends, and nothing more than that, and nothing implied more than that. I just read Raised by Wolves by Jennifer Lynn Barnes, and the main character, a girl, has a friend named Devon. And it is never even thought of that they are more than friends. I really appreciated that.

  11. Great post! I nearly always root for the unrequited best friend rather than the "new guy/girl" in YA love triangles. Thanks for the list from your Twitter friends!

  12. And the best friends at least make sense as opposed to "random guy" the girl met two pages earlier.

  13. UGHHHH!! More books to add to my list!! Bloggers are a horrible (ie: AWESOME) influence.

  14. Sweethearts by Sara Zarr was pretty platonic. I don't think they ever kiss...


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