Sunday, September 25, 2011

Friendship in KidLit is important

On Saturday I was able to spend a huge chunk of time catching up with two long-time girlfriends.  17 years after graduating from high school (oh wow, I just did that math- OLD) my best childhood friends are still my best friends.  Of course the realities of life mean that we don't get together as often as we would like, and we no longer know every detail about the others' days, but we've been through so much together and known each other for so long that our friendship base holds strong. 
Like any good writing nerd, I looked to see how I would relate my Saturday to my writing or YA/MG literature in general.  In thinking about friendship while scanning my bookshelves, I realized how many fewer YA novels have a friendship as the major relationship, as opposed to a romantic one.  As lovely and compelling as romance at that age can be, I adamantly feel that your childhood friends have a much deeper and lasting impact on your character and your life than boyfriends/girlfriends from that same age. 

So, why does romance rule this genre?  I don't know the exact answer and it's Sunday so I don't want to think too hard.  Instead I am highlighting some of my favorite friendships appearing on my bookshelf and that are a main component of the novel.
1. Harry, Ron, and Hermione from the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling.  Seven years of the kind of friendship I hope my kids will have someday (with or without magic).
2. Cammie, Bex, Liz, and Macey from the Gallagher Girls series by Ally Carter. Talk about supporting your friends- spies in training give new meaning to the phrase!
3. Augie and T.C. from My Most Excellent Year by Steve Kluger. Augie and T.C. decided that they were brothers in the second grade and they stuck to that level of closeness right on through high school.
4. John, Jack, and Charles from The Chronicles of the Imaginarium Geographica series by James A. Owen.  Even though the characters are men, not kids, I think the adventure that is the basis for the formation of this friendship is youthful and incredibly magical.
5. Isi and Enna from The Goose Girl and Enna Burning by Shannon Hale.  These are two of my favorite characters in the entire YA genre.  Their friendship is such an important part of these novels because they literally need each other in order to balance their speaking (their powers) out.
6. Cassie, Lydia, and Emily from The Year of Secret Assignments by Jaclyn Moriarty. They will lie, manipulate, and scheme for each other.  How can you not love that?

What are your favorite YA/MG friendships?


  1. Also, my agent is having a query critique contest, if you're interest!


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