Sorry I’ve been inactive, guys. We’re really busy prepping for the library’s summer programming. But I made sure I’d have time to get today’s post up. Today’s Top Ten Tuesday from the Broke and the Bookish is: Ten Books About Friendship.
1. Code Name Verity by: Elizabeth Wein
This is the story of a British spy for the Allied powers in World War II who has been captured by the Nazis and forced to give out vital military intelligence. But it’s also much more than that. As “Verity” spills her government’s secrets, she also tells the story of her friendship with Maddie, a girl who became a pilot against all odds.
Throughout the narrative, you see just how strong the bonds of the girls’ friendship is and just how much they mean to each other. I don’t tend to cry over many books, but this was one of them. I will forever recommend this book to any and everyone.
This is a four volume slice-of-life manga that follows the adventures of a group of girls going through high school in Japan. At the center of the group is 11 year old Chiyo Mihama, a girl genius who was smart enough to skip a few grades to become the smartest person in the entire freshman class. She quickly makes friends with studious Koyomi, brash Tomo, spacey Osaka, sporty Kagura, and the silently scary Sakaki. It seems like these girls have nothing in common, but they accidentally form one of the tightest-knit group of friends in the entire school.
There isn’t much action in this manga and the plot is very sparse, but reading this is a perfect representation of high school life. It’s cute, heartwarming, and always something I turn to if I need to be cheered up.
This is the simple story of a tree and her boy. They make friends when the boy is only a child and the two spend as much time together as possible. But as the boy grows older, he leaves the tree alone for longer periods of time. However, he always comes back to the tree when he’s in need of something and the tree is always happy to give him whatever he needs, even when it comes at great cost to her.
My grandmother and I would read this book for hours when I was first learning to read. It’s a very easy book and most people still consider it for children, but I think the message is for readers of all ages.
4. The Difference Between You and Me by: Madeleine George
Jesse and Emily are in love. If you can call meeting in the bathroom of the library for 15 minutes every Tuesday for “special private time” love. Emily is the perfectly dressed, perfectly popular, perfectly perfect vice president of the student council with an equally as perfect boyfriend. Jesse cuts her hair with a pocket knife, wears combat boots everyday, and believes in the liberation of all weirdos. Needless to say, Emily doesn’t want to be seen with her in public. Jesse never questions the arrangement until she meets Esther, a girl who is even weirder than she is and who doesn’t understand why Jesse doesn’t stand up for what she believes in and what she wants.
This was a fun, feel-good novel about how you shouldn’t be afraid to be who you are, and you definitely shouldn’t be friends (or in relationships) with people who are embarrassed by you or who force you to hide who you really are. This was a story about learning to tell who your true friends are, getting rid of the ones who aren’t, and ultimately being happier in the end for it.
Ponyboy Curtis is in a gang of greasers with his two brothers and their friends. People think they’re hoodlums (and maybe they are, to a point), but they’re mostly just good kids who have had the misfortune to be born into bad situations. They’re also the targets of a rival group of kids, the Socs (short for socials) who are a sort of gang in themselves, although they are too rich to call themselves that. When Ponyboy is attacked by a group of Socs on his way home from a movie theater, his gang rallies around him and swears to get even. This sets off a course of events that leads to tragedy and forces the boys to grow up and face the reality of their lives.
We had to read this in one of my English classes growing up, but the story has always stuck with me. You really feel for the boys in Ponyboy’s gang and how their friendship is forged in and tested through hardship.
6. Anya’s Ghost by: Vera Brogsol
Anya feels like she’s having trouble assimilating into the school she’s been attending all of her life simply because she’s the daughter of a Russian immigrant. Her best friend thinks she’s being stupid, which causes a huge fight between the two of them. Anya runs off in a rage and falls into a hole where she meets the ghost of a girl who’d fallen in to her death years before. Anya rescues the ghost and promises to be her friend. With the help of the ghost, Anya quickly moves up the ranks within the group of popular kids and everything seems to be going just fine. Until the ghost starts overstepping her boundaries and Anya sees that her old best friend may have been right about how she was fitting into the school.
This story is less about the strong bonds of friendship and more about learning to identify friendships that are unhealthy and separating yourself from them. It is similar in that way to The Difference Between You and Me, but it is a lot darker in tone considering one of the main characters is a ghost.
Charlie has always been a shy, quiet loner. Entering high school seems to only amplify things. He’s always just been content to sit back and watch everyone else’s life going by than participate in his own. That is, until he meets Sam and Patrick, two older step-siblings who sort of adopt Charlie into their group of outcasts. With them, Charlie learns about life, love, and the dark side of growing up. With their help, he’s even able to come to terms with something terrible that happened to him as a child that he’d blocked away to the point of not even remembering it happened.
This book can seem a little dated (it’s very obviously set in the early 1990s), but the story itself is still moving. It’s a little dark at times and some of the subject matter can be upsetting for people, but the friendship between the characters is very real and heartbreaking. I’ve read that you either love this book or you hate it, and I loved it.
9. Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes by: Chris Cutcher
Moby and Sarah have been friends since they were small children. It wasn’t by choice, mind you. Her burn scars and his obesity marked them as targets for bullying by most of the other kids in their school. So they did the natural thing and grouped up together because it was harder to hurt them when they were working as a team. But as the grew up, they started to drift apart a little, no matter how much Moby tried to keep their friendship together. One day, he hears that Sarah is in the hospital, refusing to talk about what it was that landed her there. Eric makes it his mission to find out, turning even to his worst enemy for help.
I like this book because it’s about accepting your friends for what they are, no matter their situation in life. It’s also about helping your friends through hard times, even if they might be a little reluctant to accept it.
10. Fangirl by: Rainbow Rowell
Simon Snow is Cath’s life. She is famous on the internet as Magicath, the writer of a very popular Simon Snow fanfiction. It’s almost more popular than the Simon Snow series itself. She has tons of fans who are vying to be her friend, but real life is very different. She’s quiet and shy and the only person who wants to be her friend is her twin sister Wren. But this changes when they go off to college and it seems like Wren wants nothing to do with Cath or Simon Snow. Cath is left alone with her room mate Reagan and Reagan’s friend-boy Levi. It’s a rough semester for Cath, like, really rough–so much so that she wants to drop out and focus only on her fanfiction. But Reagan (who has reluctantly become her friend) and Levi (who is interested in becoming more than just her friend) won’t let her.
This book is about making friends in new places, breaking out of your shell, and learning that change is okay sometimes. I really enjoyed it because (since I am of the nerdy persuasion) I related a lot to Cath, especially in my early college years. I think this is a great representation of learning to make friends and mature while at the same time staying true to yourself and what you love.