Don’t you just hate it when authors create female characters that only interact with each other to compete over a boy? Or, worse yet, never even interact with each other?
Creating real female characters and female friendships seems relatively straightforward, seeing how half of the world’s population is female. However it is left very clear, as soon as you start watching enough movies and reading enough books, that it appears to be a much harder task. Just Google “Bechdel Test” and the pieces of work that don’t pass the test to get the point I’m trying to get across.
However, there are some writers out there who have been able to write complex women and dynamic relationships between women. I decided to make a list of the books that have been able to achieve this to honor and share some girl power.
1) Gena/Finn by Hannah Moskowitz and Kat Helgelson
Gena/Finn is a young-adult novel told entirely through snippets of each girl’s online activities, blog entries, comments on blog posts, text messages and emails. It revolves around the friendship that is quickly forged between Genevieve and Stephanie over a common interest in a buddy cop tv-show, Up Below (Supernatural, I’m looking at you!). The girls are in different stages of their life, Gena is almost done with her high school education and Finn is in her twenties, struggling to make rent and living with her long time boyfriend. Despite having had different upbringings, the bond they share is strong and deserves a spot in this list. I cannot stress how well this book deals with female friendships and how clever it is in its approach to online friendships.
2) The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson
This young-adult novel follows Andie’s summer in her hometown after a scandal in her politician father’s life stops her from following through with her previous plans. Andie has a wonderful group of friends that accompany her through the not-so-smooth changes she undergoes during the summer. It is a true pleasure reading about the girls’ sleepovers, their trips to the pool and to read the texts they send each other in times of need, while experiencing the ups and downs of their relationship. This is one that filled my heart with joy, made me think of my friends and made me nod and laugh at how genuine the shenanigans the girls got up to felt.
3) Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead
I’d be lying if I said I don’t judge books by their covers, case in point is this paranormal young-adult novel depicting the life of Rose Hathaway, a teenage girl training to be a guardian to her princess vampire best friend, Lisa Dragomir. Both of these characters are strong and dynamic in their own ways and battle against their personal and inner struggles, while still relying on each other. Although I was thrown off by the hideous cover it originally had, I decided it was time for some badass female protagonists in my life and sprinted through the entire series. The portrayal of female friendship is so strong in this work that it leaves you feeling those #goals and wishing you were also part of this dangerous world. Read it if you’re looking for fast-paced, women-empowering and addictive stories as an escape to everyday life.
4) Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
This list just wouldn’t be right if I didn’t include Cath and Wren’s amazing friendship. These girls are twins and each other’s best friends, yet prove that being related by blood doesn’t guarantee instant and lasting friendship. Cath writes Simon Snow fanfiction (*coughs* Harry Potter *coughs*), is a freshman in university and, for the first time ever, doesn’t share a room with Wren who has decided to branch out and not spend all of her time with her twin sister. Cath’s coming of age story is one of the sweetest and most notorious I’ve ever read, filled with relatable new adult moments, the passion for writing and the involvement in fandoms, finding her true path and passions and a romance along the way, with the omnipresence of Wren throughout. This is a testament to the power of female relationships.
If I’m being totally honest with you, fellow reader (wink, wink), coming up with this list wasn’t as easy as I was expecting it to be. This is dominated by Young Adult fiction but I sense that some of the books I have saved for 2017 will make the cut. I hope you liked this idea and if you have any other suggestions, leave a comment down below!