books · musings · YA

friendships and romance in YA

I originally had an idea that for Valentine’s Day, I would do a sort of “anti-Valentine’s Day” post and make a list of my favorite books without romance. A few things to note: First, I am not against romance–I like it in real life, and I like it in books too. There are some great relationships in books that I love to read about. Second, when starting to compile my non-romance list, I realized it would be too easy to include middle grade titles. Occasionally romance pops up in those stories, but because of the age of the characters and readers it tends not to overwhelm the plot so much. Young adult books however are full of romance.

With that in mind, I started to figure out my list. I thought…and I thought…and the list I came up with was very short indeed. I thought I’d tweak it a little then, and instead of trying to focus on books with little to no romance, make a list of books with strong female friendships (even if there was also a romance in the book). But even that list was pretty short–sadly short. I started getting frustrated.

Part of this is because even though I have read many books, I’m still limited by ones I’ve read. I’m sure there are some great ones out there that I just haven’t gotten my hands on yet. And maybe it’s also a genre thing? I usually read fantasy and rarely read contemporary YA–are those books any more likely to be romance-free or friendship focused? The majority of ones I could think of were historical fiction. Either way, there is a serious lack of YA books that focus on friendship, especially between girls (and books I’ve read recently that promise that–Court of Fives and Truthwitch–both let me down).

In my own life, I have many relationships that are important to me. My romantic relationship means a lot to me, but it doesn’t overshadow the other ones in my life. My family and my sisters are incredibly special to me and I have strong friendships that are so important. I wish I could see more of those types of bonds, the different types of love, in young adult books. Not to replace romance entirely, but to add more variety.

With that in mind, here are a few of the YA titles I could come up with that did not have a focus on romance and/or have strong female friendships:

This blog post also functions as a cry for help. What are some YA books (fantasy/sci-fi especially) that you’ve read that focus on friendship? Do you have a favorite type of relationship to read about–or do you look for variety? Let me know please!

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