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I adore stories about friendship so keeping this down to 10 was a serious challenge! I’ve gone for only contemporary (ruling out Code Name Verity and A Beautiful Lie) and despite reading so much MG recently, I’ve stuck to YA. (My ‘bonus’ MG ones would be Pea’s Book series, Adventure Island, Sesame Seade trilogy and The Flip-Flop Club!)
1. Have A Little Faith (and Keep The Faith) by Candy Harper – These are just in the order they came to mind, but it’s no surprise that this was the first! Having been stuck on a train for six hours at the weekend, with no battery in my iPhone or iPod and with only books I’d already read with me, I turned to book one for the fourth time in about nine months. It is STILL absolutely wonderful on a fourth read – the friendship between Faith, Megs, Angharad, Lily, Westy, Ethan and Cameron is brilliant. Book two is just as fabulous!
2. Undeniable by Liz Bankes – This is another I reread recently. It’s about older characters than Faith but shares a lot of the same qualities – in particular the wonderful voice, the great sense of humour, and the superb group of friends at the centre. I especially loved that Gabi and her friends make mistakes, do stupid things, and annoy each other at times – but their friendship is strong enough for them to work through any problems.
3. Boys Don't Knit by TS Easton – I’ve seen one or two reviews of this that have mentioned Ben’s friends are not being supportive and I’m stunned by them. I think that Ben’s friends are massively supportive of him when it counts. Yes, they take the mick, screw things up, and generally cause chaos, but this is because they’re reckless and impulsive, not because they’re bad friends – their hearts are in the right place!
4. Roomies by Sara Zarr and Tara Altebrando – I LOVE this book! Brilliant story of all kinds of friendships – the new one forming between the title characters, the old ones which are either ending or changing, and the way that teenagers’ relationships with their parents change to be on something more like an equal footing when they’re getting ready to move out of home.
5. The Anti-Prom by Abby McDonald – This is so much fun, and I need to plug it more as I read and reviewed it before I was quite so active in the blogging community and I know a lot of my friends now would love it. Three girls, all not attending prom for various reasons, spend the night trying to get revenge on people who’ve wronged them. It’s a hilarious but also heart-warming story of an unlikely trio who become firm friends over the course of one evening.
6. You Don't Know Me by Sophia Bennett – One of my favourites of last year (and last year was amazingly strong for contemporaries!) This is the story of four schoolfriends who form a girlfriend and audition for a TV talent show, only for things to go horribly wrong. The way their friendship hits a roadblock here in the face of cyberbullying and media manipulation is wonderfully done.
7. Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta – Two brilliant stories of friendship interwoven here, with the main one following 17-year-old Taylor as she leads her school in a war against cadets and townies, and a parallel story written by her guardian Hannah. Both are superb friendship groups and the last 100 pages had me in tears.
8. Don’t Call Me Ishmael (and sequels) by Michael Gerard Bauer – I love the central friendship between Ishmael and new boy Scobie here, but their entire group of friends on the debate team are fabulous – and hilarious – to read about.
9. Torn by Stephanie Guerra – I’m far more interested in tales of groups of friends than in those of just a pair, but the duo here – good girl Stella and new girl, the far more rebellious Ruby – are AMAZING.
10. Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley – LOVE the lyricism, LOVE the chemistry between the lead pairing, but also LOVE the friendship between the central quartet in this fabulous story!