Pratyu’s Favorites: Girls Supporting Girls

I’m gonna start a new segment.

So I’ve been told that my favorite books appear to be very random. There’s no mode or method to my selection of novels. I think so, too. I’m going to try to put down some of my favorite themes in a series of posts, so we’ll see how that goes.

One of my favorites is, as the title says: girls supporting girls. Strong friendships between women, be they strangers or sisters or whatever. And, I mean, you could argue that some of the romantic relationships that crop up between female characters in stories are “strong relationships”; but what I’m talking about is completely platonic. Girls supporting girls because of solidarity, with no other motives. Not because they think, hey, that girl is cute; not because they see her and go, huh. She could be useful to my mission. I like the relationships that crop up solely because these girls have a genuine interest in creating camaraderie. I think that it’s a really important thing to uphold, and I’m glad to see more authors that forge friendships between their female characters rather than pitting them against each other.

So let me go ahead and mention a few that I can think of right now:

The Lunar Chronicles: Marissa Meyer

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[Ages 12+]

These books feature strong ties between multiple female characters: Cinder, Cress, Scarlet, Winter, and Iko find themselves growing more and more interdependent as they continue on their mission to defeat the Lunar Queen. Sure, there are boys. There’s romance; but I think that at the core¬†of these books is deep and loyal friendship, and that’s what makes them really heartwarming.

 

The Goose Girl: Shannon Hale

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[Ages 12+]

This book is based on one of my favorite fairy tales, but it also features Ani and Enna, two girls from completely different social situations: Ani is a princess, only, she’s been betrayed by her handmaid (these sequence is one of those female friendships that goes sour…) and needs to take refuge. Enna is the girl that offers her the warmth of friendship while she’s hiding from her bloodthirsty handmaid.
Though the book doesn’t focus too much on Ani and Enna’s relationship on purpose, there are lots of instances between the two that soften even the hardest of people. Enna proves over and over again that she’s the most trustworthy person in the world, and even though she’s only known Ani for a short time– she’ll protect her. Ani, reciprocally, shows herself to be a good person in a bad situation, but she recognizes the sanctity of Enna’s friendship, and the girls support each other through the trials and tribulations they face over the course of the novel.

 

Code Name Verity: Elizabeth Wein

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[Ages 12+]

When a British plane crash-lands in Nazi-occupied France, only one of the two girls inside will survive. “Verity” is a young woman arrested by Nazi soldiers and subsequently forced to tell¬†her story: how she became friends with the pilot, named Maddie; her role back with the Allies; and why she left Maddie to burn in the wreckage of the crash. Each new revelation brings with it a tangle of new secrets, tainted with betrayal but sweet with the hope of escape.

Code Name Verity is one of my favorite books of all time despite being historical fiction, which isn’t my genre of choice. It’s a gorgeous story, one filled with tragedy and loss and laughter and hope, and it all centers around a friendship that grows between these two girls, despite the war ravaging the world. Despite the fact that they have lost one another. I love it especially because it’s written in a diary format, with the first-person perspective, which allows for a more intimate look into the characters. Plus, also, the story’s amazing.

 

The Second Guard: J.D. Vaughn

[Ages 12+]

I’m really enjoying this series, with its training school and enthusiastic students; a conspiracy that’s bound to drown them all in darkness; and four little rebels who refuse to bow down to greater powers, in hopes of restoring peace. It’s a light read and it’s fun, with intriguing subplots, dynamic characters, and an overarching main story that ties everything together.

The story takes place in a land called Tequende, where the second-born child is given to work in either the Queen’s Guard or become an indentured servant.¬†Sun Guilder Talimendra has dreamed of this moment for her entire life– to finally work with the brave soldiers that make up the Guard– and arrives at Alcazar, their school, with unbridled delight. Despite the blood and tears shed, she forges strong friendships and quickly begins to establish herself as an admirable pupil– only for everything to come crashing down when a terrible secret is discovered.

Although the relationship between Tali, Zarif and Chey is the most established one, there’s also the matter of Tali and Brindl– who was Tali’s roommate for all of ten minutes before absconding to work as a kitchen maid. The two girls dislike each other at first; Tali thinks that Brindl gives up too easily, and Brindl feels defensive and annoyed with Tali’s entitlement. Still, as the mystery behind Alcazar draws them more deeply into a conflict zone, Tali and Brindl are forced to make nice. Their relationship is expanded upon in the second book,¬†The Shadow Guard,¬†which is told from the point of view of Brindl herself.

 

Streams of Babel: Carol Plum Ucci

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[Ages 13+]

I’ve read this book over and over again, and every single time I do, I’m swept away by the story.¬†Streams of Babel¬†is, well… I’m not really sure what genre it would fall under. It goes like this: in the peaceful neighborhood of Trinity Falls, New Jersey, everything is fine and dandy until suddenly, two women die of brain aneurysms¬†within twenty-four hours. The government determines that a¬†deadly biochemical agent has been released in the water. From there, the story follows five main characters: Scott and Owen, the golden boys of Trinity Falls; Rain, dream girl extraordinaire; and Cora, shy and invisible, but suddenly thrust into the limelight.

Cora and Rain are from opposite ends of the social spectrum, which is what makes their subsequent friendship so interesting. Rain is a bombshell, vivacious and full of spunk. Boys follow her wherever she goes; she is the sun and the sky. Cora, on the other hand, likes to think of herself as a mouse. She’s reserved, distant, and makes it a point to take up the least amount of space possible. Sad and sweet, she believes that no one notices her but we learn later that she’s merely too intimidating to be talked to; an ice queen. Fire and ice are forced together as a mutated virus ¬†devastates their bodies, making for a beautiful story and a¬†solid rapport between these two girls.

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I think that’s a good list for now. I know I probably repeated “I love” and “my favorite” so many times throughout this piece but honestly, it’s all genuine. I think that I learned a lot about friendship from the aforementioned novels as well; about what it means to be a good friend. Who says you don’t learn anything from fiction?
I hope this list finds its way to anyone who needs it. ‚̧ Happy reading!¬†‚̧

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