Top YA Friendships


Many of the most commonly recommended books in the Young Adult genre heavily feature a romantic relationship, but I wanted to take the opportunity to highlight some of the best friendships I’ve read. While some of the books listed may contain romantic relationships, they will either primarily focus on friendship or contain a spectacular platonic relationship.

Darius the Great Is Not Okay by Adib Khorram

This is a fantastic exploration of the intricacies of teen male friendships as well as the mental health issues and societal pressure that young men can face. The story centers on the friendship between Darius, who is Iranian-American and struggling with his depression, and his next door neighbor Sohrab, whom he meets when visiting Iran for the first time. Sohrab becomes the first true friend that Darius has ever had, introducing him to Iranian culture and other teens, while Darius becomes the most real and fun friend that Sohrab has. Darius the Great Is Not Okay discusses the realities of depression and parental disapproval with the constant driving force being the fierce friendship that Darius and Sohrab develop.

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

In a fantastical world of magic and bottom of the barrel thieves, the friendships between the six characters in Six of Crows serves as the heart of Leigh Bardugo’s complex world. There are three romances that develop throughout the duology, but it is the platonic connections that really push the found family trope to a rich and loving interconnected story. While the driving storyline guiding the Crows is the paid rescue of a scientist from the notoriously magic-hating nation of Fjerda—taking the mismatched group from the gritty streets of Ketterdam to a multi-nation treasure hunt—it is in the smaller, more intimate moments between the friends that Bardugo’s writing and characterization shines brightest.

Check out our review of Six of Crows here!

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares

The book and the film adaptation are both a bit older than the others on this list, but this book was integral to my adolescence for showing the strength of female friendships. Unique to this book is the fact that the majority of the entire cast of friends aren’t physically together, but through the magically-fitting pants and a chain of letters, they all remain close while individually developing.

Check out our review of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants here!

The Infernal Devices Trilogy by Cassandra Clare

Cassandra Clare has firmly established herself within the YA genre, and in her prequel series titled The Infernal Devices, we are treated to the friendship and parabatai bond between Will and Jem. The two are further enmeshed in a love triangle throughout the trilogy with the main character Tessa, but the men who consider each other brothers never allow their romantic interests to impede their friendship. Early on in the series there is a bit of competition between Jem and Will, but by the end, the primary romance is firmly established and the two men are able to individually grow their characters and relationships.

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

Children of Blood and Bone is a true masterclass of writing both magic systems and character development; and as the main characters Zélie and Amari must work together to restore magic, they are able to build real trust and friendship. Zélie initially hates Amari because of her nobility and wealth, but along their journey both characters go through such well-crafted and radical character development that they slowly learn to rely on each other. This is the first book in Tomi Adeyemi’s Legacy of Orïsha series, and in the second book Children of Virtue and Vengeance, we get to see Zélie and Amari’s solidified friendship deepen as they must fight together in the aftermath of the ritual performed in the first book.

This is a list of the most impactful depictions of friendships that I’ve read in YA, and while there are many other great relationships not listed, I hope this serves as a reference for some of the most real and thorough friendships written. Let us know your favorite friendships in YA!

PRR Writer and Editor, Kayla Chandler