Fantastic YA Books About Female Friendships
by Dena McMurdie
As the mom of two teenage girls, I see how female friendships impact my kids in beautiful and challenging ways. Friends become increasingly important during the teen years, but each relationship is different. Some friendships come with a lot of drama, while others are as effortless as breathing. Either way, my girls are making memories with their friends that will last a lifetime. It’s not surprising that they love reading stories that focus on female friends as well.
These YA novels address the complexities of female friendships, the ups and downs, and the comfort and heartache.
The Falling Girls
This novel explores female friendships in a high school cheer squad. Best friends Shade and Jadis feel their friendship fracture when Shade joins the cheerleading team. Murder, mean girls, codependency, and outgrowing a relationship come together in this story of two teens figuring out what they mean to each other.
Agatha Christie meets modern high school in this YA thriller. When Alice’s ex-best friend disappears without a trace, she teams up with a girl named Iris to solve the case and (hopefully) collect the reward money offered by the victim’s family. With nothing but their friendship and the entire collection of Agatha Christie novels to guide them, Alice and Iris dig up clues and trouble at an alarming rate.
The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants
You can’t talk about female friendships in YA without mentioning The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series. It’s about four friends who find a single pair of pants that fit them all perfectly. As they go their separate ways for the summer, the girls take turns wearing the pants before mailing them to the next girl. What starts as a regular summer becomes a time of adventure, romance, and deepening friendship for the four teens.
The People We Choose
Friendship and family get messy in this novel about a girl searching for her sperm donor’s identity. Calliope jeopardizes her lifelong friendships when she ditches them for a budding romance with the boy next door. But when Max turns out to share her sperm donor, Calliope must figure out how her new half-brother fits into her life and her friendships.
Three friends return as counselors to their childhood summer camp, expecting to earn extra cash and have fun together. But when a dead body gets found one morning, it strains their friendship to the breaking point. Grab this novel when you want a friendship story filled with secrets, suspicion, and murder.
Twists, turns, and toxic friendships abound in this riveting prep school page-turner. The Ivies are a group of teenage girls who will do anything to secure their spots at a top university—including murder.
When You Were Everything
Anyone who has experienced a best friend breakup knows it can be as painful (or even more so) as a romantic breakup. A series of misunderstandings snowball between BFFs Cleo and Layla, destroying their relationship. Now, both girls try to move on and make new friends while being forced to spend time together.
It’s natural for friendships to change as we grow up, but the process can cause a world of hurt. Sky’s best friend becomes her bully in this heartfelt novel in verse. Even though Sky isn’t used to being on her own, she grieves the lost friendship and finds solace in playing basketball and making new friends.
Sugar Town Queens
When Amandla digs into her mother’s past for information about her father, she uncovers troubling truths about her parents and country. She relies on the support of her best friends to help her process the new information. Set in post-apartheid South Africa, this is a hopeful novel of friendship in the face of racism and sexism.
All Our Hidden Gifts
This bestselling dark YA fantasy novel combines ex-best friends, witchcraft, and a vanishing teenager into a magical mystery you can’t set down. When Maeve gets into an argument with Lily right before she vanishes, Maeve immediately becomes a suspect. With the help of her Tarot deck and witchy friends, Maeve sets out to prove her innocence and discover what happened to Lily
Rayne & Delilah’s Midnite
Josie and Delia are best friends and co-hosts of a local cable television show. But as high school graduation draws closer, their plans for the future threaten to pull them apart. This heartfelt novel is about growing up, embracing adulthood, and cherishing childhood friendships.