Saturday, October 22, 2011

Saturday Discussions: Book BBFs

Today, my little sis Jessica from The Midnight Bookworm and I want to talk about literary BFFs in YA fiction. We decided that each of us would focus on one side. She took the good examples of BFFs and I took the bad side. So what I want to discuss is what makes a bad BFF, some of the trends I've noticed and give some examples!

From Missyouxterribly
Having best friends in fiction is almost as essential as the hot new guy. Except, of course, almost everyone has a BFF in real life but we might not have the hot guy pining for us. That's why most of the YA novels you crack open generally have that gal pal that's been around since elementary school or the kind girl that takes pity on the new girl in town. A girl (or guy, really) needs that special someone to gush to about that OTHER special someone. 
From Liiinnea-a

There are loads of good examples of the loyal, kind BFFs that have their lead character's backs. But I want to talk about is another frustrating trend cropping up. The non-existent BFF or the bad friend.

I really dislike it in fiction when our main character is such an introvert that they don't even have one good friend. Yet, we're supposed that the new really good looking guy(s)/girl is completely in love with her. How are we supposed to be believe this when the main character can't form a meaningful connection with a single other person in their life? Plus, everyone has at least one friend. It might not be a good one but at least we can sit with them at lunch and listen to their problems.

Another trend that's been popping up is bad best friends. I think a lot of this has to do with paranormal novels where the lead character simply can't tell their bestie what's going on without sounding crazy but I miss the tightness that goes along with lasting friendship. Plus, if I had sexy shining vampire dude after me, you can bet my BFF would be the first to know. Let's not even talk about what would happen if she found out I didn't spill. But sometimes the friends are just plain terrible even though they have supposedly know each other their whole lives. I find myself frustrated when the BFF is always talking about themselves and whines if the main character isn't paying attention. Especially since if they really were friends, BFF would know something was wrong with their friend.

But then there are friends who a written to be bad. They're the frenemies and even the main character acknowledges that they'd rather keep these "friends" close and know what they are scheming than be ambushed. They are written to be mean, the type of people you hate.

So here are some examples of bad besties:
- Jessica from Twilight Saga by Stephenie Meyers- Jessica didn't care about Bella. Bella was "the shiny new toy" that all the boys were barking about so Jessica wanted to keep her close. She never really thought about Bella's feelings. She just wanted Bella to listen to hers and she was often more jealous of Bella than supportive.

- Felicity from Gemma Doyle series by Libba Bray- Ms. Bray didn't write Felicity for you to fall in love with. The first few times she is around Gemma she bullies her and teases her room mate. Then, once Gemma finds out about her powers, she uses Gemma to get what she wants. Gemma knows all this but she allows it for the simple fact that Felicity would use her witchcraft for her own personal gain either way (even if that meant that Felicity exposed Gemma).
- Taylor from Personal Demons by Lisa Desrochers- Frannie knows Taylor's not the best friend in the world. they are friends out of convenience because neither one of them are the touchy-feely type. They also like to compete with each other and Taylor plays nasty.
- The entire mermaid clan from Lost Voices by Sara Porter- It's not a secret that I'm not a fan of this book. These girls are vicious, ruthless and would rather hurt each other than try to help. This is how the author intended them to be so in that aspect it's very good but you wouldn't want any of them as your friends unless you want to have a jagged shell in your back.

When done right, a best friend can tell a lot about the main character and about the story. When done badly right, they can also tell a whole lot about the main character. But when they are whiny, selfish, and insensitive and supposedly still the character's BFF that they'd go to war for then there is a major problem.

My little sis is talking about a few types of good BFFs and some examples:

Some of my favorite best friends:
- Nicole and Phoebe from Oh. My. Gods series by Tera Lynn Child – Nicole isn’t exactly the most normal person, but then again, neither is Phoebe. I think the way these two get along is absolutely great though. They have a strange type of connection that is so fun to read.
- Jenna and Sophie from Hex Hall series by Rachel Hawkins – Jenna is Sophie’s roommate at Hex Hall, the new school she goes to. Jenna is a social outcast, as is Sophie, but for different reasons. Sophie is the new girl so she’s not really accepted for a while. Jenna is a vampire accused of murder. The connection these girls have is slightly odd, but they understand each other.

- Hanna, Aria, Spencer, and Emily from the Pretty Little Liars series by Sara Shepard – As bitchy as these girls are to each other, after A shows up, the four friends really do reconnect and they’re truly there for each other. Of course, they’re still keeping secrets, which makes their story so much better, but the connection they have, because of A, really shows in their friendship.

Check out her blog for her full post and to find out what makes some BFFs just great!

We want to know what you think makes for a good best friend or a bad one. Link up and share some of your favorite friendships with us!


  1. It irritates me too when the MC has no friends. That just means that they're socially awkward, not an introvert. I mean, I'm an introvert...but I have friends. haha But I also don't like the token BFF. I would prefer the MC to have a friend that's actually important, like Simon and Clary from The Mortal Instruments. :)

  2. I totally know what you mean about the trend of the "bad" best friend. It's been getting on my nerves too. Great post, ladies!


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