YA Central: Friendship


Sometimes high school can feel impossible to navigate. With academics, family, and extracurricular activities it can easily feel like the world in spinning out of control. Luckily, we have our friends to help us take a breath, have a laugh, and continue on our quest to conquer high school. But friends can bring their own challenges. These books are about the ups and downs of friendship.

All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

Told in alternating voices, when Theodore Finch and Violet Markey meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school--both teetering on the edge--it's the beginning of an unlikely relationship, a journey to discover the "natural wonders" of the state of Indiana, and two teens' desperate desire to heal and save one another.

You in Five Acts by Una La Marche

At a prestigious New York City performing arts school, five friends connect over one dream of stardom. But for Joy, Diego, Liv, Ethan and Dave, that dream falters under the pressure of second-semester, Senior year. Ambitions shift and change, new emotions rush to the surface, and a sense of urgency pulses between them: Their time together is running out. Diego hopes to get out of the friend zone. Liv wants to escape, losing herself in fantasies of the new guy. Ethan conspires to turn his muse into his girlfriend. Dave pines for the drama queen. And if Joy doesn't open her eyes, she could lose the love that's been in front of her all along. An epic ensemble piece in the vein of Fame and Lets Get Lost, You in Five Acts is a eulogy for a friendship the heartbreaks, the betrayals, the inside jokes, the remember-whens.

Optimists Die First by Susin Nielsen

When Petula de Wilde, who is anything but wild, meets Jacob in their school's dorky art therapy program, his friendship (and something more) helps her overcome intense fears since her sister died. And he has a secret of his own.

Does my Head Look Big in This by Randa Abdel-Fattah

Year Eleven at an exclusive prep school in the suburbs of Melbourne, Australia, would be tough enough, but it is further complicated for Amal when she decides to wear the hijab, the Muslim head scarf, full-time as a badge of her faith--without losing her identity or sense of style.

Dumplin' by Julie Murphy

Self-proclaimed fat girl Willowdean Dickson (dubbed "Dumplin'" by her former beauty queen mom) has always been at home in her own skin. Her thoughts on having the ultimate bikini body? Put a bikini on your body. With her all-American beauty best friend, Ellen, by her side, things have always worked... until Will takes a job at Harpy's, the local fast-food joint. There she meets Private School Bo, a hot former jock. Will isn't surprised to find herself attracted to Bo. But she is surprised when he seems to like her back. Instead of finding new heights of self-assurance in her relationship with Bo, Will starts to doubt herself. So she sets out to take back her confidence by doing the most horrifying thing she can imagine: entering the Miss Clover City beauty pageant -- along with several other unlikely candidates -- to show the world that she deserves to be up there as much as any twiggy girl does. Along the way, she'll shock the hell out of Clover City -- and maybe herself most of all.

Lockdown by Walter Dean Myers

Teenage Reese, serving time at a juvenile detention facility, gets a lesson in making it through hard times from an unlikely friend with a harrowing past.

The Inexplicable Logic of my Life by Benjamin Alire Saenz

Sal used to know his place with his adoptive gay father, their loving Mexican American family, and his best friend, Samantha. But it's senior year, and suddenly Sal is throwing punches, questioning everything, and realizing he no longer knows himself. If Sal's not who he thought he was, who is he?

Let's Get Lost by Adi Alsaid

A love-seeking mechanic, a dramatic petty thief, a disappointed planner, and a broken-hearted teen all find their lives transformed as each shares whirlwind adventures with a girl in an insanely red car.

Fat Angie by E.E. Charlton-Trujillo

Angie overeats to cope with the taunts of the ultra-mean girls, her attempted suicide in front of a packed gym, and the status of her captured war-hero sister, until KC Romance comes to town and sees Angie for who she really is.

100 Days by Nicole McInnes

A teen girl suffers from progeria, a rare disease that causes her to age rapidly. This is the story of three unlikely friends learning to live life to its fullest before ultimately letting it go.

Windfall by Jennifer E. Smith

Alice loves Teddy, her best friend, but has never told him. On his eighteenth birthday she buys him a lottery ticket on a lark. To their astonishment he wins $140 million, and in an instant, everything changes. As a kid, Alice's parents died just over a year apart from each other. And Teddy's father abandoned his family not long after that, leaving them to grapple with his gambling debts. Through it all, Teddy and Alice have leaned on each other. But with Teddy's newfound wealth, a gulf opens between them. Can they find their way back to each other?

The Last Forever by Deb Caletti

After her mother's death, it's all Tessa can do to keep her friends, her boyfriend, her happiness from slipping away. Even the rare plant her mother entrusted to her care starts to wilt. Then she meets Henry. Though secrets stand between them, each has a chance at healing...if first, Tessa can find the courage to believe in forever.

Book descriptions provided by Polaris.


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