Whether you like reading one book a year to one book a week, we’re all just a teeny bit guilty of adding too much to our TBR list. Books about love, old and new, take up plenty of room in our hearts, and no we’re not just talking about romance novels that leave us heartbroken and ever so slightly unstable (One Day, we’re talking about you!), we’re talking about the other loves of our lives…our besties! So, to celebrate International Friendship Day this Saturday, we’ve come up with 13 brilliant books about friendship you need to add to your TBR list…if you haven’t read them already!
13 brilliant books about friendship
Wonder – R.J. Palacio
First p on our brilliant books on friendship is Wonder by P.J Palacio and what a wonder it truly is! Introducing August, a young boy with a facial difference who starts attending middle school. Weaving through the first year of fifth grade, August wants nothing more than to live a normal life and to be treated the same as everyone else. Our favourite quote from this book is said by August’s mum (…and yes, this had us all weeping, even on the commute home) “You don’t need your eyes to love, right? You just feel it inside you.” Wonder is one of those incredibly brave, beautifully uplifting, feel-good books that leaves you with a warm fuzzy heart feeling that makes you want to get up straight away and give your friends a good ol’ squeeze.
My Brilliant Friend – Elena Ferrante
If the Neapolitan Quartet isn’t on your TBR already, what are you waiting for? Starting with book 1, My Brilliant Friend, Ferrante writes openly and honestly about the highs and lows of female friendship. Often hailed as an incredibly true depiction of what life was like growing up in Naples post WWII, we follow the not always easy friendship of two lower-class girls, Lila and Elena. Whilst it may take a while to get on board with the different families and their various nicknames, My Brilliant Friend and the Neapolitan Quartet are honest, brilliant books about friendship, class and power that remind you sometimes it’s okay when things aren’t always roses.
Three Things About Elsie – Joana Cannon
Three Things About Elsie is a stunning story about the beauty of friendship, ageing and memory loss. The book starts with 84-year-old Florence, who has had a fall (we’re already crying) and whilst she’s waiting for the emergency services to arrive, she’s thinking about a secret from her past. After reluctantly being admitted into a care home where her friend Elsie is with her, Florence enlists the help of others to help her solve her life’s biggest mystery. Uncovering truths along the way, this sentimental and witty book will have you laughing and crying at the same time, and it had us totally hooked until the very last page.
…and for any battenburg lovers out there, the cover totally drew us in.
Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine – Gail Honeyman
Oh yes, reader, you guessed it! Maybe Eleanor Oliphant isn’t quite…completely fine? The main protagonist, Eleanor, is a quirky character who isn’t so aware of social cues and lives her fairly secluded life by a strict routine made up of the same meals and the same clothes. Admittedly lonely, Eleanor seems completely fine with the life she is currently leading. Then one afternoon, Eleanor and Raymond, the IT guy from her office, have a chance encounter that kick-starts their friendship and after a while Eleanor begins to like the feeling of belonging and companionship. A beautiful tale of kindness, heartache and friendship, this debut novel has been read and loved by millions, so make sure it’s high up on your list of brilliant books about friendship to add to your TBR list!
The Authenticity Project – Clare Pooley
Next up on our list of brilliant books about friendship is an uplifting story about stationery and friendship… it’s like it’s been written for us?! The Authenticity Project is about six characters who lives are intertwined by just one green notebook. Eccentric and lonely, Julian Jessop is fed-up of being dishonest and in his bid to change that, he writes the truth about his life so far in his green journal and leaves it atop a table in his local café, run by a lady called Monica. Monica finds said journal and adds her own entry too. Amidst other charming characters, The Authenticity Project is not only about finding oneself, but also finding friendships in unexpected places.
Everything I Know About Love – Dolly Alderton
Labelled as Sexy and the City for millennials, Everything I Know About Love is a painfully honest memoir about Dolly’s experience of growing up and navigating adulthood. From brilliant stories about her bestest friends to disastrous dates, this light and humorous read celebrates the importance of female friendships and how you can get over anything, with the right friends by your side! Do we need to say any more about why this should make it on your list of brilliant books about friendship?! #girlpower
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo – Taylor Jenkins Reid
One of the most brilliant books about friendship and one you have most likely seen do the rounds on your fave bookstagrammers’ feeds but this hype is to be believed! Evelyn Hugo, huge Hollywood superstar and icon, is finally ready to tell the exclusive story of her life to small-town journalist, Monique. As the book charges through her seven different husbands, it’s really the friendships throughout the decades of Evelyn’s life that shine through, as well those forming as she re-tells her story. Evelyn reveals the deepest secrets of her star-studded life, that things aren’t always as they seem, that people are more complex than we could ever imagine and how freeing forgiveness can truly be. Entirely enthralling and completely real, this book is one we wish we could read again for the first time.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower – Stephen Chbosky
If you’re after a coming-of-age novel to add to your list of brilliant books on friendship, look no further! Formed by a string of letters written by the sometimes too honest but innocent Charlie comes a story of friendship during those awkward and angsty teenage years. Whilst it reminds us just how terrifying growing up can be, it’s a pleasant reminder that even the newest of friendships can get us through the darkest of days. Filled with heartbreak and cringe-worthy moments we’re pleased to have passed, The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a throwback to our teenage years celebrating those unique moments that define who we are and the people who helped us realise it.
Queenie – Candice Carty-Williams
Queenie Jenkins is a 25-year-old journalist living in London who’s trying to navigate a messy break up come break, shifting cultures and toxic relationships. After not having a great year and Queenie being seriously unlucky in love, we can’t forget her trusty friends that are cutely named the Corgi’s… because she’s Queenie! There to help her through her mental health struggles which Queenie has to acknowledge, seeking help and battling through the stigma attached to it, this brutally honest book has us empathising more often than not and recalling times when our friends have been more than just a shoulder to cry on. This is one to add straight to your list of brilliant books about friendship if you haven’t yet!
The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett
First published in 1911, this classic children’s book follows the story of ‘contrary’ orphaned Mistress Mary Lennox who is sent to live with her uncle on the gloomy Yorkshire Moors. We have such vivid memories of reading this book when we were young and the magic moment where Mary finds the key and steps into the Secret Garden for the first time. But, reading it back as an adult does not disappoint. A truly charming transformative story of how friendship, hope and optimism can change people. Did we cry both when we were 10 and when we were 30-something reading this? Yes, absolutely! Don’t be put off by it being a children’s book, it’s truly a beautiful, moving and genuinely magical story that everyone should read at least once in their lives.
The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse – Charlie Macksey
This one couldn’t NOT make it on our list of brilliant books about friendship. One of our favourite books and sorry, not sorry, we’ll never stop recommending The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse! The type of book you buy a copy for everyone you know just so they too can feel that warm and fuzzy feeling. Filled with musings and beautiful illustrations it’s not only a work of art but an encouraging story, with thought provoking conversations offering comfort and strength for children and adults alike. The book follows the friendship between four unlikely friends, a curious boy, a greedy mole, a wary fox and a wise horse. Through the most complicated and darkest of times, this book tackles our everyday fears and vulnerabilities and as the story unfolds, we see these worries met with friendship, kindness and love. This is one of those books that you can pick up and turn the pages over and over again each time getting so much joy and a profound feeling of hope that actually no matter how bad things get, you’re never alone. A particularly favourite quote of ours is: “When things get difficult remember who you are.’ ‘Who am I?’ asked the boy. ’You are loved’ said the horse”.
Little Women – Louisa May Alcott
Little Women is a timeless book that follows the story of the four March sisters, Meg, the oldest, beautiful and sweet; Jo, the main character, a headstrong spirited tomboy, Beth, a quiet, gentle musician, and Amy the youngest, pampered and artistic. We think like everyone else who reads Little Women sees themselves in one of the four sisters and you can’t help but fall in love with each of them! Considering the book was written so many years ago, the turmoils of growing up, the heartache and the difficulty of other peoples expectations is still so relevant. We see the characters realise that sometimes in relationships forgiveness means more than pride and that just because their dreams differ from yours doesn’t mean they are any less important. Watching the four girls navigate the complexities of their sisterly dynamic is like reading a refreshing reminder that the bonds we share with those around us mean we can get through anything!
A Man Called Ove – Fredrick Backman
Last but not least on our list of brilliant books about friendship is A Man Called Ove. A tale about a grumpy 59-year-old Swedish man called Ove who finds himself all alone after his wife has died. However, things soon change when his new next-door neighbours run over his mailbox when they move in, and unlikely friendships ‘accidentally’ develop along the way. One of those books that manages to be both poignant, but also hilarious at the same time. You cannot help but fall in love with Ove who is complicated, cynical, cantankerous, and probably a little bit of all of us. A loveable story about overcoming grief that makes you appreciate life and friendship, and probably cry bucketloads at the end. You have been warned!
We hope you enjoy one, or more, of these brilliant books about friendship. Also suggested by you on Instagram that we hadn’t thought of were the following:
- Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah
- The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
- Miss Benson’s Beetle by Rachel Joyce
- Light a Penny Candle by Maeve Binchy
- The Harry Potter books! by JK Rowling
- Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
- Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
- Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
- The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares
We would love to know which you have read in the comments, and what your favourite books about friendship are that we have missed!
P.S. Want to jot down your own notes on each book? Check out our very own personalised novel-style notebook that’ll look at home on any bookshelf.