15 Unforgettable Female Friendships in Literature
For International Friendship Day, dive into the cherished novels that celebrate extraordinary and iconic friendships between women.
There’s nothing like the bonds between sisters. Jo is the bold and passionate writer. Meg offers sensible advice and grace. Beth is shy, gentle, and sensitive. And Amy is lovable, but annoying—like every little sister in the world. Louisa May Alcott’s beloved novel takes you into the world of the March sisters to show the unbreakable bonds between sisters who are also the best of friends. Here are some more books by female authors every woman should read.
The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants
Start with the first novel and continue with the whole series about four friends, the powerful bond between them, and their adventures in love and life. Lena, Tibby, Bridget, and Carmen find a pair of jeans that fits each of them perfectly, despite their different body shapes. The girls form a pact and decide to share the jeans. They’ll each take them for a stint as they embark on separate journeys for the summer.
The Color Purple
Alice Walker’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel features strong doses of #BlackGirlMagic. Follow Celie and her relationships with Shug and Nettie as they navigate love and life in the harsh oppression of rural Georgia in the early 1900s. Through it all, their extraordinary bonds pull them through.
Sense and Sensibility
Marianne is all flounce, poetry, and heart-soaring romance. So her big sister Elinor needs to keep things practical, which is hard when you have to conceal love! In Georgian England, the sisters cope with romance, heartbreak, and scandal amid losing their wealth to an older half-brother. Jane Austen’s novel depicts the rich and fierce friendships between women in a time when they lived without so many rights. These are the best movies about sisters to binge-watch.
Waiting to Exhale
Best-selling author Terry McMillan’s popular novel follows a group of besties dealing with careers, motherhood, and love (and its loss) in this powerful portrait of contemporary black womanhood. Get ready for the relatable Gloria, Robin, Savannah, and Bernadine and their struggles and wins. It’s all about the connections between women and the strength they find there. Don’t miss the all-time best movies to watch with your best friend.
Snow Flower and the Secret Fan
Set in 19th century China, this lyrical and emotional novel explores the friendship of Lily and Snow Flower. Starting when they’re girls and continuing through adulthood, the novel shows the girls endure the trials of footbinding and arranged marriages in a society that encases and silences women. The two communicate through a secret language written on fans and hidden from men and others who would oppress them. Their strong bond provides a solace that allows them each to survive.
Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe
This beloved novel focuses on two parallel tales of extraordinary female friendship. Evelyn is caught in a mid-life slump when Mrs. Threadgoode tells her the enthralling story of Idgie and Ruth, who are eking it out in 1930s Alabama. Fannie Flagg’s acclaimed novel is a story of survival, friendship, and the power of connections between women. Here are some of our favorite quotes from the books every woman should read at least once.
Rainbow Rowell’s novel follows a hapless nerd whose job it is to surveil a company’s internal emails back in the late 1990s. You’ll be just as enamored as he is with the incredible friendship between Beth and Jennifer. It’s all captured in their work emails—support, jokes, real talk, and everything that comes with having a great friend. Read it and ponder what an outsider would see if they followed the chat or text stream you have with your bestie.
When young Jane is banished to the oppressive and horrible Lowood School, the only thing that makes it bearable is her friendship with gentle and compassionate Helen Burns. Both girls are ruthlessly punished, but Helen’s kindness offers Jane the light she needs to survive. The incredible childhood bond between the girls bolsters Jane throughout the novel as the tests and trials keep coming.
Code Name Verity
This page-turner gives a harrowing account of a young woman who is captured by Nazis during World War II and forced to reveal secrets or face execution. Her story uncovers the friendship she had with Maddie, the pilot she was flying with when their plane crashed in Nazi-occupied France. Don’t miss these ten awesome books with fierce female characters.