Monday, February 13, 2017

Top Nine Literary Male-Female Friendships

I'm linking up with The Broke and the Bookish for another Top Ten Tuesday.

It's a Valentine's Day theme this week, but I realized that I don't read a ton of books with romantic relationships that I'm super enthusiastic about. Last year I shared my favorite fictional couples, and I didn't want to cover the same ground. So I started thinking about non-romantic relationships between straight male and female characters, and how rare that is to find in books. I was only able to come up with nine. Here they are! Keep in mind that this list contains spoilers for some of the books pictured.

1. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr: Marie-Laure LeBlanc and Werner Pfennig
Most of the book goes back and forth between their separate stories, and I was sure they were going to end up in a clichéd romance. I was happy to see they just connected over shared interests instead. Unfortunately their friendship didn't last very long...

2. And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini: Markos and Thalia
Initially fascinated by Thalia's facial deformities, Markos quickly gets over himself and becomes lifelong friends with her. She is the reason he pursues a career in plastic surgery, but he accepts her decision not to get it done herself, even if he can't quite understand it.

3. The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith: Cormoran Strike and Robin Ellacott
Although there's an implication that these two could pursue a romantic relationship, the most recent book ended with Robin tying the knot with her terrible fiancé. I like the two of them being able to have a strong relationship without it having to be romantic.

4. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green: Hazel and Isaac
Before there was Augustus Waters, Hazel and Isaac were support-group friends, in the sense that they shared a disdain for their leader's corny remarks and bad grammar. And after Augustus, Hazel and Isaac still have each other to lean on.

5. A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry: Dina Dalal and Ishvar & Om Darji
Although Dina initially looks down on this uncle-nephew pair, they end up becoming great friends and even stay connected after tragedy (repeatedly) strikes the men.

6. The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling: Harry Potter and Hermione Granger
Despite what Rowling has said, I'm glad that Harry and Ginny ended up together, and that Harry and Hermione could just be friends.

7. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins: Katniss Everdeen and Gale Hawthorne
Obviously this pair wasn't always strictly platonic (as evidenced by Team Gale supporters), but I think Collins made the right call by not having them end up together. They supported each other well as friends, at least in the beginning.

8. A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving: John Wheelwright and Katherine Keeling
I mentioned this book last week as one lacking in quality female characters, with the Rev. Keeling being the exception. I like that it's not presented as a weird thing that John's best friend as an adult is a married woman.

9. When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead: Miranda and Sal
The arc of this book involves Miranda losing and then regaining Sal as her best friend, but it's never implied (that I can remember) that they are interested in each other romantically, even though other people her age end up romantically paired up.

Who are your favorite different-gender friends?

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