Your Favourite Girlfriends in YAFebruary 25, 2016

Children's literature feature characters who end up being friendly with each other. It would be anything but forgettable. (Ask Alice.) It's hard to visualise a child living in solitude unless it's a ghost story. A Young-adult (YA) book will present a different picture. Friendship will take a backseat.

Love is the main reason. It's a wonderful feeling, with best mate taking the emergency exit. Teenage readers don't know teenage characters, female friendship in particular. Anna Karenina might not end up in a desperate position if she have girlfriends. Lizzie Bennet might raise an eyebrow.

Becky Sharp and Amelia Sedley were the heroines of "Vanity Fair", where William Makepeace Thackeray chronicled their lives. Miss Sedley won't have an easy life, as her naïveté let her down on many occasions. But her virtue would reward her. (Let's not forget a young man who didn't give up on her.) Becky Sharp, on the other hand, was a classic case of Victorian society's double standard. Some would suggest karma, but a man might have get away with it. There was no doubt about the bond between them. How remarkable that opposites attract.

How about female friendship on YA? You won't find one in the Twilight tetralogy. (Bella Swan turned out to be an unusual girl. Otherwise, Edward Cullen won't notice her.) Let's have a look at teenage girls who would be besties in the end. In random order:

Maddie and Queenie (Code Name Verity). Elizabeth Wein's book was about the friendship between an aristocratic spy and a pilot during the Second World War. Readers who are familiar with British history would sense class difference, but the war was an excuse to ignore it. And you must admire Maddie and Queenie for being there for each other.

Elizabeth and Christina (Feeling Sorry for Celia). It started with a pen pal scheme suggested by their English teacher. And it turned out to be a heartwarming experience for Elizabeth and Christina. You must have pen pals from faraway lands to understand their sentiment. It's nice when someone you haven't met thinks of you. It makes the world a better place.

Halley and Scarlett (Someone Like You). True friendship must go through a test. In the case of two teenage girls, it can put a strain on them. Scarlett must deal with teenage pregnancy after the unexpected death of the father (of her unborn child). Some readers will think it's too much, but worse things happen in real life.

Saffy and Sarah (Saffy's Angel). Who said that friendship must be sweet as sugar? This one is a thorny relationship between Saffy and Sarah. One feels like an outsider while the other uses a wheelchair. And then the twist.

Vivian and Harp (Vivian Versus the Apocalypse). It's not easy for a young girl to navigate the apocalypse without her loved ones. But a friend will do. It's not hard for readers to figure out the rest of the story.

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