Whether it’s romance, friendships, or family ties, Valentine’s Day centers on relationships. In honor of the holiday, here are some of my favorite relationships in YA fiction.
- Natasha and Daniel (The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon) — I was swept away by these characters and their story. I rarely use the word swoon, but I have never shipped a couple as hard as I shipped these two, even though I knew going into it they were going to fall in love. But even if romance isn’t your thing (it’s not usually mine), I highly recommend this book. The omniscient viewpoint lets us see just how many ways people are connected to one another, and how our lives and our decisions affect each other. All of the characters in this book have complicated, well-developed relationships with their friends and family members, so you’re getting more than just a boy-meets-girl romance.
- Simon and Blue (Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli) — A sweet, hilarious online courtship. It was hard to choose just one relationship from this book to be my favorite, because I love them all. Simon’s parents and siblings are amazing. He has awesome friends in Nick, Leah, and Abby. If you want real, rich characters, read Becky Albertalli’s books.
- Tate, Webb, Narnie, Fitz, and Jude (On the Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta) — This group’s friendship is the kind everyone wants to have growing up. Their love for each other fills every page, even though much of the book is narrated by another character years after the group split up.
- Kaz Brekker’s gang (Six of Crows series by Leigh Bardugo) — I was going to pick one relationship from this series, but I could decide which was my favorite. Wylan and Jesper? Nina and Inej? Kaz and Inej? Nina and Matthias? The whole group has such a great dynamic, and I love them all.
- Mikey and Jared (The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness) — Two best friends who have each other’s backs. Even when weird things start happening with the indie kids (the town super heroes), immortal princes, and chosen ones around them.
- Lydia and her parents (The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner) — A lot of YA novels have either bad or absent parents. Lydia’s parents are awesome. They’re supportive and kind, and also willing to call her out when she’s being unfairly judgmental.
- Maura, Calla, and Persephone and Ronan, Gansey, Adam, Noah, and Blue (The Raven Cycle series by Maggie Stiefvater) — I’m cheating here, because I couldn’t decide which of these two friend groups I like better. They’re both amazing. These characters look out for each other, and are incredibly supportive while also standing up to each other and calling each other out when it’s warranted.
- June and Day (Legend series by Marie Lu) — These two complement each other so well. Their loyalty to friends and family and their conviction to do what they believe is right make their story even stronger — especially when their ideas of what’s right pit them against one another.
- Naomi, Beto, and Cari (Out of Darkness by Ashley Hope Pérez) — These siblings are there for each other through highs and lows, and their love for one another lends this dark book a glimmer of brightness.
- Kell and Rhy (Shades of Magic series by V.E. Schwab) — I know this series isn’t YA, but it has strong crossover appeal, and I couldn’t leave it out! This is another case where I had trouble choosing just one relationship to feature, because they’re all great. Kell and Rhy are brothers who care deeply for each other, even though they have little in common. Honorable mention relationships from this series are Kell and Lila, Alucard and Lila, and Alucard and Rhy.
What are your favorite relationships in YA fiction?