The best books about best friends

46 authors have picked their favorite books about best friends and why they recommend each book.

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Book cover of Felix Ever After

Felix Ever After

By Kacen Callender,

Why this book?

I love how real this book is. Felix makes big, messy mistakes—the kind most authors are reluctant to write for fear that readers will find their character unlikable. But the truism about how we learn the biggest lessons from the biggest screw-ups is brilliantly illustrated here. This is why we read books: They teach life lessons by example so we don’t have to learn them the hard way ourselves. The trans boy rep is spot-on, and I adored how Felix’s complicated relationship with multiple identities is presented with depth, sensitivity, grace, and good humor. A gorgeous, thought-provoking, and inspiring YA…

From the list:

The best YA and MG transgender books

Book cover of Life Is Strange Vol. 1: Dust

Life Is Strange Vol. 1: Dust

By Emma Vieceli, Claudia Leonardi (illustrator), Andrea Izzo (illustrator)

Why this book?

Fans of DONTNOD’s time-bending sci-fi video game will love this ongoing comic series, as will new readers. It’s like leaping straight back into the world of the game, following Max and Chloe’s relationship in the wake of the destruction of their hometown. The magic of the game is captured perfectly on the page. It’s a beautiful story, with equally beautiful art, that stays true to the lore of the source material.

From the list:

The best LGBTQ fantasy and science fiction

Book cover of Ida, Always

Ida, Always

By Caron Lewis, Charles Santoso (illustrator),

Why this book?

Based on a true story about two polar bears at the Central Park Zoo, this is a beautiful book about the death of a loved one. In a zoo, there may literally be only two-of-a-kind, so the loss of one is especially poignant. The realization that one of the pair would be “going away” at first seems almost unbearable. Their leave-taking (complete with days of denial and days of laying together comforting each other) really takes readers through the process and yet offers enough wisdom and hope to help them come out better on the other side.

From the list:

The best picture books for bringing on a tear

Book cover of Jerome by Heart

Jerome by Heart

By Thomas Scotto, Olivier Tallec (illustrator), Claudia Bedrick (translator)

Why this book?

The main character, a little boy named Raphael, loves his friend Jerome. And Raphael loves Jerome for good reasons – Jerome makes him feel protected, Jerome holds his hand, “Jerome always sees me, even when he’s with his friends.” Despite a little opposition from Raphael’s parents, this is the warmest of books about how sweet and life-affirming the love between two children can be.

From the list:

The best children’s picture books with LGBTQ+ characters

Book cover of I Like You

I Like You

By Sandol Stoddard Warburg, Jacqueline Chwast (illustrator),

Why this book?

I love this charming book about the kindness that comes with friendship. Pen drawings accompany the text, which is at certain times silly, other times fun, and at the best of times poignant. Point in case:

“And I like you because

When I am feeling sad you don’t always cheer me up right away

Sometimes it is better to be sad."

I’m not sure every child would understand the significance of that sentence. But the words at some point in their lives will come back around. The book lists reasons why we like our friends, namely because they offer us…

From the list:

The best books about teaching kids kindness

Book cover of When the Moon Was Ours

When the Moon Was Ours

By Anna-Marie McLemore,

Why this book?

Honestly, I could’ve picked any book by McLemore. They are all absolutely stunning. McLemore’s prose is lush and poetic, rich in metaphor and nuance. Their stories have a timeless quality about them at once grounding them in reality and yet offering glimpses of the surreal and ephemeral. When the Moon Was Ours is an incredibly poignant love story between Sam, a Pakistani trans boy, and Latinx Miel who has literal roses growing out of her wrists. This story provided insight into both Pakistani and Latinx culture while weaving a breath-taking tale of love and identity.

From the list:

The best fiction books by trans/non-binary authors with trans/non-binary characters

Book cover of To Break a Covenant

To Break a Covenant

By Alison Ames,

Why this book?

A recent addition to the horror genre, this excellent debut novel excels in creating a surreal narrative drenched in dark atmosphere. To Break a Covenant centers around a terrifying, fractured faux-documentary about a town under control of a sinister presence. I dare you to read creepy descriptions of ‘found’ footage and not feel a chill as this mystery unfolds. 

From the list:

The best horror books with mixed media format

Book cover of Dead Girls

Dead Girls

By Abigail Tarttelin,

Why this book?

This book is difficult to describe. One part crime, the other part literary fiction and narrated by a child, Dead Girls is unlike any other thriller I’ve read. I couldn’t put it down. When Thera’s best friend goes missing, despite being eleven years old, she decides the grown-ups are doing a bad job at finding Billie and begins investigating on her own. This is a super dark tearjerker about violence towards girls and women. But do check trigger warnings because this one is disturbing.

From the list:

The best books for fans of Gone Girl

Book cover of The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls

The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls

By Claire Legrand, Sarah Watts (illustrator),

Why this book?

When I read this book, I was thrown sideways and bowled over. It is just so unique! The creep factor is ridiculously high, and it goes places that are totally unexpected and unheard of in a middle-grade novel. This is not your standard spooky tale, but rather one that will eat into your soul and give you series willies.

From the list:

The best spooky middle grade books

Book cover of Gaspard and Lisa Friends Forever (Misadventures of Gaspard and Lisa)

Gaspard and Lisa Friends Forever (Misadventures of Gaspard and Lisa)

By Anne Gutman, Georg Hallensleben (illustrator),

Why this book?

When a new student, Lisa, comes to Gaspard’s class, he thinks she looks weird. Other than her color, she looks identical to Gaspard and they are both the only dogs in a classroom of humans, but Gaspard does not want anything to do with Lisa. After he learns she is a fast runner who helps his team win a race, he changes his mind and they become friends forever. The loose, bright paintings accentuate their childlike personalities. All their naughty “misadventures” make us laugh out loud every time we read them, which is a lot! 

From the list:

The best picture books about unlikely friendships

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